This is a book review of Vintage Modern Crochet: Classic Crochet Lace Techniques for Contemporary Style.
Author: Robyn Chachula
Publisher: Interweave Press
Copyright Date: 2016
ISBN 13: 978-1-63250-162-2
ISBN 10: 1-63250-162-7
Cover Price: $24.99 US dollars / $30.99 in Canada
Skill Level: Skill level ratings have not been assigned to these patterns.
Number of Pages: 160
Book Format: This book is available in several formats, as follows:
- Large Softcover / Trade Paperback With Perfect Binding
- Downloadable PDF E-book
- Downloadable Kindle E-book
The Focus of This Book:
The book’s subtitle sums up its purpose succinctly:
“Classic crochet lace techniques for contemporary style.”
The contributors to this book all had a common goal of giving you up-to-date, wearable crochet projects that are made using vintage crochet lace techniques. Quoting from the back cover of the book,
“Lace is one of the hottest trends in crochet, but it is by no means a new technique. In Vintage Modern Crochet, best-selling author Robyn Chachula feeds the craze for lace by exploring five classic crochet lace techniques, reinventing them in beautiful, compelling ways.
The book is divided into five sections. Each of the sections covers a different vintage crochet lace technique, as follows:
- Pineapple Crochet Lace
- Bruges Crochet Lace
- Filet Crochet Lace
- Irish Crochet Lace
- Tunisian Crochet Lace
The book also includes sections covering helpful material such as abbreviations, techniques, and sources for yarn. Both an introduction and index are included. There’s also a section of the book introducing you to the contributors who created these lovely patterns for your enjoyment.
Crochet Projects Included in This Book:
1.Kidwell Garden Wrap by Shelby Allaho
If you like flapper style fashion, I bet you’ll love this gorgeous tasseled wrap. I own many vintage crochet pattern books and women’s magazines from the 1920s; this design looks like something that could have been taken right from their pages — only you have the benefit of being able to work from much clearer instructions than those old books typically contain. This pattern includes international symbol crochet charts in addition to written instructions.
2. Bromelia Infinity Scarf by Moon Eldridge
Have you ever crocheted pineapple lace before? If not, this cowl-style scarf would make a fantastic introduction to the technique. If you have, this scarf will be a piece o’ cake for you to crochet. This wearable piece is a neat hybrid between “vintage” and “now”. The circular cowl-style scarf design is definitely trendy now — but the pineapple lace motifs are classic and timeless. The design also incorporates the classic spider stitch for even more vintage-style charm.
I began crocheting this design, and it looks to me like perhaps there are a couple of minor discrepancies between the written pattern and the stitch diagram in the setup row. If I were to finish crocheting this, I’d go with the version from the stitch diagram — but I don’t think it matters either way. In the scheme of things, it doesn’t look like it would create any major issues with the finished scarf whichever way you do it. I haven’t tested the pattern any further than row 1 to see how it will turn out. I’m unlikely to finish this project since I don’t have an appropriate yarn in my stash at the moment for working it.
3. Zoe Cardigan by Anastasia Popova
This beautiful sweater is another lovely example of pineapple crochet lace. This is the piece pictured on the front cover of the book.
This pattern was graded for 4 sizes ranging from 38 3/4 inches (S) through 67 1/2 inches (XL.) The sweater is intended to have an oversized fit.
4. O’Hara Hat by Rebecca Velasquez
You can crochet this artsy, interesting hat using pineapple motifs and shell stitches. This is a one-skein pattern that requires medium-weight yarn.
5. Ter Berge Crochet Lace Shawl by Kristin Omdahl
This lovely triangle shawl is comprised of several medallions that are worked in a contemporary crocheted version of the classic Bruges lace technique. This design looks up-to-date when crocheted in a trendy lavender shade of Be So Fine bamboo yarn, as pictured in the book.
6. Zaandstraat Jewelry: Cuff Bracelet by Robyn Chachula
Robyn shows you how you can combine beads and crochet thread to create a stunning cuff bracelet using the bruges crochet technique. This piece sort of resembles a knitted cable with beads in the center of each twist. You can style it in different colorways, and the beads you choose will affect the “personality” of your finished piece. Robyn shows you two different colorways, a light one and a dark one; you could have some fun coming up with your own colorways to make jewelry that matches any wardrobe pieces you might have that need accessorizing.
7. Zaandstraat Jewelry: Necklace by Robyn Chachula
This pendant coordinates with the cuff bracelet mentioned above.
8. Leopold Pullover by Robyn Chachula
In this unique garment, you combine crochet motifs with bruges lace. The result is a top that’s both lacy and richly textured. It’s also an amazingly versatile piece. You could style it with either dressy clothing or casual clothing and it would work well either way.
This pattern was graded with finished bust measurements ranging from 33 3/4 inches (size X-small) through 53 inches (size 2X).
