With Minimal Finishing!
This is a book review of Continuous Crochet.
Author: Kristin Omdahl
Publisher: Interweave Press
Copyright Date: 2016
ISBN 13: 978-1-63250-165-3
ISBN 10: 1-63250-165-1
Book Formats: This book is available in multiple formats, as follows:
- Large Softcover Book With Color Photographs and Perfect Binding
- Digital PDF Ebook
- Amazon Kindle Ebook
Number of Pages: 144
Cover Price: $22.99 US dollars
Skill Level: The author and publisher have not specifically assigned skill level ratings to these patterns. However, this is their comment from the back of the book:
“These innovative crochet patterns are suitable for those who are looking for beginner crochet projects as well as larger pieces. The pieces strike the perfect balance between stunning good looks and ease of technique.”
I’ve tested several of these patterns, and I’ve included my thoughts regarding skill level ratings along with my descriptions of some of the individual projects below.
The Focus of This Book:
The back of the book summarizes the focus of this book wonderfully:
Make beautiful seamless garments and accessories using basic crochet stitches and join-as-you-go techniques.
Crochet Projects Included in This Book:
There are 21 crochet projects included in this book all together; 2 hats, 2 cowls, 3 scarves, a mobius, 7 shawls and wraps, and 6 garments.
Most of these patterns are sized for women ranging from small to 2X, so plus-size ladies are not left out of the fun here. Extra-small women, however, may not be able to count on finding a workable size for each garment pattern included in the book.
- Heather Plum Chain Flower Hat — This is a lacy, bohemian style hat that would be great for everyday wear.
- Rhythm & Blues Flower Scalloped Hat — This hat features earflaps shaped like flower motifs. This is an affordable project. It requires only one skein of a smooth, basic, medium-weight wool yarn. Cascade 220 is the suggested yarn for the pattern.
- Laguna Surf Wavy Striped Cowl — Here’s another budget-friendly crochet project requiring only 2 skeins of basic wool. This looks like a practical project. I’m sure it would be really warm, making it well worth the investment of time and yarn for those of you who live in areas where winters get cold.
- Mardi Gras Gold Herringbone Cowl — If you want to crochet this cowl, you’ll use a lacy and lovely herringbone stitch pattern to do so. This design incorporates post stitches, resulting in lots of interesting texture.
- Urban Fringe: Jen’s Strips of Stripes Scarf — You’ll be delighted with how fast and easy this scarf works up — and it’s quite an attractive design.
While this design is classified as a scarf, to my way of thinking, at 20″ wide, it’s big enough that you could also use it as a wrap. If you enjoy making comfort shawls or prayer shawls for others, this pattern would be an amazing design to use for that purpose.
- Enchanted Diamonds Textured & Picot Mesh Scarf — You’ll use shell stitches plus lots of chains and picots to create this lacy, feminine scarf. The scarf measures a generous 16″ wide, which makes it look to me like more of a wrap than a scarf. I’d say it’s another interesting candidate as a pattern to use for making prayer shawls and comfort shawls.
- Little Falls Reversible Textured Mobius — Post stitches give this mobius its interesting texture.
- Basket of Light Zentangle-Inspired Motif Scarf — This is a delicate lace scarf that’s made by crocheting interesting wheel and partial wheel motifs.
- Alfresco by the Lake Belted Cape — This is a dramatic piece that, when belted, looks almost like a cross between a cape, a sweater and a bathrobe. I haven’t made one of these for myself yet, but I’m sure I wouldn’t be going too far out on a limb to tell you it looks ultra comfy!
I think this looks like it would be another great pattern to use for making prayer shawls and comfort shawls for others.
- African Violets Raglan Capelet — There are two different ways to wear this sassy, lacy little capelet, and both of them are delightfully pretty.
This is one of those designs that could be styled just about any which way you might like to wear it. It could go goth or romantic or bohemian or classic.
- Sausalito Sparkle Offset Lace Shawl — This shawl is a top-down triangular design. You’ll crochet the design using fan stitches, and the final edging around the shawl includes an edging of beaded single crochet stitches.
- Sorrento Sunset Starburst Shawl — This shawl is a striking multicolored design that sort of resembles a gigantic partial doily.
- Driftwood Blues Mini Tile Wrap — This attractive wrap would make a fantastic prayer shawl or comfort shawl.
