Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Book review: Rustic Modern Crochet

I’m well on my way to finishing the Driftwood Shawl I showed you in my last post, but given the end-of-term activities, I know I won’t finish it for at least another week, and I’m dying to share this book with you!

The Sea Turtle poncho
Rustic Modern Crochet, by Yumiko Alexander, features elegant, tactile patterns that are as beautiful as they are quirky.

The Sand Dollar wrap
Many of the items are unlike anything I’ve seen. The various scarves, shawls and accessories are completely unique, which gives the book a very contemporary feel, but without losing its warm, relaxed vibe. I turned each page wanting to wear an item, cuddle beneath a shrug, touch a tactile scarf.

Sophisticated yet not entirely refined.

The Sea Glass scarf on the right
The table of contents gives an idea of the nature-based ethos of the book. Titles like Sand and Shells, Coral Bouquet and Beach Pebbles evoke earth and water.

The wrap I’m making is aptly named Driftwood Shawl, with colour and texture, lines, nooks and crannies like something careworn by sea winds. I love it!

Sunset Waves shawl/shrug
Each pattern is clearly laid out on three or more pages, with photographs of the item at different angles. The beginning of the patterns feature a materials list that gives not only the yarn weight and amount required, but then lists the name of the particular yarn used in the photos, its fibre type and number of skeins used. I like this feature – often a pattern will just list the brand used in the photo, then it’s up to me to find out the yarn weight, amount per skein, etc.

Lace Reflections gloves with a top layer of lacy crochet
The instructions include a sidebar listing any specialty stitches for the pattern, such as lace stitch, clusters and popcorn stitch. One thing to note is that the book is written in US terms – beware the double crochet mix-up! But as long as you keep this in mind, the patterns are easy to understand. The author also includes helpful diagrams as well as written instructions, which transcends any language barriers!

Overall, I really enjoy this book. It has the odd item that I raise my eyebrows at, wondering who would wear something like that out of the house (is that a requirement for every crochet book?), but for the most part, the patterns are a fascinating exploration of texture in crochet. With such an old craft, it really is refreshing to see crochet being used in such new ways!

Happy crafting!

Chrissie x


  1. Looks like a great book and your Driftwood shawl is G O R G E O U S !
    love Jooles x x x

  2. I want it too! Those gloves would look fab in black for my tribal dance kit, you know a bit dark but exciting! Your shawl looks great. Jo x

  3. Looks great I love the sand dollar wrap, just gorgeous coming down with a case of the wanties
    Clare xx

  4. C
    I have long been admiring your wip. that is the driftwood shawl. To see more examples in the book is super inspiring...I particularly like how your shawl in the pic on the table looks just like the wood it is made of!
    More! more!
    and do please hurry up with your shawl and get bunny to play photographer again....waiting!!
    A xx

  5. Thank you for reviewing this book Chrissie, it looks like an inspiring read. I really like the shawl shown on the front cover and your driftwood shawl is lovely. Have a good week.
    Jane x

  6. The Sunset Waves shawl/shrug is cool isn't it? Did you notice her hair in the photo too, if only I had the dexterity to do that!

    Hope you get a bit of time to finish your driftwood shawl, I'm sure you'll be able to sneak in 5 minutes here or there ;-)

  7. Oh dear, yet another book to be added to the Wanties list! I really love the look of the Sand dollar shawl and your Driftwood one looks fab too - can't wait to see it finished.

  8. That looks an exciting book! It's good to see some different designs rather than the same old variations on a theme.
    Your Driftwood shawl is looking beautiful Chrissie, lovely gentle colour you chose.
    Enjoy the rest of the week
    Gill xx

  9. Well first off I fall more in love with your driftwood shawl with every sighting - what a fab job your doing with it Chrissie, and I bet, like me, you're longing to see it finished but, unlike me, you can then wear it :)
    This book looks exciting with its variety of new look patterns and I'm wondering what you'll be tackling next with your able hands and inspiring creative bent. Go Chrissie! Sending much love, Joy xo

  10. I've so enjoyed your posts where you've shown your progress. I think your finished wrap is going to be very, very lovely. It looks so elegant.
    What a gorgeous book. The Sand Dollar Wrap is beautiful also.
    Margaret x

  11. That certainly looks like a great book, I intend to add it to my list. Your shawl is looking delightful. Enjoy the summer holidays.

  12. Your shawl is beautiful Chrissie, I look forward to seeing the finished article. The colour of yarn that you chose looks just like driftwood, so it fits the name perfectly! The book sounds great and the items that you showed in the pictures are so lovely, I especially like the sand dollar shawl, but I might just be attracted to the name as I do have a thing for sand dollars! xx

  13. Beautiful shawl !!!! And a book full of future project ?
    Have a great day !

  14. This looks a beautiful book Chrissie-what gorgeous projects. Your driftwood shawl is going to be perfect for cooler evenings on the beach-what glorious textures. I love the lacy gloves/wrist warmers! I have just started crochet again and just might have to add this book to my collection......xx

  15. Your shawl is coming out beautifully. I think the book looks very interesting but I always have trouble imagining myself wearing such delicate, lacy things. I'm too clumsy and accident-prone. :)

  16. interesting find, look forward to seeing more X

  17. I have had this book in PDF format before it was even released in print and I LOVE IT!!! I am working my way through it! Have not made anything yet that I was not extremely pleased with! Everything is just beautiful!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Debbie! It's great to know someone else has this book and has had great success with it - now I just have to decide which pattern to do next...Cx

  18. Wow, it looks really interesting and usual, what a great book.

    S x

  19. A beautiful book, and your review is very well written and interesting, Chrissie. I love the driftwood shawl......what a perfect name. Your crocheting is always beautiful and inspiring too!
    Helen xox

  20. A great book to be prepared for autumn.

  21. It looks like a wonderful and inspiring book.

  22. Hello Chrissie,

    What a joy it has been to visit you today! Your driftwood shawl is amazing! I love the way it marries so beautifully with the wood you photographed it against. Such an artistic eye you have!

    I agree with the others above; your review was compelling!


  23. Hello Chrissie
    The book looks great might be just what I need to keep me busy through the winter. The driftwood shawl looks beautiful x

  24. What a wonderful, original book. I really like the look of those Lace Reflections mitts/wrist warmers. It's nice to feel that my crochet is finally at a level where I could attempt something like that without having a nervous breakdown. x

  25. Lovely Chrissie sorry I have been away for so long - just catching up with your fabulous posts. I love your crochet Chrissie and only wish I had more time to devote myself to this wonderful craft, you always inspire me with your work. Well done on Tilly's pattern, I am afraid mine went a bit wonky and I didn't like the finished piece but yours is spectacular and is what I had in mind for me! You look stunning in it Chrissie - what a talent you are - your embroidery is just so lovely. I hope you are having a wonderful day Chrissie, sending you big hugs and loves, it is always a delight to visit you. Dorothyxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx