Did y’all get the memo? Nobody is crocheting doilies any more.
You know those flat, round, lacy crochet projects some of you are working on? Those aren’t doilies. Nope.
Now they’re known as mandalas.
If you’re still referring to them as doilies, you may wish to update your vocabulary to be current with the latest crochet trends for 2017. (Or not. That’s totally up to you.)
Whatever you choose to call ’em, those lovely circular crochet projects are enjoying a spectacular upswing in popularity, thanks in large part to a gorgeous new crochet pattern book called
Mandalas to Crochet: 30 Great Patterns by Haafner Linssen.
What You Need to Know About This Crochet Pattern Book:
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin / Quarto Books
Copyright Date: 2016
ISBN 13: 978-1-250-08305-0
Book Format: Softcover With Perfect Binding
Number of Pages: 128
Cover Price: $21.99 US dollars /$24.99 Canadian dollars — But I’m finding it available at lower prices by shopping online.
Skill Level: This book offers something wonderful to crocheters of all skill levels. Beginners can learn to crochet using the basic instructions and patterns included. Those with some crochet experience will enjoy more involved patterns such as join-as-you-go blankets and a rag rug.
The Focus of Mandalas to Crochet:
These 30 gorgeous crochet mandala patterns give you 30 excellent reasons to buy the book. However, you actually get much more in this book than just the promised 30 mandala designs. You also get 7 crochet patterns for finished projects including blankets, and you get 5 crochet edging patterns as well. That’s a total of 42 patterns all together.
You also get basic crochet instructions with illustrations plus bunches of tips and insights about how to make your mandalas flawless. If you’ve ever tried to crochet a circle motif but gave up because it wasn’t lying flat, you’ll find practical help in this book for fixing the problems. There are examples for what to do when your circles go cup-shaped and for when they get all ruffly and weird.
International symbol crochet charts plus clear written patterns will have you crocheting these pretty doilies intuitively.
Finished Crochet Projects Included in This Book:
1. Colorful Scrap Crochet Lap Blanket
All the projects in this book are pretty, but this blanket stands out as being particularly colorful, appealing and eye-catching.
This design is a great stash-buster; you need bunches of different yarn colors for best results, and you can incorporate your yarn scraps left over from other projects into the color scheme.
The design seems to work best using a mix of pastels, brights and dark colors but avoiding the use of black yarn. In the author’s sample blanket, sparing use of a dark purple color adds richness and depth to the design.
2. Leaves and Lace Blanket With Hexagon Crochet Motifs
You can crochet this colorful blanket using one of the mandala motifs as the basis; the round motifs are joined as you go using an additional round that transforms them into hexagon shapes.
This blanket looks like a cross between a colorful vintage quilt and a traditional crocheted bedspread. It’s exquisite and beautiful.
3. Round Rag Rug Crochet Pattern
You can crochet this pretty rag rug using super bulky t-shirt yarn. The design is based on one of the mandala patterns included in the book.
This crochet rag rug looks like a gigantic lace doily for the floor. It makes a lovely bath mat, but you could use it in just about any room of your home that needs a touch of “pretty”. I want to make a couple of these for my daughter’s bedroom; I think she’d enjoy having one beside her bed and another for her play area.
4. Boho Bag — A Round Crochet Tote Bag Pattern
You can make this chic, bohemian style crochet bag using one of the mandalas included in the beginner-friendly basic section of the book.
5. Round Crochet HotPad or Potholder Pattern
The author gives you instructions for crocheting a double-layered hotpad and then gives you a quick tip for how to transform the same piece into a potholder.
6. Crochet Placemat Pattern
You can crochet this easy tablemat by making multiples of one of the classic crochet mandalas (the pattern is included in the book) and then joining them together in a predictable color pattern. A set of these placemats could be made to match just about any dining room or kitchen décor, but the design would be particularly charming as an accent in modern, retro or contemporary style eating areas.
7. Summer Crochet Scarf Pattern
You could make either a scarf or a wrap using this pattern, which is based on one of the mandala patterns included in the book.
The Crochet Mandala Patterns Included in This Book:
Basic Crochet Mandala Patterns
There are 6 easy crochet circle patterns in this section of the book, including an easy granny circle design and others. Most of these are made with the basic crochet stitches without incorporating any special stitches or anything else that would make them too complicated.
Classic Crochet Mandala Patterns
The 9 mandala patterns in this section of the book are traditional crochet doily type patterns, although they don’t appear to be made using fine crochet thread as doilies typically are.
Mandalas Featuring Crochet Flowers
There are 8 different flower-themed mandala patterns included in this book. The flower motifs include a daisy, tulips, African flower, lily, strawberry blossom and others.
Mandalas Featuring Something Special
There are 7 different mandalas in this category, all of which offer different and interesting design features. One of them is called “Love Me Loops”; it’s made using an intriguing stitch called double loop stitch. Another called “Layers and Loops” is made using the overlay crochet technique, where some rows dip down into other rows to create an interesting layered appearance. There’s a heavily textured doily called “Enchanted April” that’s crocheted using popcorn stitches. Another mandala called “Dazzling Days” is worked using the tapestry crochet technique.