This is a genius of a crochet pattern. It is easily adaptable for making other sorts of projects; so for example if you don’t have enough yarn to make the entire wrap, you could whip up a scarf instead. Or if you need a throw or blanket, you could simply make longer strips, and more of them, to come up with a larger blanket-sized piece. If you like the look of this wrap, you should definitely use your imagination here to see what other possibilities you can come up with.
I worked a couple of shortened strips of this design using scrap yarn, with the intention of testing the pattern instructions for clarity. The instructions are totally clear and workable; the team at Interweave Press has done a great job at putting this pattern together for us crafters to enjoy.
In theory, this is an easy pattern. However, I wouldn’t recommend this to complete beginners as a first crochet project, thanks to the presence of some complex decreases in the design.
In general, I think this pattern could prove to be frustrating to any crocheter who hasn’t yet learned to maintain an even tension as s/he works. If you aren’t maintaining an even tension with your crochet work yet, it’s possible that you could end up with a mis-shapen mess instead of the neat, tidy mini-motifs you’re supposed to make with this pattern. It’s also possible that differences in individual crochet work could introduce some elements of frustration into this pattern, especially for beginners.
- Ramblin’ Rose Hairpin Lace Shawl — This shawl is gorgeous. It’s worked on a hairpin lace loom, and there’s an intricate lacy traditionally crocheted edging to finish off the design. The entire piece is simply beautiful.
However, detailed instructions for how to do hairpin lace are not included in this book. If you aren’t already familiar with this technique, you’ll remain mystified about it until you find another source of instruction for how to do it. I recommend Crochet Master Class as one resource you could use for learning this technique.
- Coral Gables Cardi Wrap — This dramatic garment looks to me like more of a loose-fitting vest than a wrap. However, like a wrap, it’s a one-size-fits-most type of design, with only one size specified.
The piece looks lovely and interesting on the tall, lean, beautiful fashion model who’s wearing it for the photograph in the book. It’s the sort of design that tends to flatter large-boned women, and it could be a great wardrobe piece for those who are confident enough to gracefully receive admiring stares when they wear something extraordinary.
I question whether this piece would look as good on women who are shorter and smaller-boned than average. It’s a design that could easily overwhelm a petite figure.
- Isle of Capri Motif Pullover — This motif design is classic, lacy and pretty, making for a garment with mass appeal. This is a design that will flatter most figures — although the complexity of grading such a design has resulted in a pattern with only 3 sizes — small, medium and large (finished bust sizes of 32, 40 and 48).
- Bed of Ferns Teardrop Lace Yoke Sweater — This is an unusual and interesting design that I think would be worth the investment in time and yarn.
- Geisha Fan Petal Stitch Shrug — This feminine shrug is delightfully beautiful.
- Pentagon Motif Yoke Cardigan — This is a playful, fun design that looks like it would also be a fun project to crochet. It’s the kind of design that you simply cannot find in average retail stores in the USA; to get fashionable pieces this interesting, you have to make them yourself.
I might have liked to make one of these pretty sweaters, but the smallest size available for this pattern is a 40″ bust — which would be too big for me. Bummer! 🙁
- Monticello Meadow Cropped Pineapple Cardi — This is a lacy, versatile piece that you could dress up or down depending on your mood. If you finish it as pictured in the book, with a jeweled button closure, it’s eveningwear-friendly.
- Tigress Spiraling Bruges Lace Pullover — This fitted sweater offers you an innovative and interesting way to use the Bruges lace technique.
The Best Things About This Book
It seems to me that making a few successful pieces from this book would be even more satisfying than a shopping spree at a high-end luxury boutique.
The amazing variety of wearable patterns presented here means that you could almost crochet yourself an entire new wardrobe right from this book.
There’s a fantastic range of moods and styles represented, from practical to playful to romantic. No matter what your “fashion personality” is, you’ll probably be able to indulge it with designs from this book — plus a healthy dose of your own creativity and imagination, of course.
There’s some outstanding and out-of-the-ordinary design work in Continuous Crochet.
These designs will be accessible to a wide range of crocheters. No matter what your current level of expertise with crochet, you’re likely to learn some new things and gain interesting insights by working through the patterns in this book.
It’s fantastic that Kristin has created another whole collection of patterns that minimize the need for weaving in ends. Hooraaaaaaaayyy!!
The international symbol crochet charts are a helpful inclusion in the book, plus you also get complete written instructions as well. So whichever option you prefer working from, you’re covered.
This Book’s Shortcomings
A couple of the close-up pictures in this book are unhelpful, because the projects were placed on top of busy backgrounds that make it difficult to see the details you might want to look at.