9. Bow Tie Necklace by Shelby Allaho
This necklace gives you a clever new way to utilize the filet crochet technique. You get two different variations of this pattern — one that’s made using cords, and one that’s made using chains.
10. Carefree Pullover by Natasha Robarge
This is a long, loose, dramatic lace pullover with an oversized fit. This is an updated take on filet crochet that doesn’t end up looking like the typical filet crochet projects you might be familiar with. The project sample pictured was crocheted using a linen yarn that gives the piece a casual yet elegant look.
Note that the pattern is only graded in 2 sizes, with the smaller size being a 50″ bust measurement and the larger being a 64″ bust measurement.
11. Celtic Cross Wrap by Laurinda Reddig
This charming wrap was inspired by Celtic knotwork, and it’s worked in filet crochet.
12. Field Cardigan by Robyn Chachula
In the 1930s, bias-cut dresses were trendy; this kind of cut drapes well and looks amazingly elegant. It can be fascinating to try working your crochet stitches on the bias as well. Here Robyn gives you a pattern for trying filet crochet worked at a 45 degree angle. The result is a sweater that drapes well and fits beautifully.
The pattern is graded to achieve finished bust measurements of 34 1/2 inches (size S) through 44 inches (size XL).
13. Temperance Jewelry: Necklace by Robyn Chachula
It’s fascinating to me that this necklace was made in part by using the Irish crochet technique. Seeing this might just challenge your ideas about what you can do with Irish crochet. Would you have thought to combine it with beads and metal chain to make a mixed media necklace?
As pictured in the book, this piece has a retro, bohemian sort of personality. If you enjoy dressing in the carefree hippie style, this would be a fun project to consider.
14. Temperance Jewelry: Earrings by Robyn Chachula
These are eye-catching dangly earrings that coordinate with the Temperance necklace mentioned above.
15. Fidelma Motif Shawl by Cristina Mershon
Have you ever looked through vintage Irish crochet instructions? The pieces are stunning, but talk about cryptic instructions! I’m looking at the Fidelma motif shawl included in Vintage Modern Crochet, and I’m thinking that you are going to want to own this pattern if you’re serious about wanting to make a contemporary version of an Irish crochet shawl. This piece is far less complex, and the instructions for making it are charted out. In comparison, if you were to use a vintage Irish crochet pattern, you’d have to plod through pages and pages of written instructions. Of course, this pattern does also include written instructions in case you happen to prefer those.
16. Aine Fascinator by Brenda K.B. Anderson
A three-dimensional flower is the focal point of this interesting headpiece. If you’re ever in need of a chic, pretty bauble with netting to wear for a special occasion, this is the project for you. If made up in white or off-white, this headpiece would be the ideal substitute for a bride’s wedding veil. As pictured in the book, the flower is a cabernet color, and it’s accented with black. When styled this way, it would be lovely to wear on New Year’s Eve or to holiday parties.
17. Aine Headband by Brenda K.B. Anderson
The same three-dimensional flower motif used in the Aine fascinator makes a more subtle appearance here in this sophisticated headband. Here it’s styled in off-white, with a faux pearl button embellishing the center. This would be gorgeous for a bride to wear or for other special occasions.
18. Guipure Top by Natasha Robarge
This sleeveless top is lacy, delicate and airy. The pattern is graded to achieve finished bust measurements of 35 inches (size S) through 49 inches (size XL). The design is intended to have a close fit.
19. Syrah Cuffs (Wire Version) by Robyn Chachula
Want to change the look of any crochet stitch dramatically? If so, try crocheting it with wire for a whole different type of result.
In this project, Robyn combines beads, wire and a really cool Tunisian crochet stitch to come up with a cuff bracelet that makes an amazing statement piece. The end result looks like something you’d spend a fortune to buy at a high-end boutique.
20. Syrah Cuffs (Crochet Thread Version) by Robyn Chachula
The look of these cuffs changes dramatically depending on the supplies you use to crochet them. You can use beads and wire, as mentioned above, or you can use beads and crochet thread. Either way, they’re a great project for using up those odds and ends of wire, thread and beads that accumulate in your craft supply stash.
If you want to try a new Tunisian crochet stitch pattern without jumping into a huge project, the thread crochet version of these pretty cuff bracelets is a great candidate for your consideration.
Robyn has given you two different colorways of the thread crochet version; they are close variations each other, but the details are slightly different. One is aqua colored, and the other is pumpkin colored.
I began crocheting the pumpkin colored version. I’m enjoying the project, and so far my bracelet is turning out lovely. However, it looks to me like perhaps there are discrepancies between the written version and the charted version of the pattern. Examining the project photo and comparing it against the instructions, it looks to me like the written version of the pattern most closely resembles the project photo — so I’m working from the written instructions.
