Monday, 4 April 2011

Book Review: Essential Crochet and Linky Party Idea....

Welcome back to Book Day Monday.
Yes, for the time being, until some other whim takes my flighty fancy, Mondays will be set aside to show you my
favourites from my worryingly enormous craft and interior book stash.

Today's pick is by Erika Knight.
Essential Crochet: 30 Irresistable Projects For You And Your Home
and, oh, it's got some loverrrrly ideas.

If you haven't tried crochet before then, honestly, it's easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. Really it is. It's so quick, and there's only ever one stitch to drop, meaning that if you do drop that one stitich, it's just a matter of slipping it back onto your hook.

The trickiest bit, when you're learning to crochet, is at the beginning, when you crochet the first real line into the chain-stictch row. But, pleeeeeeeeease don't let this put you off.

My tip is to just persevere through the first three or four rows, even if they turn out a bit wonky and wayward, and then you can decide, once you get onto the fifth or sixth row, when things will have have settled down, if this is going to be a craft that calls to you.

Some crafts do call to me and some crafts don't. Knitting - bleurgh - leaves me cold, even though I know plenty of my friends love it. But crochet, on the other hand, I luRRRRRRve.

Now, I don't know about you but I've found it hard to track down crochet patterns that aren't a bit...well, dated. Either dated or fifties-retro vintage, neither of which are really me, though they do look very lovely in other people's homes. I know there are a lot of great sites out there that cover the vintage-crochet thing brilliantly, but it's just not my cup of tea.

What I wanted was a modern take on this rural craft.
I'm after some Modern Country Crochet.

So I've taken it upon myself to source the very best crochet books and patterns that I can find....and then to share them with YOU.  

This book was one of the first I found that has patterns for crocheting items that I'd be lusting after if my eagle shopping-eye spotted them on a visit to a little Oxford boutique.

I've done an honest scour of the book, picking out only the projects that I've made or would like to make, and skipping those that just don't do it for me, and the grand total is
eleven out of thirty.

Here's an exaple of a project that I *won't* be making.

At first sight it looks gorgeous, doesn't it? But the big trick with craft books is to look beyooooond the styling....which I find nigh on imPOSSible.
I'm a total sucker for well-styled craftiness.

It turns out that this is a filet lace cushion.

Much, much, muuuuuuch too granny-ish for me.

But, overall, this book is great. It's THE ONE that hooked me back into crocheting after a long break.
It's proof that there *are* good patterns out there,
it's just a matter of hunting them down.

As always, if you fancy buying this book, I've popped it on my Amazon widget in my sidebar to your right. Just click on the book you love, and you'll be whisked away to the land of book-buying wizardry.....


I think it's about time to do another linky party, don't you?
I had an idea that I just lovelovelovelovelovelove to bits.
I was thinking to myself, wouldn't it be great to do a post that really defined what I see as the heart of this blog: what Modern Country Style is all about.

And then I thought, I bet I'm not alone in thinking that would be excellent fun to put together.....

.......and then, lightbulb moment, I thought LINK PARTY!!
I LOVE doing link parties, but only if I have a lightbulb moment that gives me a real buzz of passion.
And this is such a moment.
{Stand and behold the beauty of the moment, if you please.}

I'm going to call the party 
Define Your Blog.

I thought it would be so cool to read through a post that really defines what your blog is about. It could be a post that you're extra-specially proud of, or it could be a whole post that sets out what your blog is about.

I'm excited already to read yours.

Now, I'm off to make a party button....

Photos: Modern Country Style

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Life love, clutter and other beautiful things. said...

Wow! I am going to love this series of your and find me a good book and learn to crochet!

P.S little confession I love those cushions lol xox

Gwen @ Gwenny Penny said...

I have never tried crochet, but I'd really like to. I tried knitting, and it didn't do anything for me, either. I'm going to have a look at this book. Thanks, Sarah!

Brandi said...

I would love to learn to crochet! My daughter recently learned to finger knit! Great idea for a link party!

Susan T said...

I have never ever tried crochet, but those textured throws look so divine I MUST give it a go. I MAY actually be able to do it. I can't knit for toffee. I can sew though, need to get back to that too. Doesn't hurt to read pretty books about it though HA!

Luciane at said...

Hello pretty lady! :-)

How are you doing? I missed your blog. I've been so busy lately.

I have NO idea how to do knit.. nothing, nada, niente! My grandma is a master, but I never really wanted to learn. Maybe one day... it's so beautiful and I admire it so much.

I hope you have an amazing week! :-)


Luciane at

Holly said...

