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I’m excited to be a stop on Sarah London’s blog tour for her new book, Granny Square Love: A New Twist on a Crochet Classic for Your Home. Keep reading for an interview with Sarah, a review of her book, a promo code which allows you to save $10 off the retail price of the book, and a giveaway inspired by the book!
Sarah London is a crochet designer, teacher, and author living in Australia. She has a large body of self-published work, and has also been published in Inside Crochet (UK) and Flow Vakantieboek (Dutch). You can find Sarah on her blog, her Ravelry designer page, her Twitter page, or on Flickr. (In particular, I love the vibrant pictures in her Granny Squares, Wool Eater Blanket, iCrochet, and A Granny a Day sets.) All photos in this post used with the permission of Sarah and her publisher, North Lights Books/F+W Media.
Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first learn to crochet?
Sarah: My Grandmother taught me to crochet, I began with granny squares made from scraps of yarn and then progressed to crocheted roses. (UC comment: It seems that Sarah’s grandmother encouraged more advanced projects than mine :). I made nothing but scarves worked in rows for the first several years after my grandmother taught me to crochet!)
UC: What inspired you to start designing?
Sarah: I love color and I love yarn. Crochet was the perfect medium to combine the two and hence my design journey began.
UC: I’ve just read through Granny Square Love. Your grandmother, like mine, inspired your love of the granny square. What about this motif appeals to you as a designer/author?
Sarah: I love, love, love granny squares! I love the rhythmic construction of each square and the opportunity within each square to create a kaleidoscope of color.
UC: Crocheters and granny squares (and granny square home decor items) sometimes get a bad rap. When you’re designing with granny squares, do you feel any additional pressure to break those stereotypes?
Sarah: Granny squares are trending at the moment, we are seeing them on international catwalks and as a result the trend is filtering into our homes. As with all trends it either appeals to you or it doesn’t. I don’t set out to break stereotypes, I would like to think though that perhaps someone may take a second glance and embrace the trend and be inspired through my dispersion of color when they would otherwise maybe not. (UC comment: Like Sarah, I’ve been so excited to see one of my favorite crochet motifs reinterpreted on catwalks in recent years! Sarah’s amazing eye for color really does show the granny square in a lovely light.)
UC: What was the design process like for Granny Square Love?
Sarah: I basically flowed through each room of my home with a hook in my hand. Cascade Yarns generously donated all the yarn for my book. Once the huge shipment of yarn arrived on my doorstep, the hooking began. Abbreviated notes were scribbled down throughout the construction of each project. Once I completed each project then I would write up the pattern. Once that process was complete then it was time for the photography. I shot all of the photography for Granny Square Love with the help of my daughter Emma. Bless her heart, she had the tedious task of holding the gray card for each of the shots and there were many! All in all it was an amazing process, especially considering that my publisher and I were on different continents!
UC: What is your favorite crochet book in your collection (besides yours of course)?
Sarah: I don’t have an absolute favorite, but my most treasured are those that my Grandmother has generously passed on to me.
UC: Do you have any favorite crochet/craft blogs or websites that you’d like to share?
Thanks so much, Sarah, for stopping by for an interview, and for introducing me to the Crochet Poet’s Pattern Collection. I’m amazed by the sheer quantity of patterns posted there!
Blog Tour Schedule
Don’t forget to stop by and check out the other stops on the Granny Square Love Blog Tour!
September 26 Sarah London’s Blog
September 27 Crochet Concupiscence
September 28 Knit Purl Gurl
September 29 Underground Crafter
September 30 Interlocking Crochet
October 1 Crochet Mama’s Blog
October 3 Crafty Pod
October 4 Lindamade
October 5 Cute Crochet Chat
October 6 Crochet Liberation Front
October 7 Create Loves
October 8 Whip Up
I received a PDF review copy of Crochet Granny Squares from F+W Media as part of this blog tour. I can’t address how the book is printed or bound, so my review will focus on the content and overall appearance of the book.
Granny Square Love includes many elements of Sarah’s signature style – vibrant colors, fun photography, and, of course, grannies! The book is organized into six chapters.
Getting Started is a beginners introduction to crocheting and granny squares. This section includes a brief overview of materials and multi-color illustrations of the basic crochet stitches. I found these illustrations to be larger and clearer than most. There are three pages of step-by-step photos of the process of making a granny square. Finally, this section includes an overview of patterns and addresses both abbreviations and stitch symbols. (The actual abbreviations and stitch symbols are explained in the reference section in the back of the book.)
The next five sections feature projects focused on different rooms in the house. Each pattern is presented using both U.S. abbreviations and stitch symbols.
The Living Room includes cushions in two sizes, an ottoman slipcover, a sofa blanket, the holiday stockings, and the lampshade cover, which is one of my favorite projects in the book.
The Kitchen includes patterns for the stool cover, the dishcloth, potholders, a grocer’s tote, and an apron pocket.
The Dining Room features a tablecloth trim, placemats, napkin holders, a circular garland, and a tea cozy.
The Bedroom includes a decorated headboard, bedsheet trim, a bedroom blanket, a hot water bottle cover, and the striking black and white bold bedroom cushion.
The Bathroom and Laundry includes patterns for coat hangers, a curtain, a bathmat, and towel trim.
The book closes with some reference information, including hook sizes, a yarn comparison chart, and a guide to pattern abbreviations and stitch symbols.
What I like about this book:
- Sarah includes “Color Commentary” throughout the book. She is known for her use of vibrant colors, and shares some insight into her pairings of different colors.
- The patterns includes both stitch symbols and abbreviations.
- The photographs are great “eye candy” and Granny Square Love is a fun book to look through. It will definitely get your creative juices flowing.
- The book is very beginner friendly. The illustrations are quite clear and the step-by-step photographs of the granny square in progress are very helpful.
- The patterns are well organized, so it would be easy to find one you liked later.
What I don’t like about this book (or what’s missing):
- The information on pattern reading is largely in the back in the reference section. The book seems targeted to beginners, and they might prefer to see this information before the patterns start.
- The patterns are limited to home decor projects featuring granny squares or similar motifs, so there isn’t a tremendous variety.
Overall, I think the book would be an excellent addition to the personal library of a crochet beginner. It could also be great for someone who is a more experienced crocheter but is timid about using bold colors. More experienced crocheters with a strong color sense are not the target audience of this book at all. I give the book 4 out of 5 stars for beginners or crocheters who are afraid of colors. Even if you don’t make all of the projects, it is presented in a lovely, visual fashion.
Full disclosure: A free electronic review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. Although I accept free books for review, I do not accept additional compensation from the publisher, nor do I guarantee a positive review. My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions. This also post contains affiliate links. You can read my affiliate and review disclosures here.
Promo Code Get Granny Square Love now for just $12.99 ($10 off the retail price!) Visit the Martha Pullen Online Store and use promo code GRANNYTOUR to get your exclusive price. (Offer expires October 8, 2011 at 11:59 PM EST. Special Price in US Dollars, for items that are “in stock” only.)
Granny Square Love Inspired Giveaway To get you started on your next granny square project inspired by Granny Square Love, I’m giving away a granny square supply kit including three crochet hooks (G, H, and K sizes), a set of yarn needles, and a gauge ruler.