Have you ever seen high-end luxury designer bags that were made using a combination of crocheted fabric and other materials such as leather straps, metal rings and fabric linings? If you have, perhaps you’ve also puzzled over how to create these amazing statement pieces for yourself. I know I have.
While I’d be interested in owning such fantastic accessories, I’m certainly not interested in spending thousands of dollars to buy them. Not when I know how to crochet! But on the other hand, I’ve never actually made the luxury bag of my dreams; combining crochet with leather bits seemed like a daunting task — until now.
I just picked up a copy of Crochetterie: Cool Contemporary Crochet for the Creatively Minded by Molla Mills. Molla combines crocheted fabrics with other materials like leather to create sophisticated bags and other mixed media projects — and this is something she teaches us how to do in her book.
Crochetterie includes instructions for bunches of different types of craft projects, with quite a few interesting bags and packs among them. You’ll learn lots of different techniques from this book, including how to make crocheted bags with sturdy leather bottoms, how to attach leather straps and pieces to your crochet projects, and how to add zippers to your works-in-progress to finish them professionally.
Molla is a Finnish crochet enthusiast who decided she wanted to write a crochet instruction book that would appeal to guys — and that is exactly what Crochetterie ended up being. Not only is it a guy-friendly crochet instruction manual, it’s also a pattern book featuring bunches of patterns for unisex projects that guys would be likely to use. Whether you’re a guy who crochets, a guy who wants to learn how to crochet, a lady who wants to crochet something cool for a man, or a girl who enjoys wearing androgynous clothing and accessories, this book is worth your consideration.
Since Finland is the setting of this book, and it’s packed with scenic photographs that show the Finnish landscape, the book also has an interesting undercurrent that is likely to appeal to avid travelers and armchair travelers.
What You Need to Know About This Crochet Book:
Publisher: Quarto Books / Jacqui Small, LLP, London
Copyright Date: This book was originally published in 2015 with a title of Virkurri 3. It was translated into the English language by Mirette El Rafie, and the English translation is brand new for 2016.
ISBN 13: 978-1-910254-89-9
Book Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 271
Cover Price: $29.99 US dollars / $38.99 Canadian dollars /
£20.00. Yes, this is expensive for a crochet book, but please don’t hit the back button yet. First of all, you can get this book at a discounted price on Amazon. Second, even at full price, this reviewer thinks the book offers you an outstanding value for the money you spend on it. Once you understand what you’ll be getting in exchange for the money, I think you’re likely to be interested in owning your own copy, assuming of course that this book offers the type of crochet projects you’re looking for.
Skill Level: This is a beginner-friendly crochet manual featuring step-by-step photo tutorials of the techniques used for making each of the projects. The book includes multiple crochet projects that are suitable for beginners plus bunches more that are suitable for intermediate and experienced crocheters.
This Book’s Contents:
The book is organized into several sections grouped by project type or type of tutorial:
- Home — This section of the book includes home décor projects like rugs, a cushion and a basket.
- Clothes — If I had been in charge of naming this section of the book, I would have called it “Clothes and accessories” instead of just “Clothes”. The accessories significantly outnumber the garments. There is a man’s sweater pattern (AKA “jumper” in British English) that the author also adapted into a more feminine version for little girls.
- Travels — This section of the book is filled with projects that will be of best use to you when you’re on-the-go such as various crochet bags, a can carrier and a passport holder.
- Equipment — This section includes a miscellaneous grouping of projects including a cute children’s game, a travel mirror, a utility strap and more.
- Basic Instructions — This section of the book is filled with step-by-step crochet instructions and tutorials for the basic crochet stitches and the techniques you’ll use for making the projects. If you want to learn how to crochet, this section of the book is a good starting point. You can use this section of the book along with the photo tutorials featured with the projects. Taken together, these resources give you a fantastic crochet instruction manual that can take you from complete beginner and give you the info you need to build your skills to an advanced level.
- Maintenance — This section of the book is a fun and unexpected bonus. It includes instructions for how to make a crochet hook, accompanied by some amazing and fascinating pictures of the whittling process the book’s author and her father use for making crochet hooks out of wood. If you’ve ever wanted to make your own crochet hook or learn how to whittle, you really should grab a copy of this book for info and inspiration.
Another article included in this section of the book is “Crocheter’s Stretching”. The pictures in this book are scenic and interesting, with the Finnish forest as a backdrop in some and a cliff overlooking the sea as a backdrop in others.
- Carry Cushion — This is a tapestry crochet pillow crocheted in two yarn colors from a chart. The pillow includes a zipper and a leather handle for carrying; a photo tutorial shows you how to complete these details.
- Jute Storage Basket — The pattern for this project includes a step-by-step photo tutorial.
- Log Carrier — If you enjoy toasting marshmallows over a campfire or you have a fireplace at home, this log carrier could come in handy. The pattern for this project includes a step-by-step photo tutorial.
- Jetty Rug — This project is a variation of the log carrier, only the end result is a stylish rug.
- Chequered Rug — This is a charted pattern worked using double crochet stitches and the tapestry crochet technique.
