I’m continuing my celebration of National Crochet Month with a review of a new book by one of my favorite crochet personalities, Stacey Trock. (You can find my interview with Stacey here, as part of her blog tour for Crocheted Softies: 18 Adorable Animals from around the World, and a mini interview here, as part of last year’s NatCroMo festivities.)
Modern Baby Crochet: Patterns for Decorating, Playing, and Snuggling by Stacey Trock is a book of patterns featuring contemporary colors and designs for baby decor.
Stacey opens the book with an Introduction that explains her approach.
I focused on the hub of baby life: the nursery. I wanted to create a book of baby designs that would suit any modern nursery, whimsical and adorable, both with a chic twist.
She moves on to the Getting Started section. Here, Stacey explores how to choose an appropriate yarn for a baby project, how to properly measure gauge (and why you should), finding the right crochet hook for you, and the other supplies needed for projects in this book. In this section, she introduces several inset boxes with tips that are featured throughout the book.
The next section, Anatomy of a Stitch, identifies the major components of crochet stitches (front and back loop and post) with illustrations and swatches showing the different looks created when you crochet into different parts of the stitch. The Crochet Stitches section includes written and illustrated instructions for the slip knot, chain, slip stitch, single crochet, double crochet, front and back post double crochet, and several decreases. Stacey also includes her instructions for a bobble that doesn’t leave a hole in the crochet fabric.
The Additional Techniques section includes written and illustrated instructions for several other important techniques used in the patterns: changing colors, working in the round, surface crochet, finishing off, weaving in ends, and 3 different assembling methods.
The book then moves onto the patterns, which are organized into color themes: Bold and Bright, Pretty In Pastel, and Naturally Neutral. Each theme includes 5-7 patterns.
The book includes 21 patterns in total.
- Skill level: 3 beginner, 13 easy, 4 intermediate, 1 experienced.
- Project types: 7 blankets, 4 toys, 3 pillows, 2 floor mats/rugs, 2 mobiles, and 1 pouf, 1 bunting, and 1 set of bookends.
The patterns are clearly written and include explicit assembly instructions, including how to stuff and join toys and how to line rugs and mats. My favorite patterns are the Mondrian-Inspired Afghan, the Funky Argyle Afghan, the Asymmetrical Circles Blanket, and the Colorful Wiggle Pillow.
The next section, Finishing and Care, thoroughly explains the advantages of blocking, and provides instructions on how and when in the project’s life it should be blocked. (This section is also referred to in the instructions for any pattern that is meant to be blocked.) It also discusses appropriate cleaning of the various project types in the book. Useful Information includes a chart of standard yarn weights, skill level descriptions, and metric conversions. Abbreviations and Glossary provides a list of the US crochet abbreviation terminology used in the book and a list of links to resources including yarns, hooks, and notions used in the various projects. The book ends with acknowledgements and more information about Stacey.
The book includes only US pattern abbreviations with no stitch symbols. I reviewed an e-reader preview of the book, but it is available in paperback, too. It focuses on illustrations rather than photo tutorials for explaining stitches and other techniques, which some crocheters may find harder to follow.
Overall, I think Stacey achieved her goal of creating patterns that would provide contemporary and whimsical feel for a nursery. Many of the patterns can be used in other settings, as well. Most of the patterns are simple enough for an advanced beginner, and the detailed instructions would help a patient beginner to work through the more complex patterns. Many of the projects would interest more advanced crocheters as well. However, as with all pattern collections, your enjoyment will be based on whether you can find enough patterns to suit your style. Ravelry members can see all of the patterns on the book’s source page, here, and Stacey also has a video trailer of the projects available here.
I would give the book 4 out of 5 stars for a crocheter who enjoys making projects for baby, or crocheters who are looking for home decor projects in contemporary colors.