Book Review: Crochet Boutique by Rachael Oglesby
The full title of this book is Crochet Boutique: 30 Simple, Stylish Hats, Bags, and Accessories. And that is what struck me first as I flipped through the pages – how simple the patterns are. I had to step back and put myself in the mind-set of a beginner . . .
Let me tell you two stories, or perhaps consider them asides.
First, it has been a long while since I was a beginner crocheter. After over a decade of crocheting and a couple years of writing my own patterns, it is extremely difficult to grade pattern level. I have discovered many times, what I consider to be beginner is in fact a bit too advanced for a crochet newbie. I’m constantly struggling to rate my pattern difficulty, and quite frankly, I feel out of touch with the needs of beginners more often than not. This book is entirely in-touch and spot-on.
Second, ever since this interview with Rachel Hunnicutt, I have been taking a long hard look at the materials I work with. Being the uh, frugal person that I am, I tend to gravitate toward the common and affordable (very affordable). Rachel is right: taking joy in your craft also requires a bit of pride-taking in the materials you choose. After that interview, I did go buy some nicer yarns, but they have just been hanging around waiting for me to get a bit of time to work them up.
This leads me to the two adjectives I would use to describe this book: simple and beautiful.
Crochet Boutique is a perfect beginner book . . . and also a great reminder that sometimes simple is better – more beautiful. I think anyone starting out in crochet will be well-served to pick up this book and work through it from start to finish. I wish I had had this when I was starting out – simple patterns that have a designer look, a lot of instant-gratifiction projects, and an excellent very-well-illustrated index of stitches and techniques.
In addition, many of the projects use yarns that are a step-up from the regular old run of the mill stuff. This lends a more luxe and polished feel to the end result. It’s been so long since I’ve used anything besides cheap worsted that it was a joy to work with something nicer – a breath of fresh air for me, and this book gave me the push!
Although the Cuddle Cowl may be the easiest project in the book, I felt drawn to it, and I just so happened to have the exact bulky yarn it called for. Rather than joining the rounds, I worked it up seamlessly, and it came together very quickly. It was a joy to have something so simple and snuggly and pretty – and all mine – in about an hour.
If you’re interested in some quick, beautiful, stylish projects (hey, the holidays are fast approaching!), pick up a copy of Crochet Boutique and get your stitch on. Or, head on over to Rachael’s shop, Softspoken, to pick out some cuddly lovelies!