03 March 2010

book review: comfort knitting & crochet afghans

Much like most artists, I've got quite the library of books. And even though I spend a considerable amount of time pushing them around trying to organize them into some kind of order, it doesn't stop me from getting new ones.

I know personally I rely heavily on reviews from fellow crafters and artists so I thought I would offer book reviews from time to time. These are based on nothing more then my personal opinion so take them as they are.

First up is Comfort Knitting & Crochet Afghans by Norah Gaughan, Margery Winter and the Berroco Design Team. This book caught my eye immediately because, well, I'm an afghan addict. Granted, I manage about one a year but I'm always on the lookout for good books on the subject. In all honesty, I'm often pretty disappointed because the patterns I've found in other books are often repeats or overly complicated or just plain unattractive.

Not so with this book.

They promise "More then 50 beautiful, affordable designs featuring Berroco's Comfort Yarn" and they deliver.

One of my biggest pet peeves with many knitting crochet books is that they will promise you X amount of designs but you quickly realize that they have simply changed color schemes and called it a new design. Sort of leaves you feeling like you've been lied to. But this book means it.

There are 52 designs and each one is different. And crochet gets equal play time with knitting, its a good even split which I appreciated.

The designs range from simple and comforting to more elaborate. Several of the designs incorporate embroidery on top of the completed afghan and I found this fascinating. Its a design element that I never considered before and it opens up a lot of possibilities for adding complexity to your work without having to actually knit or crochet it in as you go.

Probably one of the biggest things I like about this book is the fact that the yarn is affordable. Berroco Comfort yarn is about $5.60 for a little over 200 yards. The content may not be for everyone (its a blend of super fine acrylic and nylon) but it is incredibly soft and the fact that is machine washable and dry able is a big attraction for blanket making. I've personally used in a couple projects and I have to say that the softness of it is definitely hard to beat.

All in all I really like this book. Out of the 52 patterns, there are only seven that I wouldn't make. That's a big deal since I'd long ago resigned myself to pattern books that only contain three or four patterns I would actually complete.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys making afghans, I think these authors have produced a refreshing collection of patterns that both knitters and crocheters can enjoy.

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