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Today I’m sharing my review of 75 Floral Blocks to Crochet: Beautiful Patterns to Mix and Match for Afghans, Throws, Baby Blankets, and More by bestselling British needlecrafts author Betty Barnden. St. Martin’s Press generously provided me with two copies of this collection of crochet motifs inspired by flowers, so I can keep my review copy and host a giveaway!
In the introduction, Betty explains that her love of gardening inspired her to create floral blocks. Some of the patterns are modifications of traditional motif patterns with abstract floral influences, while others are complex designs that attempt to literally capture the look of different flowers. The book features motifs of different shapes (circles, diamonds, hexagons, squares, and triangles), but blocks of the same shape are made the same size so they can be easily combined. The samples in the book are made with DK (sport weight) yarn and a size E crochet hook and measure between 5-6 inches.
The book starts with a 20-page section called Useful Techniques. This includes a review of yarn and hooks, an overview of US pattern abbreviations and stitch symbols (including a thorough explanation of the significance of different arrangements of symbols and tips for reading charts in the round or in rows), tips for making stunning motifs (including techniques for invisible finishes, weaving in ends, and starting in the round), and a chart that explains the care symbols on yarn ball bands. There are also tips for arranging blocks, blocking, joining motifs, and planning block projects. The section on edgings includes tips for working around the sides and corners as well as 6 patterns for edgings.
The next section is a 20-page Directory of Blocks which includes a photograph of each block, arranged thematically by color/garden inspiration. Each block includes the pattern name and page number where the pattern appears.
The Instructions section is the meat of the book, and includes instructions for 78 motif patterns arranged by shape. Each pattern includes the difficulty level and the method of construction, a large photo, and a pattern written with US pattern abbreviations and stitch symbols. There is a key to stitch symbols at the beginning of each pattern, making this a great book for those new to stitch symbols.
The pattern breakdown for the 78 motifs is:
Motif types: 13 triangles, 26 squares, 6 diamonds, 20 hexagons, and 13 circles.
Skill levels: 33 Easy projects, 34 Intermediate projects, and 11 advanced projects.
Construction methods: 64 in rounds, 4 in rows, 1 diagonally, 2 decreasing in rows, and 7 combining two construction methods.
The final section, Projects, includes assembly instructions for four projects made with the motif patterns from the book: a hexagon throw; lined, frame purses using different shaped blocks; a cushion made from squares; and a triangle motif scarf.
75 Floral Blocks to Crochet includes blocks in a variety of shapes. In spite of the floral inspiration, many are abstract enough to make unisex designs with different color choices. The book is the only major compendium of motif patterns I’ve seen that includes blocks constructed in decreasing rows or diagonally. The use of both written abbreviations and stitch symbols, the range of skill levels included in the patterns, and the technique tips shared makes this book a great choice for a broad range of crocheters. This book would appeal to crocheters who love motifs or portable projects, those who want to learn to read stitch symbols, and crocheters who enjoy working with color.
I give this book 5 out of 5 stars for crocheters who love to make motif projects. But the rating is because this book is much more than just a pattern book. The tips for reading stitch symbols and for making successful motif projects are very helpful.
Full disclosure: Two free review/giveaway copies of this book were 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.
As I mentioned earlier, St. Martin’s Press has shared an additional giveaway copy of 75 Floral Blocks to Crochet, which is good for you all since I already planned to keep my review copy. (So far, I’ve made 4 motifs from this book. You can see them here, here, here, and here.)
This giveaway is open to all readers with a U.S. address. (Sorry international readers, but postage costs are just too high for me right now!) Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Monday, January 21, 2013.