she’ll hook you up

Posted on Posted in book reviews/events

since i’m rather busy every day this weekend, i thought it would be a good time to do another book review, and since i’m in austin, i thought it would be appropriate to do one that’s really different—a little crochet anyone??

you might think that crochet isn’t for you, but have you actually tried it??
it’s crazy fun, really, it is.

i have to be honest that knitting has solidly outrun it as my craft of choice, but there was a time in my 20s, yessirree, that i was very deep into crochetvery deep indeed. and i think of that time fondly.

problem was, that i hit a wall with it—at the time, there was very little innovation in the craft and very few modern designers doing anything creative or cutting edge with it. the crochet revolution of the 70s had passed (and believe me, it was fab in its own right), and if one wanted to explore the deeper depths of this fine needle art, one was pretty much limited to complex lace items for the home. which were interesting enough to execute, but mostly lacking in purpose for my everyday life. that being the case, i eventually abandoned the hook in favor of spending more time with the needle.

while i have been aware that much has changed to revolutionize crochet along with knitting, i’ve been lazy about reopening my exploration of the hooker’s art. why, i don’t know—maybe lack of time or the need to limit my horizons for a while.

then this beautiful book, crochet inspiration by sasha kagan landed on my doorstep from sixth&spring books and i had to say—WOW.

now available in paperback, this award-winning book is exactly as it claims in its title—inspirational. if you haven’t thought about picking up a crochet hook lately (or ever), now might be a good time to give it a go.

before opening the book, i thought i’d find what you find in most crochet manuals—lots of this

and it’s true that ms. kagan starts off with the basics. but only has a prelude to showing us what you can do, once you have those down. for instance, single crochet can, indeed, be lines across the fabric, but it can also be fun circles of all types

which morph into slightly more complex arrangements

and wait—what’s that, a flower? let’s explore that a little further in some filet crochet

or maybe free it up completely from the constraints of a linear background

or, while we’re at it, let’s just go whole hog and ditch that background completely

not exactly what you fancy? how about flowers another way?

or maybe you don’t like flowers . . . let’s take single crochet and really put it through it’s paces

i just love that maple leaf piece; i may have to make a set of coasters form that pattern. even if those are the only items i ever construct with crochet for the rest of my life, i’ll be happy; they will see a lot more airtime around my house than my old doilies ever have (they’re just too nice; i can’t part with them and i can’t use them either!).

the book features much, much more than single crochet technique—too many ways to do crochet than i have room to talk about here, but trust me—this would be a nice addition to any knitter’s library because of its depth and breadth.

as is so often the case, sixth&spring has generously offered to send one lucky reader of today’s review a gift copy of crochet inspiration. if you would like to be in the running to win it, please leave a comment at the end of this post by 9pm EST on tuesday, april 19th. we will announce the winner on wednesday, when we’re back in our home office.

i have one more teaching day here in austin and a travel day on monday. i’m hoping to write a post before i leave, to wrap up my wonderful tour of texas, because if not, i won’t be able to get back to you til after tuesday. if it doesn’t happen though (you know stuff happens, right??), be assured that i will be back in a few days . . . see you then!

250 thoughts on “she’ll hook you up

  1. This looks interesting. I started out with crochet, but changed to kntting. This looks like it might renew my interest in crocheting.

  2. Haven’t crocheted in years but this book would definitely tempt me to unearth my crochet hooks :>) Safe travels.

  3. Anne–I remember my crocheted string bikini days too! sigh…
    now only my 3 year old granddaughter could wear one, but i do love the multicolored shawl in the first photo above, and it would look lovely with my black miraclesuit! thanks for the offer and i love your blog.
    evelyn

  4. I learned to crochet in the 70’s when my babysitter crocheted me a purple poncho with fringe! I tried again in the 90’s, but like you couldn’t find a lot of uses for my doilies, and picked up knitting instead. I’m glad to see some fresh ideas for crochet that don’t involve acrylic!

  5. Like you, I loved to crochet years ago until I found knitting. I did some unique things back then and this book looks very inspiring.
    My grandmother crocheted some lace with the background and I still have some of those pieces.

  6. Looks like a great book! I, too, started out as a crocheter (granny squares in the 70s) but switched to knitting in the 80s and have pretty much been a knitter ever since!

  7. I learned to crochet during a year in Italy (1966), and never really followed up by learning to read patterns in English. This book gives me a reason! Those coasters…wow.

  8. I am a new crocheter (just finished a beginning class) and am totally taken by this book. Would love to have it.

  9. I crocheted first before knitting. I, too, got to too many doileys adn no place to show them before turing to knitting. This books looks like a great addition to my bookshelf!