For my taste, the styling in this book is hit or miss. There are some places where the styling is lovely and appropriate. However, there are just as many instances where I think the styling has gone horribly wrong. This really detracted from my enjoyment of the book.
In fact, my first impression of the book was not a favorable one — and upon careful analysis I realized that it wasn’t the projects I didn’t like; it was the way the projects are presented.
Style is really a personal thing, so it’s likely that many of you will not share my opinion about it. However, if you do share my opinion about the styling being less than ideal, I want to encourage you to look beyond it and imagine the projects paired with the clothes in your own wardrobe — or the clothes you want to own.
Let me give you one example.
The Ramblin’ Rose hairpin lace shawl is simply exquisite. I unfortunately missed seeing its exquisiteness the first time I looked at it, because the overall effect that hit me at first glance was “outfit I would not want to wear.”
In the book, this dainty shawl is paired with a businesslike pinstriped shirt and a pair of tailored navy blue shorts. Some of you may enjoy wearing it that way; I’m sure there are people who think such an outfit is attractive. I am not one of them.
To my eyes, this particular combination was a horrible injustice to the shawl. Such a dainty piece deserves to be the finishing touch worn over a pretty dress, or at least something more feminine than an Oxford-style shirt.
I’m glad I looked beyond my initial gut reaction of “I wouldn’t want to make that.” Once I did, I realized that this shawl would be the ideal focal point for accessorizing two of my favorite cocktail dresses. This is the perfect example of a piece that, for me, would be worth making — because it’s a style I’d be able to wear with just about every evening dress and sundress I own.
This is a book I would recommend to most crocheters.
Those of you who crochet for charity or friends will find wonderful shawl patterns that would be ideal candidates to reach for whenever you want to crochet prayer shawls. I highly recommend this book to those of you who enjoy making comfort shawls for others, and I think you’ll find this book to be an exceptional value if you need patterns for that purpose.
Ladies who wear sizes in the range of small through 2XL will get the maximum value out of this book. For those crafters, I think Continuous Crochet is a great buy, and well worth its asking price.
Those of you who are extremely petite ladies may not get quite as much value out of the book, depending on what your objectives are. If you enjoy crocheting wraps and accessories, it’s definitely possible to get your money’s worth out of this book even if the majority of the sweater patterns aren’t sized right for you.
Where to Buy This Book:
- Click here to shop for Continuous Crochet at the Interweave Store.
- Click here to shop for this book at Amazon.com.
Seamless Crochet vs Continuous Crochet
Continuous Crochet is a follow-up that’s similar to Kristin Omdahl’s previous book, Seamless Crochet. These two titles are different enough that they are both well worth owning. I’m really glad to have them both in my crochet library. I recommend both books, and I’m glad I didn’t have to choose one over the other.
However, if you’re only planning to buy one book, and if you’re trying to choose between these two titles, it’s definitely a tough choice. Here are some things to consider when you make your decision:
- Seamless Crochet comes packaged with an instructional DVD, whereas Continuous Crochet does not.
- Seamless Crochet has 152 pages; Continuous Crochet has 144 pages.
- Continuous Crochet is a slightly taller book, measuring a bit less than 8.5″ x 11″. Seamless Crochet measures about 8.5″ x 10″.
- Continuous Crochet has a cover price of $22.95 US dollars, vs Seamless Crochet’s slightly higher cover price of $24.95.
- Seamless Crochet includes a library of join-as-you-go motifs that have been charted out and are adaptable for a number of different purposes; Continuous Crochet does not have this feature.
- Seamless Crochet includes 18 projects; Continuous Crochet has 21 projects.
- You get a variety of different types of projects in Seamless Crochet, including accessories for ladies, a man’s hat, baby patterns and home décor projects. The projects include shawls, scarves, hats, blankets, trivets a bag and a pillow. Continuous Crochet is all about women’s wearables, focusing more consistently on ladies’ wardrobe items incuding sweaters, shawls and scarves.
If you want to crochet sweaters or some new wardrobe pieces for a lucky lady, go for Continuous Crochet; if you prefer to crochet a mix of projects like blankets, home décor projects or baby projects, go for Seamless Crochet.
If you would benefit from having an instructional DVD, go for Seamless Crochet.
My opinion is that both books offer you outstanding value for the money you spend on them. I think Seamless Crochet is a better value for the money because I personally find the motif library to be a valuable and often-used asset in my crochet library. But really, there are lots of good reasons to want to own either one or both of these books.
Want more info about Seamless Crochet? Click here to check out our detailed book review of this title.