Book Title: Seamless Crochet: Techniques and Motifs for Join-As-You-Go Designs
Author: Kristin Omdahl
Publisher: Interweave Press
Copyright Date: 2011
Format: Softcover / Trade Paperback Plus DVD
Number of Pages: 151
Cover Price: $24.95 US dollars. If you would prefer a digital version of the book, you can download that from the Interweave store; the price is a bit lower at $19.95.
Important Note: This item is a set that includes both a book and a DVD. Unfortunately due to my malfunctioning electronics I have not yet had a chance to view the DVD. So, the following is my review of the book only. I hope to update this review after I've had a chance to watch the DVD.
Do you enjoy making crochet motifs?
How about weaving in your ends when you are finished crocheting your motifs; do you enjoy that as well? No? If not, perhaps this book will capture your interest.
This book is all about crocheting motifs, and using them in projects, without having to weave in zillions and zillions of ends.
Usually, every time you crochet a granny square, hexagon or other motif, you end up with at least two ends to weave in -- one at the beginning and one at the end of the motif. If you want to make a blanket or other project made of motifs, you end up with bunches of loose ends to weave in.
In this book, Kristin explores a method you can use to crochet your motifs and join them as you work. This eliminates the need for ending off and beginning again over and over, and it also eliminates the need for sewing numerous motifs together.
This book is both a pattern book and a technique book. Each pattern included in the book effectively demonstrates a different design in which this technique can be applied.
Crochet Patterns Included in This Book
- Shawls / Wraps: Depending on how you count them, there are either four or five patterns for shawls and wraps included in the book. Four of these projects are definitely shawls / wraps; the fifth is a mobius that could be worn as either a wrap or a cowl-style scarf.
- Blankets / Afghans: The book includes four patterns for blankets and afghans; one is an adult sized afghan and the others are intended for babies and children.
My favorite project in the book is the adult-sized Moroccan tile blanket, which I think is just exquisite. I love it because the motif is beautiful, yet the design also manages to be guy-friendly at the same time. (I just asked my husband's opinion, and he agrees, although your mileage may vary.) The motif has plenty of openwork areas, which add visual interest, and the motif's curved edges make it unnecessary to add an edging.
The buttercup baby blanket is a three-dimensional design featuring flower motifs.
The book also includes a pattern for a boy-friendly shark hunter child's blanket, and a starfish motif blanket. The starfish blanket is interesting. It has really large open spaces, which to my way of thinking make it more decorative than practical.
- Hats: There are two hat patterns included. One is a granny square hat for guys; the other is a flower lace hat for ladies.
The flower lace hat is pictured at upper right. This hat is lovely, in my opinion, and I'm working on crocheting one. A work-in-progress photo of this motif pattern is shown on the lower right. (Note that it has not been blocked, and will need blocking when it is complete, so the lace pattern is not as "opened up" as it should be.)
The man's hat was not to my husband's taste, although I think it would be an interesting project to crochet.
- Scarves: There are two scarves and a cowl included in the book; there's also the aforementioned mobius which could be considered a scarf if that's how you choose to wear it.
- Miscellaneous Patterns: There are also patterns for a market bag, trivet, and pillow. I started crocheting the trivet, and so far all is going well with it.
- Crochet Motif Patterns: All of the above designs are based on various motif patterns. Kristin also shares the motif patterns in the book, which is great because you can use them for creating just about anything you like. I counted 17 different motif patterns all together.
- This book includes both written instructions and symbol crochet charts / diagrams. When I was working the patterns in this book, I found that both sets of instructions were necessary in order to understand the patterns. Sometimes the stitches cross over each other in unusual ways, and I would have been lost if trying to work either from the written instructions alone or from the symbol crochet instructions alone. So, I am glad both sets of instructions are included.
- This book includes multiple clear, helpful color photographs, including lots of detail shots. This is important to me because if I am going to crochet a pattern, I want to be able to see what I am trying to accomplish. The photography is outstanding, and they don't skimp on showing you photos of the projects from different angles.
- Attractive styling; the projects are all presented well.
- The book includes a nice variety of patterns. You'll find some quick projects and some that would be more of a commitment.
- There are some one and two skein projects included in the book.
- This is the most comprehensive resource I've yet found on the topic of crocheting join-as-you-go motifs. I've occasionally seen join-as-you-go designs before, but up until now I've seen this technique used mostly as a way to join granny squares. It's really exciting, inspiring and refreshing to get a hold of an entire collection of patterns created using this method -- and they aren't just afghan patterns (although afghans are ideal for this technique, and as mentioned there are several afghan patterns included in the book).