I used to know how to crochet (the only thing I ever made was a scarf). I also tried knitting and couldn't ever figure out the increase or decrease.
But, maybe one day I'll pick up a crochet hook again. That looks like a good book for inspiration!

chris said...

I picked up crochet this winter and made some snowflakes...I think I'd like to learn more.

Deborah said...

Learning to crochet is on my list of things to do and I think I might pester mum in law to teach me after this post!

Bee happy x
Have a delicious day!

♥ Mary Janes TEAROOM said...

I am a knitting addict Sarah but have promised myself some time to crochet after seeing so many beautiful blogs...I'm inspired!
Susan x

Unknown said...

You have inspired me to learn how to crochet, right after I have finished my latest knitting project, I will let you know how I get on! x

michele said...

beautiful post AGAIN, Sarah!

the party idea is awesome and will help people who perhaps haven't given this a thought. we all begin blogging for different reasons, and some of us *ahem* just dive in without really defining.

i'm totally in.


Teacup Moments said...

sarah, thank you for this beautiful post. i taught myself to crochet decades ago. now i think i want to do it again thanks to you!

Cindy said...

Hi Sarah,
I haven't been around much, but I'm still kicking!
I love this idea of yours, it sounds like a lot of fun and I think it's important for us to know what our blog is about, kind of a mission statement, you know.
So I will do my best to join you.
Hugs, Cindy

Anonymous said...

Well thanks for the encouragement to give crocheting a go. I always put it in the too hard basket section of my brain. I find it incredibly difficult to look beyond the styling in fabulous photography. More than once, I've bought or borrowed a book because of that, but my score is usually much lower than 11/30. So you've done well, and anyway, who doesn't need another coffee table book. Define your blog style? Interesting since I've just completely overhauled mine in an effort to bring it more into line with what I love. No mean feat, still trying to narrow it down.


Loo xx from Jumbles and Pompoms said...

Hi Sarah, yes crochet. I need to find me some inspiration as I've crocheted one too many granny square crocheted cushions for even my liking! Enough already!

Did you manage to find the other bootee/slipper you lost?

Becca Bertotti said...

How I wish I could crochet! Alas, not talented in that department ... so, I'll just have to be extremely impressed with the fabulous creations you come up with! And, your linky party idea sounds wonderful! I look forward to partying with you!(And, thanks again for your sweet comment about my breakfast area)! Have a great day, Becca

Ispirato Design said...

I'm almost inspired to crochet. I've always wanted to but just couldn't get there. This post is yet another nudge in that direction. I really do love the end result! Great idea for a party

Erin said...

First, I'd like to crochet, but then that would give me and MIL something to talk about, so that kind of shoots that in the foot...maybe I'll do it secretly?? Anyhoo, I love the idea of your linky party, sounds like fun to me pants!!! Just keepin' you on your toes!

Meera @ firstsense said...

Ooh you sure know how to get us excited! Lovely book review again and superb idea for the linky party, I'm in!

Meera xx

Unknown said...

I can barely get to grips with sewing and I think crochet has always turned me off for the exact reasons you said - it always seemed either too 'grandma-y' or too 'kitch' or 'retro' - perhaps there is something out there for me as well then?

In terms of your linky party, I think it's a great idea! And it's given me food for thought because I sort of just dived into blogging with no real thought of WHAT I AM TRYING TO SAY. So yeah, it's all good baby.


Courtenay@Signal Hill Interiors said...

Love it! Such a great relevant topic. I've been thinking about what my blog is about for awhile now. Sometimes I think I have it figured out. That is when I even have time to think about my blog lately. :( I think my blog's real style is neglected lately, so I'm going to make it my goal to be at this party for sure!

Magali @ The Little White House said...

This idea is so much more fun than the "do the perfect blog" posts I keep reading on the Internet. Sharing about our ideas about blogging, because I don't like perfect blogs, I love blogs that have a soul... So, it's a date (except, you didn't give a date, did you?)
Now, you might be responsible for a few sleepless nights at the little White House, because, I've never really thought of the "essence" of my blog...

Joyti said...

I've never crocheted, actually. It seems lovely and peaceful...
Re your comment about cookies - I think it depends on the cookie - i.e. a crisp cookie has to be eaten on the first day, a shortbread within a few days, but a thick big cookie turns gooey and rich...

Travel With Lulu said...

That last image - crocheted? I knit but always more drawn to the overall look of crochet more - I really should learn :)

Interesting party idea - your parties are always such fun! Have a great week :)

bikim said...

so many pretty things and inspiring ideas!
take care,

On Crooked Creek said...

Lovely, indeed. I don't crochet...I do cross~stitch, though! And. . .a few other things! I'll be watching your linky on Mondays in the very near future!

