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Lovers of granny squares can probably never have too many books, but what about 100 Colorful Granny Squares to Crochet: Dozens of Mix and Match Combos and Fabulous Projects makes it stand out in a sea of books about granny squares?
Leonie Morgan‘s debut book has the joyful and inviting colors that readers of her blog, Wool n Hook, have come to expect. From the cover until the appendix, you will be seeing nothing but bright and beautiful eye candy. This book is truly a celebration of granny squares.
100 Colorful Granny Squares to Crochet opens with a welcoming forward from Leonie, following by a graphic “About This Book” that visually highlights features you can find within each design and in the Tools and Techniques chapter.
The Tools and Techniques chapter opens with an overview of materials and notions and then moves on to written and illustrated instructions for forming the basic crochet stitches. The illustrations are in color (rather than outline drawings), and include directional arrows to help you understand the motions. This section also includes additional stitches and techniques such as clusters, puffs, post stitches, popcorns, spike stitches, decreasing, working in rounds, and the magic loop. There is also a fair amount of information about putting your project together, including joins, dealing with ends, and embellishments with surface crochet. Next, there is a brief explanation of reading patterns and charts and gauge.
And for those of us who aren’t as gifted with color combinations as Leonie, she includes a section on working with colors. In addition to a color wheel (which you’d expect to find in a the color section in a book about granny squares), Leonie also shares combinations – with yarn, rather than with with illustrations – that work well together, like cools, warms, pastels, brights, statement colors, and what she describes as a personal palette (built around your favorite color). This section, while only 2 pages long, provides a great explanation with visuals for the color timid crocheters out there.
Leonie also provides some explanation of how to plan a project, including estimating yarn quantities, and finishing, including blocking, seaming, and patterns for 8 edgings (7 beginner level and 1 intermediate level). The finishing section includes a combination of illustrations and process photos along with explanatory text. Leonie briefly reviews additional embellishments, such as cross stitch, embroidery, applique, beads, ribbons, and surface crochet. The Tools and Techniques chapter ends with a page on caring for your projects, including an explanation of those international care symbols that always confuse me.
The rest of the book is made up of the patterns. The first thing I’d like to report is that there are actually 100 designs. (How many of us have bought books saying there are a large number of motif patterns, only to discover that half or more are mere color variations?) Most patterns are shown in at least 2 color variations. Each pattern includes a skill difficulty level, an explanation of any special stitches, and both US pattern abbreviations and an international stitch symbol chart. My favorite feature of Leonie’s patterns in this section is that she includes the yardage/meterage for each color in a given motif, and a chart which estimates yardage/meterage in each color for baby, lap, and bed sized throws made with the motif within each pattern. Yarn requirements are estimated using a H (5 mm) crochet hook and medium weight yarn and assumes a baby blanket is 36 in (91 cm) square, a lap throw is 52 in (137 cm) x 42 in (107 cm), and a bedspread is 85 in (216 cm) x 66 in (168 cm).
Overall, the motif patterns break down this way:
- 52 beginner patterns,
- 35 intermediate patterns, and
- 13 experienced patterns (called advanced in the book).
- 65 in the round,
- 25 in rows, and
- 10 combining in the round and rows.
The book also includes details for 5 completed projects made with motifs (2 blankets, 2 pillow covers, and 1 bag). It ends with a thorough index, including one that lists the colors of Cascade 220 used for each sample motif.
Now back to my original question: What makes 100 Colorful Granny Squares to Crochet stand out from the other granny square books? The best features of this book are the sections on color, project planning, finishing, and embellishments in the Tools and Techniques chapter, the large quantity of motif patterns, the fact that patterns are written with both abbreviations and stitch symbols, and the estimation of yardage requirements. These are really the elements that make this book stand out from the crowd. And, of course, a true granny lover can probably never have enough motif patterns to experiment with!
What’s missing from this book? As a paperback, it doesn’t really lay flat, so it will be hard to read and crochet at the same time. A true beginner may find the illustrations aren’t enough to teach them to crochet. And someone with a large granny square pattern collection will find some familiar classics included. I believe the advantages to this book far outweigh the missing pieces, and I would recommend it to advanced beginner through intermediate crocheters, granny square lovers, and those who need help estimating yarn for their projects.