Guest Author - Kate Pullen
Crochet is an old, traditional craft and although fashions come and go, the techniques remain the same. As such, many vintage and antique books - and of course those not so old, present interesting and inspiring reading for the crocheter today looking to make something a little different. These books are often available at a low cost from second hand book stores and online auctions such as ebay.com.
One of the exciting things about looking at old crochet books is imagining how a technique or pattern may look when worked with modern yarns and fibers. Designs can also be adapted to create exciting one off garments, for instance a Victorian pattern for a camisole top that would originally have been designed for wear as an undergarment would adapt brilliantly to a light weight summer vest or top. Many patterns for bed jackets and dressing tops have often provided the inspiration for many of the modern shrugs and shawls which we see today.
More modern patterns and books can provide different inspiration. Patterns and designs from the 70's and 80's are great for 'retro chic'. Granny Squares are so adaptable and featured heavily in the designs of this era. Granny Squares lend themselves to items such as bags and afghans, but also work well as tops and other items of clothing. 1980's crochet is more geometrical, often with blocks of color and square shaping, however these designs often use different stitches and yarns to create textured fabrics and feature clever use of color. The 80�s also saw the start of true crochet designers who explored and developed the craft and started to push back the boundaries of design.
One inspiring and leading designer whose work started to feature heavily in the crochet world from the 80's was Sylvia Cosh, and her books are very much worth buying should you be lucky enough to find them for sale in second hand books stores or auction websites. The Crochet Sweater Book by Sylvia Cosh which was published in 1987 is a great crochet book, providing both inspiration and instruction. The book contains descriptions of stitches and technique, however also explains use of color and texture. This book is particularly worth seeking out as it contains the pattern and instruction for Sylvia Cosh's Moth Cape and Butterfly Cape. These are two clever designs which combine different stitches and techniques to create wonderful crocheted capes. The patterns in the book explain the technique and give the pattern, and this can easily be adapted to modern yarns and works particularly well in freeform crochet.
There are many other classic crochet books which are worth looking out for. If you have any recommendations or would like to share your favorite crochet book with us, why not drop me a line with the details.