Tricia said...

Hello lovely Sarah!

Love your book reviews. I love crafty books too. Well anyway, I've tried knitting and really that was so horrible, it just about made me want to poke my eye out. So in my mind crocheting seems about the same. Why don't you crochet something up and tell us how it went for you.

Good luck with your linky button, I'm glad mine's done :)


At The Picket Fence said...

That is definitely a fabulous lightbulb moment you had for the linky party! My light bulb seems to be functioning at a very low wattage lately so I will just live vicariously through you! :-)

designchic said...

Love the look of crochet, but I have no idea how to do it...wonderful images and such a fun idea for a Monday post. May just have to learn...

Shirley said...

Well, you'd think at my age I would know all about crocheting but I only tried about a year ago. I've known how to knit since I was young but it's a little boring. I saw this really cute jelly jar cover and a tea cozy that I wanted to make so I got a "How To Crochet" book and practiced making wash cloths like I guess everyone learns and to this date, that's all I have; 3 wash cloths!!! Maybe this will spur me on now!

Jadyn said...

The book looks great and I love the idea for the linky party - would be so interesting to see what others write about (and also to write my own post on it!).

Have a great week Sarah!

Rachel Rose Mercantile said...

Ok I am have me hooked :)

alison said...

Hello there you clever cookie you! I've just spent some time catching up on a few posts I've missed. I'm so glad you've done this post on crocheting - it's something I've had on the back burner for a few weeks now...I've bought all my essential items but haven't made the time to sit down and get stuck into it. It's been a long time between stitches for me...I'm a bit nervous, so i've been psyching myself into it!! hehehe!! So now, you've spurred me on and I'm off to get started...well, I think I'll start by heading off for a closer look at your book review.
Alison xx
ps. loving your book reviews... I've bought Home Design Ideas - love it!!

Doda said...

That looks like another fab book I would enjoy- I'm with you on the knitting-no thanks! but I too love crochet. I even like that granny filet lace cover! Sorry ;-)

WobiSobi said...

I can knit a little but I have never tried to crochet. I need to check this out. Link Party did someone say Link Party..

Daydream Living said...

Hi Miss S!
Well you know how to make a girl feel good with your sweet comment (I haven't seen my name so much but thanks for making me smile yesterday).
I know how to crochet and knit, (the basics mind you) and I started guerrilla knitting (see my post) yesterday, nothing fancy involved, so perfect for me and the little rebel inside me!
Love your book Monday's, great inspiration, and that's why I love to blog! Thanks babe!
Maureen x

abby jenkins said...

I recently found an incredible vintage cotton aran style crocheted blanket, almost completed, at the thrift is the most beautiful pattern, I have been wondering what to do with it after I use it as a table topper for a cookbook I'm working on (thought it would be great for an irish or scottish dish..) .... maybe I should try my hand at crochet and finish that last 12" square with my own design, then I could use it as a throw on our sailboat. Thanks for the great resources, and the inspiration!

Kitty Deschanel said...

I don't crochet (tried it years ago in Girl Scouts - no thank you!) but I loved browsing through these photos :)

dressingup-everyday said...

Crochet look so cute at home: beds, sofa, chairs...I love it.
pretty blog

Privet and Holly said...

Another reason
we are so simpatico ~
I also fall on the
crochet side of the
woolen fence ~ I bought
a crochet for kid's book
last summer in the
hopes of climbing on
board the Creative
Express!!! Still
determined to learn.
Thanks for the kick
in the pants to get
me started : )
xx Suzanne
PS: Define my blog?
Hmmm....That will be
a fun one!

American in Bath said...

After years of trying, I finally sussed crochet. It put me right off my knitting. And now there is a brand new wool shop in Bath.


Sarah, I so enjoy your love of life, blogging and creativity. This is a great link idea.


ps. My adorable mom, Hallie, who is in heaven now, was a crochet fanatic. I, myself, crochetted a baby blanket - once.

Terri said...

Brings back memories of Mom crocheting and trying to teach me to crochet a chain. She left some beautiful heiloom pieces for me.

Erin said...

I feel like I'm having a bit of ESP with you, Sarah! Crocheting has been on my mind for weeks and weeks now. Even though I have a fairly full plate at the moment, I can't stop thinking about it and wanting to learn it! And here you go writing about it. Must be a sign to indulge my inner Granny and finally give crocheting a try. :)

Take care,

(As you can tell, I'm hideously behind in my blog reading since I'm only now commenting on a post from 10 days ago. I would have loved to have participated in your latest link party but will be checking out the entries all the same. How do you think of these clever ideas for parties? They're such a treat!

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