This is a book review of Crochet Master Class: Lessons and Projects From Today’s Top Crocheters
Authors: Rita Weiss and Jean Leinhauser
Publisher: Potter Craft
Copyright Date: 2010
ISBN 13: 978-0307586537
Book Format: Trade paperback with perfect binding
Number of Pages: 192
Cover Price: $22.99 US dollars
- Beginner: 1 pattern included
- Easy: 2 patterns included
- Intermediate: 10 patterns included
- Advanced / Experienced: 5 patterns included
The Focus of This Book:
This is both a crochet pattern book and a technique book. The book’s authors and contributors intend to give you the opportunity to learn 18 interesting crochet techniques. All the contributors are expert crocheters, and each has mastered the crochet technique s/he is teaching you. The book includes one pattern in each of the techniques being covered, which gives you a great opportunity to try each technique for yourself while creating a useful finished object at the same time. This book also includes a brief bio for each designer and a brief overview of his or her work.
The title of this book has provoked some confusion among the book-buying public. To set the record straight: this book is not intended to only be a class for crocheters who are already “masters” or experts. Not at all! In fact, the book has several patterns intended specifically for new crocheters. The intent is really for every crocheter who works through the book to get closer to becoming a master of crochet — a worthy goal, and one that is definitely within reach.
Obviously, you won’t have fully mastered each crochet technique even if you work each of the projects in the book. However, if you successfully work your way through this book, you’ll have an outstanding perspective of the possibilities crochet offers, and the knowledge you gain will give you a workable basis for going on to master the craft. While you obviously won’t learn everything there is to know about crochet from one book, this book covers the craft exceptionally well and gives you a wonderful overview of some of the most interesting and popular crochet techniques in existence.
I learned most of these techniques before ever having owned this book; before this book existed, I had to buy stacks of other books and magazines to learn all these techniques. I’d recommend the book to other crafters for that reason alone, but there are plenty of other reasons to recommend it.
Crochet Projects Overview:
All together, this book includes
- 2 afghan patterns
- 3 adult sized garment patterns, one of which is available in plus-size
- 2 shawl patterns
- 1 child sized garment pattern (available in only 1 size.)
- 2 bag patterns
- 1 scarf pattern
- 2 patterns for table linens
- 1 tassel pattern
- 1 pillow pattern
- 1 bookmark pattern
Crochet Projects and Pattern Designers Featured in This Book:
Here are more details about the crochet projects, designers and techniques you’ll find covered in this book:
Crochet Pattern for Beginners:
Jenny King teaches you the woven crochet technique and gives you a beginner-level blanket pattern that she calls the “Princess of Wales Memorial Tartan Afghan.”
If you want to learn how to create plaid designs in crochet, the woven crochet technique is well worth learning. I learned this technique from some vintage Mon Tricot stitch dictionaries that were published back in the 1970s. This project has much in common with those; it’s the same basic concept overall, and this book is more up-to-date than the ones I originally used for learning woven crochet.
Easy Crochet Patterns and Projects:Darla J. Fanton teaches you about using a double-ended crochet hook, and you have the opportunity to practice the technique by making her pattern for a pretty baby blanket she calls the “Lilacs and roses baby afghan.”
Nancy Nehring teaches you how to make a Victorian flower tassel.
Intermediate Level Crochet Patterns and Projects:
Jennifer Hansen of Stitch Diva Studios teaches you how to crochet hairpin lace. The project she includes for you is a feather and fan cardi wrap.
Carol Ventura is noteworthy for popularizing tapestry crochet. In this book, she takes the technique a step further and gives you instructions and a pattern for learning beaded tapestry crochet. If you’re at all interested in crocheting with beads, my opinion is that this is a must-learn technique. It offers you much more freedom than the traditional way of working bead crochet, where you have to painstakingly string each bead on your yarn or thread in the correct order. I was extremely inspired by Dr. Ventura’s contribution to this book, and I would recommend it to anyone who’s interested in mastering crochet.
