Monday, November 10, 2008

Book Review: Vogue Knitting on the Go: Crocheted Shawls

One thing I love to do whenever I become immersed in something is to read as much as I can about it. So it's no surprise that I love thumbing through crochet books. Whenever I go to the library, I look through the fiber arts section. Unfortunately, at my library it's jumbled together, so I always have a search on my hands for the crochet books, rather than the knitting books. Most of the books seem to be stuck in a time warp. But slowly and surely there are more modern books appearing. So I thought I'd give my thoughts on one.

I have been waiting for a while for Vogue Knitting on the Go: Crocheted Shawls to be available at the library. I've had a thing for shawls lately and I wanted to see what vogue knitting would have to say about it.

The introduction seems forward enough. It doesn't come off as a knitter writing about crochet, which seems to be the case much of the time. I'm not certain who wrote the introduction, there's no clear name there, but whoever it was, she obviously is a knitter as well as a crocheter. One thing I found interesting was that knitting written directions tend to be clearer because there are less abbreviations and more full words. I didn't know this, not knitting myself.

I found most of the patterns to be quite interesting. I found myself drawn to the rectangular patterns, rather than the triangular ones, but there was certainly a mix of different shawl types - something to satisfy anyone. I was disappointed with some yarn choices. Some shawls looked stiff and lacking drape. I think that could have been easily solved by a different yarn choice for the pattern.

I find myself most attracted to the simple patterns that allow the yarn to be the shining star of the show, rather than the complex patterned piece. Looking at what's been made at Raverly, I'm surprised that there aren't more shawls made from this book. I thought of taking pictures of the shawls, but then I thought that might be copyright infringement, so you'll just have to find the book to look at the pictures, yourself.

One shawl I was most unimpressed with was a shawl in a moss green color which used only the loop stitch. You've seen the stitch on amigurumi sheep to make the fleece... And it looked like a sheep fell into a vat of moss dye, was skinned and tossed over this woman's shoulder. Huh? What's that about? I really hate to be negative on someone's design because I know what kind of work goes into designing something, but... I can't imagine it being ANYONE's thing. I'm not surprised that it's not listed as anyone having made it on Raverly -- the designer didn't even admit to making one!

One beauty is Doris Chan's Winged Victory. As soon as I saw it, I instantly recognised it as being her work. It's another one of her blown up doily patterns. She explains her foundation single crochet technique, which I've found invaluable.

The cover shawl, Dots and Daisies is rather striking against the plain black background of the model's dress. The point of the triangle falls on the lower thigh and looks like a perfect accessory to an elegant, but unadorned evening gown.

The Shawl du soleil fascinates me, but I wonder how heavy it is! I think I'd prefer it as a blanket rather than a shawl.

There are 21 designs in total in the book and each one feels very different from the others. If you have a chance, I'd recommend giving it a look to see if something in it catches your eye. I'm certainly going to check out the other books in the series. I was pleasantly surprised with something labeled "knitting" having some impressive crochet patterns in it.


Jennifer said...

Thanks for the review! I really love the cover shawl, and the Spiraled Flower Shawl looks pretty, too. (I always love the triangular stitch patterns, but will only wear a rectangular shawl. Oh well...)

JayJay said...

I may have to check that out! Even though I knit too, I think the crocheted shawl is more fun to make and looks lovely.

jkaymac said...

Thanks so much for the book review. A shawl is one of those things I want to try next. I'll be keeping an eye open for this book.