Vix Knits… and crochets and sews…

My adventures in the wonderful world of arts and crafts

The Knitting and Crochet Bible book review

The Knitting and Crochet Bible by Claire Crompton and Sue Whiting brings together The Knitter’s Bible and The Crochet Bible in one glorious volume.

Ideal for any level of crafter, the books covers the basics of knitting and crochet as well as more advanced techniques and stitches. The book is filled with concise instructions and brilliantly clear illustrations.

Most of the techniques are linked to projects in the book so that, when you learn a new technique, you can out it into practice.

The knitting section is broken down into five ‘chapters’ which are colour-coded down the edge of the pages.

The crochet sections has four chapters with tabs down the edge of the pages.

Both sections have stitch libraries with pictures and instructions for basic and advanced stitches.

Both sections also have extensive information on yarns: the types of fibres that are used; the different ‘weights’ of yarn; and which yarns are considered the most suitable for certain projects.

I have to say, I found the knitting section much better than the crochet section: the information is more extensive and the colour coded chapters make the section much easier to navigate through.

The stitch library, for example, accounts for 40 pages of the knitting sections whereas the crochet section only has 18.

The one irritating feature is that the knitting section appears to be American but the English (where different) is added in brackets, so you get sentences like: “Shown here are truly rustic fisherman (aran), bulky (chunky) and worsted (DK) weight yarns in tweeds and soft greens, a soft sport (4ply) 100 per cent alpaca yarn, traditional shetland wool sweater yarn and tapestry wools equivalent to worsted (DK) weight.”

After a while it gets very tiresome, especially if you’ve already become accustomed to switching between the two.

The crochet section is better because it’s written in English terms, although American readers may struggle as there doesn’t appear to be a conversion chart for terms and abbreviations.

I really love the ‘knit something now’ feature but the crochet section’s ‘make this now’ feature is quite poor. The first project it recommends is a cardigan with flower detailing but the only things you’ve been shown are how to hold the hook and yarn and how to make a slipknot!

I also prefer the projects in the knitting section but I suppose this comes down to personal taste more than anything. I will say, however, that the photos of the crochet projects are a bit useless, I’ve struggled to get a really good idea of what the finished pieces are supposed to look like.

With regards to price, this is a really good buy. The separate books RRP at £14.99 whereas this is only £19.99 (and I got money off mine, bonus!) so, even if you currently only crochet or knit, I’d definitely recommend this over the separate versions.

Currently on my list of knitting things to try are: Continental knitting; entrelac, mitred squares; fair isle (hopefully aided by the Continental knitting); and some more complicated cables.

I didn’t find anything in the crochet section that really screamed ‘I’m the new challenge you’re looking for!’ but there are some cute projects that I’d like to make for myself and as gifts.

Overall, I’m very glad I finally decided to buy this book, it really is an invaluable addition to my craft library.

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AUSTENtatious Crochet book review

AUSTENtatious Crochet by Melissa Horozewski contains 36 designs, inspired by the world of Jane Austen but with a modern twist.

The designs are rated in difficulty from one to three crochet hooks and are stitched using a variety of yarns and hook sizes.

Being an American book, the terminology is different than UK readers are used to but once you get used to it, it’s not much of an issue.

Most of the designs are really beautiful and you can almost picture them on the set of a Regency period drama.

Some of the designs, however, are a bit too modern. The Regency Hat and Handbag, for example, aren’t really like anything that Jane Austen would have been familiar with.

I’ve tried out three designs from the book and had problems with all of them. I’ve written about my issues with the jacket, called Anne’s Spencer (see Current projects; Problems, problems, problems; And more problems!)

Before that, I stitched the Regency Handbag. It all went smoothly until it was fully stitched and I was trying to work out the pleating. The schematic shows the bag after the pleats have been put in but the pattern contains little help for actually doing it.

Now all I need to do is sew the lining and put it all together!

The first pattern I tried was one of the main reasons I bought the book – Emma’s Hood.

I mentioned before about being disappointed and eventually giving up (I tried the stitch again last night but even the tension swatch comes out wonky) but here’s the full story.

I think, to begin with, I was working the stitch wrong but I watched the online video and tried again and it worked a little better.

Unfortunately, after this, the work was still ending up the wrong shape! The first few rows are okay because there is limited shaping but when it comes to the edge shaping, one side appears to be fine while the other is sloping in the wrong direction.

I contacted Melissa and she was really very helpful to start with and even uploaded a new video about the stitch pattern and sent me link. Considering the time difference, as well, she got back to me really quickly and even half suggested we meet up to fix it (such a shame I’m across the pond)

But when I told her I was in the UK, she seemed to lose interest in my problem, stopped e-mailing and seemingly gave up.

I was so disappointed.

There are so many other designs in the book that I would like to make, for myself and as gifts, but I’m reluctant to try any of them now. I even considered selling the book on to save myself the stress…

Unfortunately, I’m rather stubborn so I’m hatching a plan to make myself the hood after all!

So, all in all, I found the book very much of a mixed bag. I wouldn’t recommend it to those new to the craft and would advise experienced stitchers to choose their patterns wisely.

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