Monday, February 25, 2013

connect the shapes review

That Edie Eckman!  She's one of  my crochet heroines. I have a true affinity for Edie Eckman's books and the knowledge and know-how they always impart.

In with my recent KnitPicks order was Edie Eckman's new book, Connect the Shapes. Since learning about it, I wanted to get it, and finding it at KnitPicks's discount price was great.

You many or may not recall that I'm doing a long term project (because I never have time) to which I refer as "My Own Little Crochet U."  That is crocheting every motif in Edie's book Beyond The Square Crochet Motifs. Although I'm still not finished, I'm a confident crocheter.  There was only 1 motif in Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs, that I have been unable to make - only because I can't figure out where to put my hook on one round. I'm sure it's my inexperience so I've left that one for later.    I have a drawer full of motifs in interesting (read: wild) colors.  I am so happy to have this new book, which I will zealously read and use to plan connecting my motifs into bags, wraps and who knows what else!  

So much for the background.

Connect the Shapes Crochet Motifs has a covered wire binding so it will lie flat when in use.  I think all craft reference books should be bound that way. I can't count the number that I have sliced in order to DIY spiral bind them.  

As far as  I can see, there is no overlap of motifs from Beyond the Square. Thank you, Edie.  I feel a bit cheated when I buy multiple books by an author/teacher and a much of the material is the same.  There are  101 motifs. broken down into categories:

  • Classic Grannies
  • A Little Double Crochet
  • Gathered Chains
  • Lacy Links
  • Layered Mesh
  • SC/DC
  • All Clustered
  • Triple Petals
  • Start with a Flower
  • 3-D Fun
  • Swirls
  • Radiants
  • Picots in Plural
  • Wheels and Shells
  • Inner Connectivity

In addition to these interesting motifs, there's a Quick Start Guide, Techniques, and general instructions for starting, ending, joining when you're done, JAYGo, edges, other means of connecting motifs, and then, there are unique patterns.

The book is beautifully photographed, and as always, Edie's color choices make you want to pick up a hook as soon as you open it. Instructions are in written and in diagram form.  This book, Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs and Around the Corner Crochet Borders are a trio of books that I recommend to all crocheters. If you are like me, and have come to crochet recently (I've knit forever, but I feared crochet until I realized that the leap from knitting continental to wrangling yarn and a crochet hook was more like a little step, rather than a hurdle) these books are the reference books that can liberate you. If you lack confidence, Edie Eckman's clear style and excellent diversity will thoroughly inform and entertain you.  

The one recommendation I will make is if you are not a long time, accomplished crocheter, you may benefit from using a thick, smooth yarn with a large needle, as I did.  I'm making all my Beyond the Square motifs with cotton yarn and an H hook.  I  relax when I'm doing something for the first time, if I can really see it.  I think it has benefited my learning to "read my work," too.

stash enhancement

When the cable broke on the evening of the Downton Abbey finale, it caused hours of stress. I still haven't made a decision about whether to go ahead and finish my Money Pit (aka Appalachian) Shawl. I haven't been able to look at it "since the unpleasantness."  I told myself I was going to decide by yesterday, but I still haven't. I'm stuck.

I called KnitPicks to report the broken cable and request a replacement, but before doing so, I browsed their web site, for bargains and found a few:

They had a sale on some colorways of one of their self striping sport weight yarns, Felice.  I haven't used it before, but I have used Swish DK, their superwash merino yarn and found it utterly satisfactory for its price. I assumed Felice would be at minimum, a comparable quality.

Above is a colorway called Dockside.  

This one is called Stream Bed.

Why the guitars?  No, it wasn't an arty moment.  I had sauteed some chicken breasts for lunch. Whenever I cook on top of the stove, I take my guitars, which hang on a wall not far from kitchen, into the bedroom, so any flying projectiles from cooking that get into the air, won't shorten the life of their strings.  They were on the bed when I picked up the mail and opened my KnitPicks box.  I couldn't resist shooting them together.  (I wouldn't have thought of it if they were in their usual cradles.)

I'm thinking of using these yarns for fingerless gloves or mitts.  The Stream Bed will be great with jeans and a chocolate brown cape I wear a lot in the fall and very early spring.  I wear a good deal of red and blue and don't have enough left over yarn  to make these proposed accessories. That's a lie.  I don't have enough yarn that isn't mentally assigned to other projects.  Did I mention that the clearance prices on these yarns was ridiculous? 

I also purchased  some of KnitPicks's needle coils, which I like better than point protectors, for keeping yarn from escaping in transport etc.  I also ordered a packet of their split ring markers.  Their split is smaller than their Clover equivalents, and for crochet, having my stitch marker not fall out is imperative. In Clover's favor, I prefer their locking stitch markers to KnitPicks's because the Clover ones are more flexible and not as apt to snap. There was a great discount on a book I've been wanting, so I added that to the order, too.  (I'll review it separately.)

Although 1 cable broke, KnitPicks was kind enough to send me a complete set of 2 cables, 2 end caps and a tightener key.
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