Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Review: Knit & Crochet Ponchos, Wraps, Capes & Shrugs!

Want to make a poncho or wrap with a bit a flair? Knit & Crochet Ponchos, Wraps, Capes & Shrugs! may have a project for you. Edited by Edie Eckman, this book has knit and crochet designs for ponchos, capelets, and scarves. As a bonus there are patterns for leggings and gauntlets to match one of the knit ponchos.

There are no introductory knitting or crochet instructions. The individual patterns contain instructions for any special stitches with closeup photos of the finished stitch. The glossary has some minimal stitch instructions. The introductory chapter covers yarn basics, checking your gauge, and blocking the finished garment.

The patterns are not assigned a difficulty rating. Some should be doable by anyone with basic knitting or crochet skills and others are more challenging. The pattern instructions are presented in a table format. The multi-size patterns have a column with the instructions plus a column for each size that contains the stitch counts. Finished measurements are given for all patterns.

The yarns used in the book are not brands that you will find at the chain stores, but it should be straightforward to identify appropriate substitute yarns for most of the patterns. Each pattern first describes the yarn in generic terms. For example, bulky-weight mohair-blend yarn or worsted-weight wool or wool blend. Then the specific brand name and color(s) used is given along with the weight and length per ball and the number of balls of yarn.

The "Electric Cowgirl" scarf is an eyecatcher knitted in Trendsetter Binario "ladder yarn". It has a self-fringe formed by unraveling stitches. I love the richness of the "Starlet Shrug", crocheted in worsted weight wool with a fuzzy collar. Crossed double crochet stitches create a thick, lush texture and the sample is made in red, my favorite color. Check this book out and see what you like.

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