  10. I too started crocheting first before learning to knit, then once I found knitting I never looked back. I’d love the book though; like you all that was available when I started was ripple afghans. Seems like there’s a lot of “new” in the crocheting world to get back into.

  11. Very nice book review! Knitting is my first love, but I do like crochet and every now and then find a pattern that begs to be made up.

  12. It’s been a long time since I had a hook in my hand for anything other than fixing a way-ward knit stitch. 🙂 Looks like I might need to try again.

  13. I want to win this for my daughter, who loves crochet. She and this book might just encourage me to take up crochet!

  14. I always poo pooed my sister’s crochet, but that book is giving me second thoughts. Gorgeous!

  15. Sounds like a must have book. Like you, I used to crochet, but only things like doileys for the house, and after a while, there are only so many pineapples you want in the house! I’ll admit, my doileys were beautiful, but too beautiful to use everyday. This book may be just the inspiration to get back into crochet, although knitting will come first.

  16. Like you I had a spell of crochet in my twenties, but haven’t done much since.

    This book has some very interesting ideas, might be worth taking it up again. The coloured yarns she uses modernizes some of the work for me.

  17. I have also been known to dabble in crochet in the past. That book might tempt me to try picking up a hook again!

  18. Looks like a book worth checking out! I’ve crocheted for almost as long as I’ve knitted; while knitting’s my primary craft, I like to switch between techniques and keep different hand muscles active.

  19. One of the lovliest crochet books I’ve seen in a long time…might just have to buy this one. mary in Cincinnati

  20. This is definitely not ’70s crochet. Wonderful pictures. I would love to try some of these patterns.

  21. Wow! That is some beautiful crochet! I actually started knitting before crocheting, ditched the knitting when I could never get gauge on anything…and only crocheted for a long time. But…went back to knitting and haven’t crocheted much at all lately! Confusing? Anyhow…I love them both! Would love an opportunity to own this book.

  22. One photo of your review really got my creative energy going….this book sounds fabulous. I would love to make the flowers and the leaves…all of them.

  23. This book looks so fabulous! I don’t know too much about crochet–but this looks inspiring! I’d love to check it out!

    P.S. I’ve been enjoying reading about your Texas tour! I’m a UT Arlington graduate and currently live in Houston (with many, many visits to Austin). 🙂 I don’t comment very often, but have been reading for years and appreciate your posts a lot.

  24. Oh man, exactly what I don’t need, another hobby to spend my oodles of free time on. What a fun burden this book what be to bear.

  25. What a fabulous looking book! My mom taught me to crochet when I was 7, & it is still my “go to” skill when I need something quick. This would be a great addition to the library. I may just have to pick one up. Thanks for the great review Anne

  26. I’ve been wanting to learn how to crochet. Maybe this book will give me a little push.

  27. I’ve always wished I knew crochet as well as I do knitting — I’ve managed a few projects over the years (instead of doilies, I went through a crocheted “trim” phase while living in Scotland – things I never did get around to sewing on my towels), but now feel like I have to re-learn crochet when I need to do anything as simple as a crochet edging on a sweater. This book looks luscious and inspiring!!

  28. Most of my crochet these days is limited to edgings on knitted items, but I do occasionally crochet a baby blanket. I remember back in the 70’s when I learned to crochet in jr. high, I got a kit to make a granny square blanket-classic 70’s colors of yellows, oranges and brown (I had a yellow bedroom). I never did finish it. I still love the look of granny squares. 🙂 My clever daugther often freeform crochets adorable flowers for her knitted baby hats. I’ll bet between the two of us, this book would be much enjoyed.

    Thanks and safe travels Anne!

  29. My big crochet period was in the 70’s, self-taught, loved it then, still think it is beautiful for some items. Love that maple leaf!

  30. Wow! That book is amazing. Very inspirational, maybe enough to shift back from knitting to crochet. I never did much with crochet beyond afghans and granny squares. I did not like the look for garments like sweaters, but maybe I just never found the right book.

  31. I think you really nailed it with your comment on crochet items often tending towards the impractical. I started with crochet (that was what my grandmothers did) but once I learned to knit, I sort of put all my fiber eggs in that basket. But maybe I should reconsider, especially with lovely stuff like this out there!

  32. I confess that I haven’t picked up a crochet hook since the 70’s, precisely because of the ‘granny square’ thought……but this is inspirational and I can’t wait to begin again. wonderful pics, patterns and presentation!

  33. I so want to see this book but the first person I thought of was my friend I grew up with. Her mum taught us to crochet when we were children and my friend has stuck with it, all these years later!
    She would love it.

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