- Pattern Rug — Here’s another charted pattern worked in tapestry crochet with double crochet stitches.
- Poster: “Do Epic Shit” — Yet another tapestry crochet project, but this one has an unmistakable message.
- Speaker Slipcase — This three-color tapestry crochet pattern is worked from a chart. There’s a photo tutorial included for showing you how to finish the project.
- Band Poster — This is a charted design featuring the logo of a Finnish band you’ve likely never heard of if you’re a North American crafter. You could adapt this idea and make a similar poster for your own favorite band, however. Molla teaches you how to do pixel crochet, so once you’re onto this idea you can adapt it however you want to.
- Wayfarer’s Jumper (Sweater) — This is a striped man’s sweater with a leather pocket. The author’s project description made me smile. She wrote, “This crocheted jumper of coarse Icelandic wool is so manly you can imagine it smoking a pipe in the wardrobe all by its lonesome”. HAHAHAHAhahahaha!
This pattern includes multiple close-up pictures showing you the details of how to crochet this project.
- Anchor Pocket — This small crocheted pocket could adorn a striped or plain t-shirt for a nautical touch.
- Fingerless Mittens — The suggested yarn for this project is Madeleine Tosh sock yarn, a yarn that crocheters in the USA might recognize. The pattern includes a photo tutorial to show you the details.
- Neck Warmer — This is a tapestry crochet pattern worked from a chart to create a two-color chevron design. The neck warmer is finished with a zipper.
- Bow Tie — This easy project includes a photo tutorial to show you how to do the finishing.
- Slippers — There are slipper patterns included for men, women and children. These instructions include a photo tutorial to show you the details.
- Bowler Hat — This hat is shown in several different spots in the book, make up in different materials and being worn by different people. The pattern instructions call for raffia yarn, but it looks as if you could make it in other materials for variations on this look. Multiple close-up pictures are included in the pattern to show you the details.
- T-Shirt Scarf — This is the sewing project mentioned in the book. It teaches you how to upcycle a band t-shirt.
- Passport Bag — The crochet work here is super simple; the bag is finished with a zipper, which is the most complicated part of the whole design — but you get a photo tutorial and instructions telling you how to do it.
- Bike Bag — This is a sophisticated looking bag that’s super simple to crochet. Multiple close-up pictures show you how to finish the project.
- Toiletry Bag — This is a two-color pattern with a tapestry crochet chart that looks like brick work. You’ll learn how to create a fabric lining for the bag using the included instructions and photo tutorial.
- Anchor Bag — The anchor for this bag is actually a crocheted appliqué that’s attached to a fabric bag you can make using these instructions. It’s kind of like getting two projects in one, because you could use either the anchor or the bag designs separately.
- Can Carrier — Whether you’re carrying sodas to a picnic or headed to the beer garden, you’ll be able to carry your beverages in style.
- Folk Bag — This is a charted tapestry crochet design worked in two colors. You can finish this bag using leather for the base and webbed cotton straps. A photo tutorial gives you helpful insights for completing the project.
- Lumberjack’s Backpack — This guy-friendly pack features a checkered crochet fabric for the body plus leather straps, a fabric base and metal rings as accents. The body of the bag is worked in the tapestry crochet technique, and the finishing requires some sewing and hole-punching. A photo tutorial and multiple large photos give you the visual insights you’ll need for success with this project.
- Yarn Chain — This is intended for use as a key chain, but there are lots of other things you could do with it. It’s a beginner-friendly project that includes a photo tutorial to show you the important details.
- Utility Strap — This is another multi-purpose project. The sample strap in the book is being used as a rope for carrying a skateboard. This is an ideal beginner’s project, and it’s accompanied by a photo tutorial showing you exactly how to crochet it.
- Football Bag — This mesh bag goes to show you that filet crochet mesh doesn’t have to be dainty and feminine. Athletes can use it for all kinds of purposes, including carrying their balls, helmet, skateboard or other gear around. This bag caught my husband’s eye, and he asked me to make him a variation of this design.
- Bunting — This is not what antique crochet books refer to as a baby bunting, but rather it’s sort of like what we Americans would refer to as banners or a garland. The author envisions this pattern being used for yarn bombing, but I think it would be even better to use it for party or wedding decorations.
- Travel Mirror — If you have high school students in your household, this would be cute design for them to use as a locker mirror. Whether you use it for travel or at school, work or home, multiple pictures show you how to finish the mirror.
- Yoga Mat Bag — This bag is made using two yarn colors, a chart and the tapestry crochet technique. The design resembles pine trees arranged in an interesting repeating pattern. Fabric and leather details complete the project. Multiple pictures show you how to finish the project.
- Child’s Bee Game — I want to make this adorable game for my daughter, and you’re likely to want to make it for the kids you love too. The game consists of a crocheted beehive, bunches of crocheted bees, and a slingshot that your little ones can use for launching the bees into the hive — pretty cute stuff.
- We’ve included this book on our list of best crochet books for beginners. Click here to see the entire list.
