Book Title: Tunisian Crochet for Baby
Author: Sharon Hernes Silverman
Publisher: Stackpole Books
Copyright Date: 2014
Format: Paperback and Kindle versions of the book are available. I reviewed a digital copy of the book. See notes below for more info about the format options and considerations.
Number of Pages: 140
The Book Premise:
This book offers crochet enthusiasts 23 different patterns, all for babies and toddlers — and all worked in Tunisian crochet.
Projects Included in This Book:
The book includes a mix of patterns, including a christening gown, baby blankets, baby hats, baby clothing, baby booties and more.
The Sunny Bow Baby Headband
I decided to try making one of the Sunny Bow baby headbands, because it looked like a quick project, and one that would teach me something new without taking me too far out of my comfort zone.
This cute headband is made using an interesting hand-manipulated stitch that’s a variation of the basic afghan stitch. It took me a few rows to get comfortable with this stitch, because it doesn’t flow smoothly off the hook at first; you have to stop every once in awhile and move some loops around with your fingers. After I got the hang of it, the project moved along a little quicker, and it was an interesting project to work on — although it’s definitely not as fast a stitch as the afghan stitch.
Sharon really went out of her way to give you clear instructions for this project, which is great, because without that level of detail it could have been confusing. Between the step-by-step photos, the written instructions and the symbol crochet charts, I had no problems interpreting the unusual stitch and working my own sample of it.
I had no trouble getting the right gauge, although I used a different yarn than the yarn suggested in the pattern — which I am sure would have been a better choice than the yarn I used — a random pink partial-skein of acrylic that has been in my stash so long I can’t remember what exactly it is.
This headband is not really stretchy in the yarn I chose to use — which is not a problem, but I’m hoping that those of you who make these headbands can use this knowledge to improve on the results that I got. I am sure Sharon’s yarn suggestion is a great one, and a better choice than I made. Otherwise, if you decide to substitute yarns, I would suggest using a stretchy, resilient yarn to make up for the lack of stretch in this stitch. I think a soft, luscious alpaca, or high-quality merino wool would be a huge improvement over the yarn I selected.
Overall, thumbs up to this pattern. I think it’s a winner, and I think perhaps crafters might want to make multiples of these — perhaps a few in different colors to coordinate with several different layette sets.
Fantastic Things About This Book:
- There are some outstanding patterns included in this collection. The baby blankets, particularly, have mass appeal.
- There are symbol crochet charts for all of these projects.
- Helpful schematics are included for the garment patterns.
- There’s a visual index of all the projects, which is nice to have whether you are looking at a physical or digital copy of the book; it eliminates the need for either flipping pages or scrolling when you are trying to find a project to get started on.
- There’s a nice variety of patterns included in the book. Some are boy-friendly, for example the “strappy pants.” Some are girl-friendly, for example, the headband pictured above, plus the “spring poncho” and the “favorite skirt.” Many of the projects are gender-neutral, although in some cases (for example, the blanket and hat on the book cover) you’d probably want to do a quick color change if you want to make a gender-neutral version.
- Step-by-step photo tutorials will help you learn or brush up on crochet skills you might not have learned, or perhaps learned but forgot.
- There are some really interesting stitches to try.
- I think just about everyone, even experienced crocheters, will learn something new from this book.
- Skill level ratings are included for each project.
- Sharon gives you the Craft Yarn Council’s yarn weight information for the suggested yarns in each pattern, which is helpful to have when making yarn substitutions. So if you can’t find a suggested yarn or you want to try a different yarn, you’ll have an idea of where to start.
Notes on Kindle, Digital and Paperback Formats:
An important note: I have a digital copy of this book; this brings up some important considerations that I want to be sure to mention.
For starters, I can’t comment on the paper quality, the binding of the book or any of those sorts of details — since I haven’t held a physical copy of the book in my hands.
For those of you who might be considering a digital or Kindle copy of the book, please be aware of this important note: Some of the symbol crochet charts are printed vertically in the book.
Since I’m accessing the book on my laptop, it’s somewhere between challenging and impossible to view the vertical symbol crochet charts correctly. I can’t hold my laptop sideways at the same time I’m crocheting. I could print out the charts, but at that point I think I’d be better off just buying a paper copy of the book — because the book costs less than a new printer cartridge does.
I don’t own either a Kindle or an Ipad to see if the user experience would be any better on either of those devices; I’m guessing it might be, but still, before you get a digital copy, ask yourself this: are you prepared to print out the charts that you would want to work with? Would you be more comfortable with holding and tilting your device to view the charts as you work these patterns, or would you be more comfortable with holding and tilting a paperback copy of the book? Think this over before committing to one format or the other, because it will be a consideration for some of these patterns.
The Not-So-Fantastic Things About This Book
Most of these designs are fantastic, worthwhile crochet projects. There are a few that are not to my taste. This is a matter of personal opinion, so you might or might not agree with me on this — please check out the projects for yourself and see what you think of them before you jump to any conclusions either way.
For me, the most glaring example of a “thumbs down” project is the nursery box. I’ll start by saying that I’m totally onboard with the idea of crocheting interesting boxes. It’s actually a great idea, and I get where Sharon was going with it. But for my taste, this particular pattern has not been perfected yet. I am less than enthralled by the slightly saggy looking photos of the project sample, which deters me from wanting to try the project at all. But if I were going to try it, I’d maybe try crocheting it with feltable wool yarn and a slightly too-big hook, then felting it to see if that would give it a stiffer, “boxier” quality. Or maybe I’d make a quilted lining for it. Or maybe I’d do both of the above. But at that point I begin to question: would it be worth the effort? There are easier and more appealing ways to DIY a box — which I’m not personally afraid of since I do many other types of crafts besides just crochet. Again, your opinion here may vary, so don’t let my lack of enthusiasm hinder you if this project is better suited to your tastes than it is to mine.
Back to “fantastic things” for just a moment — the colorful washcloths in the book seem like happy, cheerful projects that any new parents would find useful.
Overall, I think this book has many more keepers than duds, and it’s packed with helpful information. I’m happy to recommend it to other crocheters.
Disclosure: I was given a review copy of this book by the publisher. However, this review represents my honest and unbiased opinion. I’ve done my best to write a fair and balanced review, highlighting what I think are the great and not-so-great things about this book, and pointing out the things I think would be of interest to you.
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