Friday, 10 February 2017

Every Which Way Crochet Borders - Book Review

While I like a bit of crochet, enjoy getting a free craft book and find reviews quite fun to work on, being a woman in specific need of a good bit of crochet edging, I was particularly keen when the offer came through from Storey Publishing to take part in a blog tour, promoting of Edie Eckman's new book, 'Every Which Way Crochet Borders: 139 Patterns for Customized Edgings'. 
It comes out this month (February 2017), priced at £13.99 for the hardback.

I am still not entirely certain how a blog tour works. Edie Eckmann herself will be blogging about the book here.

For my experience trying it out, read on below.


Before Christmas, when I got the pdf copy of the book, I was wrestling with hyperbolic crochet. Truly physical combat, attempting to crochet a pseudosphere from a reel of 0.5mm stainless steel wire.


While possible, it is bloody hard on the hands and once the whole 100m was crocheted, my wire looked more like a rat's nest than a thrilling exhibition of negative curvature. Having decided a long colour change yarn edging could be just the thing to highlight its structure, I dropped a heavy festive hint by emailing one of my brothers a link to Noro Silk Garden yarn. After Christmas, I settled down at the computer to read through 'Every Which Way Crochet Borders.'
The opening chapters are about choosing well, introducing concepts such as Form Follows Function - considering whether the main role of a given edging is to frame and stabilise an item or to enhance the look. For my crocheted wire, enhancement was the key, what was needed was a decorative continuation of the existing shape. 


Now in possession of two balls of variegated and textured Noro yarn, I did cringe inwardly on reading that a multicolour may confuse and muddy the design of an edging, a point well illustrated by nice big photo examples. Now I have a physical copy, I can tell you the book is solidly constructed with a spiral binding inside the cover. This means it looks smart while still staying open hands free. Whether flicking through pages or scrolling up and down a pdf copy, the thumbnail photos that form the directory of edgings at the back of the book are really helpful, as is a Table of Attributes. Using this table makes you analyse what you want from your crochet edging. I decided this project needed a reversible border of medium width, firm rather than lacey, so it would keep its shape and look good from all sides on my three dimensional piece, plus I fancied an undulating outer edge. An apparently overwhelming choice was quickly narrowed down to ten options within the table, from which I picked border number 125.


Edie advises a base round of double crochet - well she calls it single crochet, there is a table converting US to UK crochet terminology. The book includes all the nitty gritty of working out how many stitches to crochet along the sides, diagonal edges and round the corners of crocheted and knitted items - not for nothing is the book called 'Every Which Way'. My piece had one long outer edge, essentially a straight run, though frilled into apparent loops.
I found crocheting two wool stitches into every wire stitch looked about right and did indeed show off the hyperbolic curves. Making a decorative row on top was no problem in itself. Finding the wool peaks tended to curl up rather than act as a continuation of the structure, since washing and blocking wasn't an option, I crocheted the final round in 0.3mm stainless steel wire.
I hadn't chosen a complicated border and the written pattern and chart were both clear and simple to follow. The thinner wire was also considerably easier to work with than 0.5mm, still stiff enough to hold the wool in shape and I like to think finishing with wire rounded out the overall metallic effect.  


Just possibly, you are wondering whether this hyperbolic crochet creation has a purpose. It does. The glass shade on a bedside lamp had got broken and I thought its stem and leaf base suited an organic floral shaped replacement. My new lampshade throws organic shadows too.
Every Which Way Crochet Borders is a great resource book.  It offers not just 139 options, but the confidence to make informed choices among colours, yarns and edge designs. I feel inspired to look again at enhancing some plain items and try out some interesting new crochet stitches.

ISBN 9781612127408



2 comments:

  1. Interesting lamp cover! The book sounds very useful and easy enough to help a person make good decisions. Thanks, Helen

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    Replies
    1. Thanks. I've been using this book a lot. Suddenly everything needs a border. Very pleased to have it.

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