Monday, December 1, 2014

Book Review: Crochet Master Class By Rita Weiss

I think "Crochet by the Masters" would be a more adequate title as the book does not provide enough information on each topic to really master the skill.
This book briefly touches 18 techniques and includes a pattern for each technique. Most patterns and techniques are not really unique.

The pattern on the front cover is the highlight of the book.
You can see some of the projects here:

Here is a list of the skills and masters (and of the patterns):
Woven Crochet with Jenny King (Princess Of Wales Memorial Tartan)
Hairpin Lace with Jennifer Hansen (Feather And Fan Cardi Wrap)
Tapestry Crochet with Carol Ventura (Beaded Tapestry Crochet Bag)
Aran Crochet with Jane Sneeden Peever (Cable Crossover Sweater)
Entrelac Crochet with Joyce Wyatt (Single Crochet Entrelac Scarf)
Fashion Crochet with Margaret Hubert (Glittering Gold Top)
Tunisian Crochet with Julia Bryant (Bead And Roses Coat For Children)
Filet Crochet with Hartmut Hass (Filet Crochet Table Runner)
Double-Ended Crochet with Darla J. Fanton (Lilacs And Roses Baby Afghan)
Tassels with Nancy Nehring (Victorian Flower Tassel)
Bullion Stitch with Bonnie Pierce (Blooming Bullions Pillow Cover)
Overlay Crochet with Melody MacDuffee (Overlay Mandala Pillow Cover)
Bead Crochet with Lydia Borin (Crystalise Necklace)
Bruges Crochet with Tatyana Mirer (Reversible Magical Wave Stole)
Painted Crochet with Ferosa Harold (Hearts And Roses Centerpiece)
Freeform Crochet with Prudence Mapstone (Spring Or Fall Freeform Shawl)
Irish Crochet with Máire Treanor (Clones Lace Bookmark)
Wire Crochet with Nancie Wiseman (Antique Wire Crochet Purse)

If you are comfortable with basic crochet terms and abbreviations you can master most of these techniques with some patience.
If you are an experienced crocheter you probably already know the basics of most of the techniques included in this book, and you will not find more than the basics in it.
There are not enough step by step pictures and I do not like the endless texts (which make the patterns hard to understand). I prefer schematics & symbols (because they provide an overview and prevent from error). And I would really appreciate an instructional DVD.

Each technique is presented by a master. It starts with a biography of the designer and with photos of items which were made by this person. Then the technique is discussed in general terms. Finally, there is a pattern using that technique.
The photos which accompany each biography are often much more attractive than the projects where a pattern is provided for the reader.
Fortunately, you can find these master's websites and more, so that you can pursue the next steps if you want to.

A general problem that has not yet been solved in the world of crochet is Entrelac Crochet. Despite the author's (Joyce Wyatt) statement that she likes to take knit techniques and translate them to crochet, what she calls "entrelac crochet" bears only little resemblance to Entrelac Knitting which produces a beautiful woven fabric.
The freeform pattern does not really seem like Freeform Crochet. A small piece (like a brooch, a wristwarmer or a headband) which would show special stitches used in Freeform Crochet and introduce how to scrumble would have been much more interesting.
But this book shows some creative things you can do with crochet which are not generally featured in books and magazines.

There are better books and magazines out there to learn from and to find inspiration. But if you would like a book with biographical information about different crochet designers, which shows the differences between some crochet techniques, this book is for you.

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