Thursday, 13 June 2013

Book review: Crochet One-Skein Wonders

As my collection of craft books grows, I thought a review now and then might prove helpful to those of you in search of a new read. One of my recent purchases was Crochet One-Skein Wonders, edited by Judith Durant and Edie Eckman and published by Storey Publishing. It is written in US terms.

This was a complete impulse buy, but as I leaf through it and try a few patterns, I have a feeling it will become a well-used and much-loved book. It features dozens of speedy patterns using one skein of yarn or less – perfect for all those leftover scraps from various projects.
I love how it is organised, by yarn weight, so if I find myself with an extra ball of yarn, I just look up the section that corresponds with my scraps.

The book pages are even colour-coded, so the lace-weight section page edges are green, the medium-weight chapter has red edges, etc. A little detail that is actually quite clever if I’m searching through half a dozen books and just want to jump to a relevant section rather than peruse an index.
I wanted to try a couple projects to justify a book review, so I chose JoAnn’s Scarf, in the super-fine-weight category.

I'm in a pink mood today, so I photographed on Little Flower's pink table

I am *addicted* to this pattern already, and I only started it yesterday! It crochets up so beautifully, the yarn and stitch feel so nice in the hand. It lays flat and is super-quick. I used a baby fine 4-ply, which actually uses a 3-3.5mm hook, so it works like super-fine yarn.

I love this yarn! The colours are just perfection to me; if I could colour the world shades of pink and cream...Bunny noted immediately that it looks like the triple-flavour ice cream tubs (so I suppose ice cream makes me happy, I won’t argue that!). The stitch is interesting, a sc and dc together in one stitch (UK dc and tr), then ch 1 and go into the next sc stitch and work the two together again. It makes for an interesting texture without being too lacy.

I can’t emphasise how quickly this works up, and the pattern simply indicates work until you’re satisfied with the length! A few skeins in various shades and I could potentially get some Christmas gifts done early (remind me that I wrote this when I’m panicking in November...).
I had a ball of the Sirdar Crofter chunky yarn leftover from this project, so I thought I’d start a bulky weight pattern.

I love bulky weight yarn because you blink your eyes and you’re halfway done with a project. I have done maybe half a dozen rows on this and it’s already a good size.

The looseness of the stitch make it look a bit bumpy on the sides, but it blocks evenly at the end.

This is big, soft, snuggly yarn that crochets loosely in a dc (UK tr) throughout. This will make a lovely Christmas gift for someone...

Crochet One-Skein Wonders has a lot of scarves, gloves and hats, which are of course perfect for using a small amount of yarn. The patterns are contemporary and photographed in beautiful colours, making me actually want to try a lot of them! Some amigurumi cuties, cushion covers, handbags and kitchen accessories round out the book.
The one criticism that I have is that, because the patterns are submitted by a number of designers, there is a bit of inconsistency with the instructions. Some patterns include the number of stitches in each row, i.e. ‘You now have 12 stitches’, but others, like JoAnn’s Scarf, don’t provide a number, which is fine if you know are a confident crocheter, but if you’re rather new to the craft, it might leave you wondering if you’re doing it right. This inconsistency is not so bad as to put me off recommending the book, absolutely not, I just wish that there was a standard for *all* patterns that would include even the most basic information so that everyone felt comfortable crocheting (and don't get me started on the US-UK stitch lingo). I know it takes more time and testing to make it all read the same, I know it’s pedantic, but I guarantee more people would be crocheting because they would build confidence much more quickly!

There, I’ve had my say. I am going to go work on that pretty pink ice-cream scarf now before I have to go pick up Little Flower from pre-school. Happy crafting!
Chrissie x






  1. I love book reviews, especially craft books! Thanks for sharing. I really like the projects you are working on especially the scarf, the colours are so pretty.
    M x

  2. What a fabulous and thorough review, I love it ..... more please :o)
    Love your ice cream scarf too, such pretty colours and that croc on the front cover looks mighty cute too.
    love jooles xxx

  3. Thanks for the review, books are so expensive so I love to hear others views! :) x

  4. Some great projects you have chosen from what looks to be a wonderful book. It is always so challenging to know which books to buy, so I love reviews as it saves pennies and I think it also gives you a different take on it. Thanks for sharing. Really like the 'ice cream' scarf, it is going to be really lovely. xo

  5. Thank you for the book review and for testing the patterns. I agree with your comments about patterns in general and a standard format would be good. Some tend to make it look more complicated than it is and others assume you know how to do something.

    S xx