Amy Palanjian's So Pretty Crochet

I'm so excited to share with you a new crochet book from my friend Amy Palanjian.  If you've been in need of some yarn-y inspiration (or even if you haven't), you're going to want this book. 

As soon as I saw the cover, I knew I was going to love what was inside.  The gorgeous, feminine take on a traditional crocheted item, with its soft scalloping and the perfect addition of a simple lambskin bow is indicative of what's in store once you open the pages.  Each piece - by twelve different artists - is perfect in its intentionality.  And there's not a single afghan among them.  Though many of the creators were taught and inspired by mothers and grandmothers, the crochet projects featured are decidedly modern.

The innovation in this one category of craft speaks to our growing need to balance our modern, busy lives with physical handiwork.  More and more of us feel a deep need to make things with our hands in order to feel grounded in the rest of our lives.  It helps us to feel a sense of accomplishment - to calm our minds with deliberate (and often repetitive and soothing) work.  Considered this way, the act of sitting down to crochet a new necklace or a table runner is almost an act of self-preservation.  And increasingly, it's a way to show the world who we are and what we're capable of - on our own creative terms. 

Amy begins the book with a brief introduction to crochet, definitions of some of the basic terminology, and a quick run-down of the various options in yarn weight. And then she gets straight to the really good part.  From necklaces and wrist cuffs to nesting bowls and rag rugs, the pages are filled with stunning photographs and patterns that will make you want to pull out your crochet hook right. now. and start creating an accessory that will turn heads. 

But the book isn't all pretty pictures.  Amy shares a bit of the story behind each artist.  When you've picked a project and you're ready to sit down with a ball of yarn, you'll know who created that pattern, where she lives, and why she crochets.  In the blog world, we have always felt a connection to the creator of the patterns we love, but that has remained somewhat absent from traditional how-to books.  Thankfully So Pretty Crochet crosses the divide by providing insight into the artists' lives alongside instruction.  

One word of caution for the beginner crocheters out there - the book is not geared toward novices.  While Amy points readers to several websites and youtube videos that offer instruction, the patterns themselves require at least a basic familiarity with crocheting and handling a hook.  There are no step-by-step diagrams or mid-process photographs.  As someone who taught myself to crochet with a book, I always think it's good to start off the learning process by working through a bunch of the basic stitches so that you're not completely learning a new stitch each time you try to pick up a new pattern. 

So Pretty Crochet concludes with a section on where to source yarns, particularly if you're interested in organic or specialty yarns, which will be helpful for those who are looking for something more special than what their local Michaels carries. 

I'm guessing that once you finish the book, you'll be itching to go buy yourself some pretty skeins and start planning out a project. I know I've set my sights on one of the necklaces.  Or maybe that awesome braided bracelet. Or the flower headband. 

There are so many options, it's hard to choose. 

Amy has certainly put together a book that will make you excited to grab your crochet hook and make something so, so pretty.


*I was not paid for this review, but I did receive a complimentary copy of the book.