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Book Review: Crochet One-Skein Wonders

Rating: **** (4 out of 5 stars)
Title: Crochet One-Skein Wonders
Editor: Judith Durant and Edie Eckman
Pages: 285
Projects: 101

Description from Amazon.com: Finally, a One-Skein Wonders book just for crocheters! Edie Eckman and Judith Durant offer 101 great crochet projects — from jewelry and scarves to bags, hats, dresses, and home dec items — that each use just one skein of yarn. Whatever your experience level, you’ll find something here to delight you!

Disclosure: (Disclosure written after Oooo-ing and ahh-ing the very professional looking book that one of my patterns was published in. The first thing I did was admire the cover, then I found my pattern, then I put the book down and looked no further.) I have a pattern published in this book. Yes, I think it’s great that I’ve been published in a real, full color, easily attainable book published by a large company. I don’t plan on letting that get in my way of the book review and also, I am only 1 out of 101 crochet projects offered in the book. I haven’t yet flipped through all the pages or admired anything other than the front and back cover and my own design. Now that I’ve gotten this disclosure out of the way I’m off to see what else this book has to offer.

[Several Days Later]

My Thoughts Going In: The idea of the one-skein pattern books is great. We all have single skeins of yarn in our stash. A special skein bought simply because it was pretty or on sale, one-of-a-kind hand dyed skeins, or maybe a leftover ball from a project. Because of this I was very interested to flip through the book. The idea of a book of one-skein crochet projects appealed to me because, although I can crochet, I consider myself a knitter and my attention span for crocheted projects very rarely lasts past one skein.
Chapters and Organization: I like how the book is divided up by yarn weight. This makes it easy to find a skein of yarn in your stash that you want to use, turn to the appropriate chapter, and match up a pattern. The chapters are: Thread, Lace Weight, Super-Fine (sock) Weight, Fine (sport) Weight, Light (DK) Weight, Medium (worsted) Weight, and Bulky Weight.
The Designs: There’s 101 of them! There are a couple (I think 2 or 3) toddler dresses and some doll clothes, but other than that everything is accessories (to wear and for the home). A few stuffed toys are thrown into the mix as well. (I particularly like the Sweet Kitty pattern.) I looked through all the patterns once and nothing really jumped out at me as “Make Me NOW!” The thing with one-skein collections is they’re very jumbled with a little bit of everything (except garments or blankets). This could be good in that there should be something that appeals to everyone, or it can be bad because it gets confusing and lacks continuity. I find myself falling into the second category of thought.

Maybe it’s because I prefer knitting over crochet, but I feel like a lot of these one-skein crochet projects look boring and amateur. Now don’t take that the wrong way. Not everything makes me feel like that. There are some very nice, well put together patterns in here as well, but the silly ones are the ones that get my attention. Like the thread crocheted pineapples that are sewn to a piece of suede to make a belt, or the butterfly necklace (a crocheted butterfly hanging from an i-cord) or the flip-flop decorations. Things like that just seem silly to me. As do the patterns that are one stitch pattern repeated forever to make a scarf. If I was going to make a scarf using one stitch pattern all the way across I’d go looking for a stitch dictionary, not a pattern book. I expect a pattern book to figure out sizing and help get one pattern to flow into another and let me know if I need to change needle/hook size between the stitches to account for more or less stretch.

I feel like most all of the hats leave something to be desired. However, I’m going to chalk that one up to my preference for knitted hats. If you like the look of crochet, or can’t knit, then you’ll find a bunch of hat options from baby to adult in this book. There was one hat I actually really did like. It’s the Bellisfaire Beanie in the light weight section. It’s knit using Cascade Ultra Pima, which I wouldn’t use for a hat, but the look is very sweet.

Now that I got that little rant out of my system I can say there are some very nice patterns you might like as well. The Button-Flap Cape (bulky section) is really cute. I couldn’t pull off wearing it, but someone like my very petite sister (or someone with a lot of confidence) could definitely make it work.

The Sunflower Pillow (light weight section) is pretty cool. It has a fabric back, but I think if I made it I’d work a single or half double crochet back for it in the same or coordinating yarn. I know that makes it not technically a one-skein project, but I don’t care.

The Blue Sky Dreamin’ (light weight section) socks are really cute. They’re only in two sizes though, woman’s US 8 and girl’s US 2. If you know crochet well enough I’m assuming you can easily resize the length to suit your need, but I didn’t read through the pattern.

In the baby pattern arena I thought the A Star is Born booties (fine weight section) were adorable.

The idea of the Bohemian Necklaces (fine weight section) is pretty cool, although I doubt in reality I would ever wear them. Cool concept and design though.

Skill Levels: I read some reviews for this book on Amazon before writing my own. One thing that was pointed out that I wouldn’t have thought of was there aren’t any skill levels listed. Skill level is kind of a personal thing (because what you find easy someone else may struggle with), but I do try and list it on all my designs based around the Craft Yarn Council’s guidelines. The projects in this book range from easy to advanced intermediate. I didn’t see anything that looked like you needed expert crocheting skills for.

Secret Garden Shrug

Secret Garden Shrug: My design in this book is called the Secret Garden Shrug. The pattern can be found on page 51 under the Super-Fine Weight category. I used a skein of Noro Kureyon sock yarn I’d purchased on a whim and never found a use for. 1) I don’t knit socks because I don’t enjoy wearing them, and 2) even if I did knit socks I don’t think I’d use this yarn for them. From what I recall it’s not a particularly stretchy yarn and I feel like good elasticity in sock yarn is a must.

When I made this shrug (nearly 2 years before the book was released!) I remember I didn’t block the center section as much as it could be. I wanted to write a pattern that had size options, but still only took a single skein. I’ve seen lots of one-skein designs before that look great, but they only fit an XS or S and everyone else it outta luck. With this shrug you can complete any of the 3 sizes with one skein and you can block them pretty far to open up the center lace stitches. Lace is a wonderful thing!

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