I recently went on a rampage and bought a whole bunch of beautiful crochet and knit books for my viewing pleasure. Some of these books, I must say, were much better than others. Because I care about all of my internet friends, I will let everyone in on these books, and what is in them.
(in no particular order)
1. Hip to Crochet, By Judith L. Swartz
The first time I looked through this book, I thought I would vomit. I complained to Brandon copiously about my error in buying a book without looking at it first. However, upon re-looking a couple of times, I have found quite a few things worth making.
good projects: cute mohair hats (but very basic, nothing really special), a nice cloche hat, a felted messenger-style bag (would be cute if you customized colors, or did some intarsia on the flap to make it interesting), tank top made of ribbon yarn (basic style), lacey cardigan with granny squares (done tastefully! I normally hate granny square things, but this is pretty), a granny square skirt (not for everyone, but it could be really cute on the right person), coat sweater (picture shows it with a big granny square in the back, but you could just as easily make the back solid), nesting baskets (set of three, I'm making these for my cousin as a wedding present), neat looking pillow cover with popcorn stitch bumps, granny square style pillow cover (done in nice looking metallicy/rich colored yarn, makes it look more exotic than usual).
Bad projects (when they are bad, they are really bad.): mittens with horrible fringe on them, "retro bed slippers" (these are really pretty ugly, and there are lots of nice looking slipper patterns out there), THE CROCHETED SUIT! (yes, a skirt suit made of yarn...and it is terrible. This is what originally made me think this book was so bad, it temporarily blinded me to any good things), "organic baskets"- maybe this sounded like a good idea to them, sort of arty or something, but they look like you were trying to make a normal basket, but you just sucked really bad at it.
in the interest of full disclosure, there were some things that weren't listed in either the good or bad categories, because they were bland, and not very cool, but they weren't terrible. There are a couple of scarves, two small bags (not practical for me at all, I like them big and glorious), and a totally average capelet thing.
Over all rating: B (would have been A-, except for that suit thing. Trust me.)
2. Hooked on Crochet (20 Sassy Projects), by Candi Jensen
The biggest problem with this book is that its so dang average. Most of the stuff is not horrible, but hardly any of it was really great, either. If you only have, like, one other book, and it is all afghans, then this would probably be nice for you. Also, most things are either beginner, or expert, not a lot of things for the medium proficiency crocheter.
good projects: nice lacy sleeveless shell, baby sweater, cute openwork dress, Chanel style jacket, lacy openwork skirt, diamond square pillow.
There is also a bikini, a shawl, a bunch of hats and scarves (nothing to write home about), and a couple of basic bags. I guess the thing I really don't like about this book is that half of the book is about stupid decorative edgings...I hate jeans with little granny squares sewn on, or shirts that looked nice until someone crochets a weird lacy bell sleeve onto it....If you like those sorts of things, you may be six years old. You also may like this book. I don't know.
Overall rating:B good if you like that sort of thing, but really not for everyone.
3. Crocheting School (a Complete Course), Sterling Publishing
This book is a little different, it doesn't have patterns or anything, it has instructions on techniques. It is really pretty good for intermediate or advanced crocheters who want to learn more obscure things, or are into designing their own stuff. This book won't help you all that much if you only work from patterns. It has hairpin lace, Irish lace, Tunisian crochet (lots of cool techniques with this), borders, Belgian lace, two-color jacquard, broomstick lace, cords, inserts, loom patterns, crocheted ribbons, interlocking rings, and a whole ton more. There are really nice pictures of everything, and there is no space wasted with fluff in this book. It is very straight-forward.
I showed it to my mom, and she forced me to buy one for her too...
Overall rating: A....Even if you are a beginner, if you ever plan on being intermediate or advanced, this would be a good book for future reference or daydreaming...
Ok...I am sick of typing, so tomorrow I will review more books.