Entrelac isn’t just for knitters. In this book, Joyce Wyatt teaches you entrelac crochet, and you get to practice the technique using an interesting scarf pattern.
Margaret Hubert has contributed a glittering gold top to this book, which teaches you quite a bit of what you need to know about crocheting clothing.
Julia Bryant teaches you Tunisian crochet and gives you a fabulous beaded and roses coat pattern for girls.
Hartmut Hass teaches you filet crochet and gives you a stunning filet crochet table runner pattern.
“The Beadwrangler”, AKA Lydia Borin, teaches you bead crochet and gives you a lovely beaded necklace pattern.
Tatyana Mirer gives you an intriguing pattern for a reversible magical wave stole worked in the Bruges crochet technique. This intriguing technique resembles handmade Bruges lace. I posted a picture of a sample I crocheted using the basic instructions provided in the book for this technique.
Prudence Mapstone is well-known for her explorations in freeform crochet. Usually freeform crocheters don’t work with patterns, so it’s an extra special treat to be able to get your hands on the instructions that Prudence has included for a freeform shawl.
Nancie Wiseman has shared instructions for a wire crochet purse.
Crochet Patterns and Projects for Experienced Crafters:
You might be familiar with aran knitting, a technique that incorporates lots of textured knitting stitches including knitted cables and ribs. This technique can also be mimicked using crochet. Jane Snedden Peever has shared a pattern for a cable crossover sweater made using this technique.
The vintage bullion stitch has fascinated countless crocheters. Bonnie Pierce helps you figure out this complicated stitch, and she gives you a pillow cover pattern to practice it with.
Melody Macduffee designed the spectacular mandala pillow cover you see on the cover of this book. She created it using a technique called “overlay crochet”.
If you’re used to seeing monochromatic crochet, and you think of crochet projects as being boring and colorless, Ferosa Harold’s contribution to this book is likely to change that perception. She has contributed a gloriously colorful pattern for a hearts and roses centerpiece.
Irish crochet is a technically challenging crochet technique. Maire Trean gives you an updated Clones lace bookmark pattern; while I wouldn’t call it easy, my opinion is that it’s significantly simpler than the complex and confusing vintage crochet pattern books I own that cover this technique in more detail.
This Book’s Shortcomings
This is one of my go-to crochet reference books, and I think it’s an excellent book overall. However, it isn’t a perfect book. I’d be a bad reviewer if I didn’t mention some of the less-than-ideal things that bother me about it.
The thing that drives me craziest about this book is the hit-or-miss quality of the photographs. Most of the photos in this book are of acceptable, good or excellent quality — but some of them are substandard. At least, I’d consider them substandard from the point of view of someone who is trying to use the book as a learning tool for crochet.
I have several complaints about the photographs in this book:
Some of them are artistically blurry in places. That would be fine if these were intended to be art prints hanging on a wall in a gallery. However, blurry photos are unhelpful to crocheters who are trying to make projects just like the ones pictured.
For example, the close-up picture of the lilacs and roses baby blanket is blurry. Plus the only other picture of this project is also blurry in some areas, and it’s reproduced in two different places in the book. UGH! What a waste of space! They had room to include at least one non-blurry photo, but for some reason chose not to.
I have a similar complaint about the photographs of Lydia Borin’s crystalise necklace. The close-up picture of the necklace is blurry, and the larger photo also has blurred spots.
The photographer has done another injustice to Ferosa Harold’s spectacular painted crochet centerpiece. There are several photographs of this piece — but all of them have blurred areas, and none of them show you the complete centerpiece.
It’s a real shame these issues weren’t addressed before the book went to print. Despite these frustrating shortcomings, I think this is a worthwhile book. My opinion: it’s better to own this book and use it, blurry photos and all, than it is to be without it.
This is an excellent book that I’m thrilled to recommend to other crocheters. It’s one of my favorites.