All the patterns in this section are unique and lovely, but my favorite of all is one called “Vintage Vibes”. To crochet this design, you use three colors of yarn plus post stitches to make a design that looks like the offspring that would result if a yarn doily and a ship’s wheel got married and had a child.
The Round Crochet Borders and Edging Patterns Included in This Book:
There are likely to be times when you’ll find yourself in need of round edging patterns. This book includes 5 lovely options:
- Grace Round Crochet Border Pattern — This is a simple two-color one-round border that will work for just about any circular crochet project, no matter how large or small. It’s a particularly suitable border to use at times when you need a guy-friendly edging because it isn’t froo-froo in any way.
- Classic Round Crochet Border Pattern: This pretty one-color edging is a lacy crochet shell stitch with picots incorporated. It’s only one round, so it makes a reasonably quick finish.
- Classic Crochet Edging Pattern With Corners: A wider variation of the classic edging is used to finish one of the blankets in the book, so the author updated the design to include a corner. You’ll find text instructions plus a symbol crochet chart included with the blanket pattern.
- Dandy Round Crochet Border Pattern: This is an interesting two-colored edging that from a distance sort of mimics the look of embroidered blanket stitch, however it’s much more textured and three-dimensional. It’s only two rounds.
- Coquette Round Crochet Border Pattern — This edging uses two yarn colors; it’s crocheted in three rounds.
- Coronation Border — This is the fanciest edging included in this collection. It’s crocheted in two rounds and uses two different colors.
The Best Things About This Book
These mandalas are chic and gorgeous. Some of them are crocheted using trendy, subdued colorways that incorporate shades of gray; some of them are crocheted using baby-friendly pastels; and some are crocheted in brighter, livelier colorways. You’ll find suitable options for decorating just about any room, from a modern dining room to a baby’s nursery.
If you don’t happen to like the author’s color choices, you’ll hopefully feel empowered to re-color these designs in hues you’ll enjoy more. A brief section of the book covers the topic of planning color combinations for your mandalas. These pages give you a peek at 8 different color schemes you could use to crochet one of the flower-themed mandalas from the book. The text offers encouragement for experimentation and insights into the different ways that color can affect a particular design.
A mandala selector at the beginning of the book gives you a glimpse at how these designs look as compared against each other. This section also includes even more color insights. A few of the designs are pictured in alternative colorways. All together, this book contains many interesting crochet color ideas and much inspiration for utizing color effectively in your crochet work.
This is a lovely book with many pretty details throughout, from the glossy spot UV printing on the front cover to the on-trend fonts and styling. The book is designed logically, and it is a treat to browse through.
International symbol crochet charts are included for each of the mandalas and edgings included in the book. The projects also include additional symbol crochet charts where they’re needed; for example, the leaves and lace blanket includes additional charts for crocheting the half-hexagon motifs you’ll need to complete the blanket.
The charts are printed in multiple colors. This will help you distinguish important details like where one round ends and the next begins. This is particularly helpful in cases where relief stitches and post stitches are included as part of the design.
The crochet project instructions in this book are concise, yet clear and helpful.
The color photography in this book is crisp and detailed.
Despite all this talk about pretty crochet doilies, quite a few of these mandalas are guy-friendly. So if you’re a guy who crochets, or a lady who crochets things for guys, you’ll find options that are likely to be workable (depending of course on the tastes of the specific guys who are on the receiving end of your crochet efforts). Try “Go With the Flow” and “Pebble in the Pond” from the basic section of the book, “Bewitching Basketweave” and “Scallops of the Sea” from the classic section of the book, and “Confetti Time” and “Dazzling Days” from the something special section of the book. “Ice Cream,” if re-colored into blues, grays or neutrals, would also be a good candidate for a guy-friendly project. The placemats could also look pretty cool in a bachelor pad if crocheted using masculine colors.
Other Observations About This Book:
There are some details that the team at St. Martin’s Griffin chose not to include in this book:
- Skill level ratings haven’t been assigned to each crochet project. After having looked at these designs carefully, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this book to beginners. Not all the projects are beginner friendly, but if you work your way through the basics section first you’ll be able to progress to the more challenging projects with confidence.
- It isn’t immediately obvious which yarn weights should be used for each mandala to achieve the finished size specified in the pattern. This hopefully shouldn’t be a deal breaker for anyone, since you can get good results with any yarn weight you want to use — but it would have been helpful to have this information handy as a starting point.
- Crafters who wish to re-create each mandala exactly as pictured may find it frustrating that it isn’t immediately obvious which yarn colors have been used in each mandala. The back of the book gives you a general listing of all colors used in the entire book, but you won’t find a breakdown of which colors are used to crochet specific mandalas. The main takeaway here: You’re likely to feel motivated to come up with your own personalized colorways of these designs — which is a good thing!
I’m delighted to recommend this book to other crafters of either gender. I think it’s a particularly good buy for beginning crocheters who are interested in learning how to crochet circle motifs and doilies, however it’s a worthwhile purchase for crafters of any skill level.
I think this book is an exceptional value for its cover price; the numerous patterns and tips packed into this book make it well worth the money. The retailers I’ve linked to below often sell books at discounted prices; if you’re able to find the book on sale for less than its cover price, it’s an even better value.
Where to Buy This Book:
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