21. Yasmine Shawl by Rebecca Velasquez
Are you serious about wanting to master the art of Tunisian crochet lace? If so, this spectacular shawl is a project you’re going to want to take a look at. The design incorporates multiple Tunisian crochet lace patterns. A whopping 12 pages of the book are devoted to this pattern.
22. Cyrine Striped Dress by Moon Eldridge
Because this dress is worked in a solid yarn color, the stripes weren’t actually the first thing that caught my eye when I looked at this design. It was the overall texture and the silhouette that I found remarkable. The stripes are great too though. They’re created by alternating bands of Tunisian double crochet cross-stitch and Tunisian simple stitch.
The pattern is graded to achieve finished bust measurements of 36 inches (X-small) through 48 inches (XL.) Note that the upper body of the dress is intended to have a tight fit.
23. Fleur Swing Top by Megan Granholm
You could style this Tunisian crochet pullover top in a variety of ways; it works well for dressing up or down. The pattern is graded to achieve finished bust measurements of 29 inches (XS) through 45″ (XL).
24. Priya Cowl
This cowl gives you the opportunity to learn several interesting Tunisian crochet stitches. Then you finish it with a pretty traditional crochet edging.
The Best Things About This Crochet Pattern Book
- There’s a wonderful mix of wearable fashions in this book, with a nice balance between practical and fanciful designs. Some of these items would be fantastic for everyday wear, and some would equip you for having the perfect wardrobe pieces on hand to wear when special occasions pop up. Even better, a few of the pieces in this collection go either way — like the Priya cowl and the stunning pineapple lace cardigan pictured on the front cover of the book.
- I think many of you will agree with me when I say this is an outstanding concept for a crochet pattern book. Vintage crochet techniques + outstanding design work + clearly presented contemporary crochet instructions = formula for a definite winner!
- This is a beautiful book that includes many gorgeous details. I’ve been enjoying many little things about the way this book was put together, from the evocative scenery in the photographs to the trendy graphic design to the eye-catching glossy detail that’s spot printed on the front cover as an accent for the book title.
- Everything’s charted! Most of these patterns include international symbol crochet stitch diagrams. Schematics are included for the tops and sweaters. There are also some assembly diagrams or layout diagrams included where appropriate. Two of the filet crochet designs each include multiple filet crochet charts. Plus written instructions are included for each design as well.
- The styling in this book is done well overall, and it’s surprisingly diverse for a book of crochet lace patterns. The stylist, Jill Carter, has done an amazing job of showing you that crochet lace doesn’t automatically have to be styled to look romantic or old-fashioned. There’s a mood to suit every fashion personality here; the romantic looks are interspersed with other styles. If you want to look playful, artsy, bohemian, elegant, sophisticated, carefree, casual or retro, you have those options as well.
For example, the Bromelia infinity scarf (pictured above) is styled in a way that’s playful and fun. It’s paired with a whimsical sunglasses print dress, and accessorized with gigantic cat-eye sunglasses and an upswept hairdo. I find this photo quite inspiring. I’d have never thought to style the scarf this way.
This Book’s Shortcomings
- This is a lovely book overall, and really, there isn’t much worth criticizing here. But I’d be a bad reviewer if I didn’t mention the few shortcomings I did find once I went out of my way to look for them.
A couple of these projects got short-changed in the photography department.
In the case of the Syrah cuffs, the thread crochet version is pictured on top of a busy brick sidewalk, making it a challenge to see the details. The photo is blurry in places, complicating the issue.
In the case of the O’Hara hat, there are two different front view photos, both of which are informative; but there’s no top view picture. If you’re going to crochet this hat, it would have been helpful to see a picture of what the top part of the hat looks like.
For me, neither of these things is a deal-breaker; I think there’s enough information to work with in the patterns that you could successfully make either of these designs.
The photography in this book is wonderful overall; it’s just those couple of places I noticed room for improvement.
- Some crocheters are inevitably going to be disappointed to discover that these sweater patterns have not all been graded for their sizes.
I recommend Vintage Modern Crochet to crochet enthusiasts who are interested in exploring an expansive variety of things that can be done to make vintage crochet lace techniques current and wearable now.
I counted 24 finished project ideas in this book all together. Doing a quick bit of math, that works out to about $1.04 per project idea given the cover price of $24.99 US dollars. My opinion: the asking price is a bargain in exchange for what you get, which is the collective brainpower and development time supplied by 10 different expert pattern designers plus the whole editorial team supporting them. I did some mental calculations on how long it would have taken me to put together a collection like this — and my mind boggled a bit.
Where to Buy This Book:
- Click here to shop for this book at the Interweave Store.
- Click here to shop for this book at Knitpicks.
- Click here to download the PDF version at the Interweave Store.
- Click here to download the Kindle version at Amazon.
More Crochet Books by Robyn Chachula
Review posted 8-11-2016 and updated 8-12-2016.