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Crochet Projects Included in This Book:
All together I counted 30 crochet projects in this book plus one sewing project and the aforementioned whittled crochet hooks project. Here’s a list of the projects you’ll find in this book:
The Best Things About This Book
If you don’t know how to crochet yet, you could buy just this one book, and it will give you both the instructions and patterns you need to get started with crochet.
Crochetterie has a feeling of authenticity that many competing crochet books lack. The people you see on the pages of the book are not professional models. They’re the author of the book Molla, her father, her brother, her acquaintances and other ordinary people. They’re wearing and using her projects to do things like chopping firewood, hanging out at the park, skateboarding or organizing their workspaces.
The book shows people of both genders wearing crochet projects, using crochet projects and working on making crochet projects.
Looking at this book, it occurs to me that most crochet pattern books follow a formula in the same sort of way that other books like romance novels and murder mysteries do. This book manages to both break away from the standard crochet pattern book formula in places and follow the formula in others.
Crochetterie gives you pretty much everything you’d expect from a crochet pattern book, including charts, project photos, materials lists and crochet stitch tutorials.
It also gives you things you wouldn’t expect from a crochet book, including little glimpses of what life in Finland is like. If a craft book and travel magazine could get married and have children, this is one ultra-cool example of what the kids might look like — but honestly, I don’t know of any other crochet pattern book like this one.
Where this book breaks away from the usual crochet pattern book formula most noticeably: the majority of crochet pattern books are written with the underlying assumption that their readers will be female. While this has largely been a true assumption as of late 2016 — the majority of crochet pattern buyers are women — it is also possible that men might want to buy crochet books if more overtly masculine books were to become available for them to buy. It’s refreshing to see a book that breaks ground in challenging the old assumption and making guy-friendly patterns available.
This author isn’t afraid to combine materials like leather, metal rings, yarn and / or twine in the same project. She doesn’t shy away from sewing zippers or linings, and she shares detailed instructions for all her finishing techniques with her readers. Authors of other competing crochet books sometimes steer clear of utilizing complicated finishing techniques; some utilize them in their project samples but don’t share detailed instructions for how to achieve the same results. So it’s significant that these details are freely shared in this book. This is another strong selling point for this book over others.
These patterns include both UK and USA terms right in the text of the pattern — so you’re covered no matter which side of the pond you call home.
The instructions include not only a materials list, but in many cases they also include a picture of the supplies and tools you need for completing your projects. This is an extremely helpful feature that both new and experienced crocheters are likely to appreciate. Many competing craft books are lacking this, and it’s one more thing that sets Crochetterie apart from a sea of other crochet books.
The photo tutorials in this book show how the work looks when an experienced crocheter is holding the crochet hook and project sample in her hands as she’s working on it. This is in contrast to tutorials in some other crochet books where the photos show the work in progress placed on a flat surface; some others use illustrations instead of actual photographs. I think it’s most helpful to see tutorials presented in the way they’re photographed for this book — which is yet another selling point for this book over some of the others out there.
The charts in the book are useful, versatile and endlessly adaptable. You can use them to make other sorts of projects besides the ones specified in the book. These designs would make nice blankets, for example.
Things to Be Aware of Before You Buy This Book
As mentioned above, this book was translated into the English language. The English version of Crochetterie is written in British English. The American crochet enthusiasts I know do not write or talk quite like this when discussing their craft, and some American crafters may find the language used in the book intriguing, confusing or a bit quirky by turns.
To give one example, Molla uses the word “pillar” to describe what I’d call a “double crochet stitch,” presumably a double crochet worked using the tapestry crochet technique.
I think the instructions in the book are usable and helpful despite the quirks; and studying the phrasing used in this book might just expand your horizons to allow you to more easily communicate with the European crafters you’ll meet online at social networks like Ravelry or in person.
Yarn quantities, when present, are expressed in meters rather than yards — so American crocheters may have to do a bit of math if they want to know the yarn yardage requirements for any given project.
American crocheters will likely have difficulty locating some of the suggested yarns used for making the projects presented in this book — but if you want this book otherwise, I hope you wouldn’t let that stop you from adding it to your library. Yarn substitution is really not that difficult once you understand the basics of how various fibers behave. If you haven’t already become confident in your ability to substitute yarns, I suggest picking up a reference such as the Interweave Press workshop on yarn substitution to get you up to speed.
If you’ve decided that crochet is the exclusive domain of gray-haired ladies, or that the only valid crochet projects are blankets, baby layettes, mittens, hats, scarves and granny squares, this book will hopefully challenge your thinking and inspire you to discover new possibilities. But if this is your attitude and you have no desire to change your way of thinking, Crochetterie is probably not a book you would enjoy.
This is a unique crochet book with many interesting characteristics that make it a worthwhile purchase. It’s rare to find crochet books that appeal to guys the way this one does. If that’s what you’re looking for, I highly recommend this book for your consideration.
If you’d enjoy making guy-friendly crochet projects, buy this book for yourself. If you’d enjoy living in a world where guys are encouraged to crochet without feeling weird about it, buy this book for your sons, grandsons and their friends. Let’s teach the next generation that it is normal for anyone to learn how to crochet if they want to.
Where to Buy This Book:
This review was last updated on September 13, 2016.