- It's particularly exciting to have a library of join-as-you-go motifs charted out and ready for to use.
Flipping Pages: As I have been working the flower lace hat pattern, I have had to do quite a bit of flipping back and forth between pages in the book. Taking a quick look through the book, I think this could potentially be an issue I'd have with multiple patterns in the book.
Offhand I don't know of any way the author and publisher could have eliminated this issue; the instructions are not needlessly wordy (not at all!) But still, the flipping-pages-then-losing-my-place issue did mean that I have devoted more time than I expected to these projects.
Recommendation: if you buy this book, allow plenty of time for making the projects. Don't hurry through them. The projects were designed specifically with gifting in mind, and I do think they would make lovely gifts, but I wouldn't recommend them as last-minute gifts if you are brand new to this crochet technique.
If you are familiar enough with this technique that you are able to work from the symbol crochet charts alone, perhaps the flipping pages issue won't affect you; the charts are beautifully concise.
Possible Small Omissions? I had a little trouble understanding the pattern instructions in a couple of places in this book. When that happens, I'm never entirely sure if it's me, or if it's the pattern. In both cases, it looks to me as if something small has been omitted from the written instructions -- but it's also possible that I am misunderstanding the pattern. I was able to figure out where I went wrong by looking at the symbol crochet chart, but I've also emailed my contact at the publisher to ask for clarification about the part of the book that had me most confused.
In the past, Interweave Press has been great about making pattern corrections available when mistakes are discovered in their books. If you ever buy an Interweave Press crochet book, you can check this page on their website for corrections. In this particular case, I am not sure whether it's an actual error or my own misunderstanding, but I mention the corrections page to be sure you're aware that you can check for updates in case any corrections for this title will be added to the list in the future.
The Learning Curve: If you've never tried crocheting join-as-you-go motifs, expect to deal with a learning curve. For some of you, it may be a shallow learning curve; for some of you, it may be a steep learning curve. In any case, if you are used to making crochet motifs in the traditional way, you'll have to wrap your head around a whole different way of doing it. Patience is required.
Skill Levels? I did not see any skill level ratings mentioned in the book. I've been going around in circles trying to analyze which skill levels this book would work best for, and I'm still stumped on that. On the one hand, my first impulse was to say that that this isn't a book for beginners. On the other hand, after having thought it through a little more, I'd also say that I wish someone had handed me this book when I was new to crocheting. Hmmm, how's that for indecisive?
At any rate, I'd recommend being thoroughly confident with your basic crochet stitches before attempting to crochet anything in this book. I think perhaps success with this book is more about patience, determination, analytical ability, and problem-solving skills than it is about having crochet skills. I also think that, in some ways, this book might be easier for a new crocheter to absorb than it would be for a crocheter who is very experienced and comfortable working motifs in the traditional way.
Is This Book a Good Value for the Money You Spend on It?
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. I can honestly say that, if I ever lose or accidentally destroy my copy, I'd spend the $19.95 to download another one. Mine is already getting a little worn and dogeared from use. In the short time I've owned this book, it has become a valued part of my crochet library.
For me, as a crochet designer, it's the technique info that makes this book worth the price. The beauty of this technique is that, once you understand it thoroughly, you can use these principles to re-construct just about any traditional crochet motif into a join-as-you-go motif.
Every crocheter has different needs, goals and expectations.
If you already understand how to do join-as-you-go motifs, and you enjoy the technique, this book offers you a nice library of patterns to crochet using that technique.
If your goal is to master the art and craft of crochet, and you don't already have a thorough understanding of the join-as-you-go technique, I believe this book could potentially be a worthwhile investment for you, and I am happy to recommend it for your consideration.
If your goal is basically to kick back and relax with your crochet, I am not sure whether this book would meet your needs or not; it's a matter of whether you'd be willing to get past a learning curve.
I think this book will appeal most to crocheters who like to be challenged but expect to learn something important when doing so. Bottom line, are you willing to invest some time and brainpower in learning this technique?
If you own a copy of this book, I invite you to share your experiences with it. Your review will help other crocheters make an informed decision about whether this book would be worth buying or not. If you're considering a book purchase, it's always worthwhile to get multiple perspectives and opinions. Thanks in advance to anyone who submits a review!