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Book Review: 75 Floral Blocks to Crochet

Sunday, March 10, 2013


Title: Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Tunisian Crochet
Title: 75 Floral Blocks to Crochet: Beautiful Patterns to Mix and Match for Afghans, Throws, Baby Blankets and more
Author: Betty Barnden

Book Review by Marie Segares (www.undergroundcrafter.com)

Bestselling British needlecrafts author Betty Barnden has created a book of crochet motifs inspired by flowers.

In the introduction, Betty explains that her love of gardening inspired her to create floral blocks. Some of the patterns are modifications of traditional motif patterns with abstract floral influences, while others are complex designs that attempt to literally capture the look of different flowers. The book features motifs of different shapes (circles, diamonds, hexagons, squares, and triangles), but blocks of the same shape are made the same size so they can be easily combined. The samples in the book are made with DK (sport weight) yarn and a size E crochet hook and measure between 5-6 inches.

The book starts with a 20-page section called Useful Techniques. This includes a review of yarn and hooks, an overview of US pattern abbreviations and stitch symbols (including a thorough explanation of the significance of different arrangements of symbols and tips for reading charts in the round or in rows), tips for making stunning motifs (including techniques for invisible finishes, weaving in ends, and starting in the round), and a chart that explains the care symbols on yarn ball bands. There are also tips for arranging blocks, blocking, joining motifs, and planning block projects. The section on edgings includes tips for working around the sides and corners as well as 6 patterns for edgings.

The next section is a 20-page Directory of Blocks which includes a photograph of each block, arranged thematically by color/garden inspiration. Each block includes the pattern name and page number where the pattern appears.

The Instructions section is the meat of the book, and includes instructions for 78 motif patterns arranged by shape. Each pattern includes the difficulty level and the method of construction, a large photo, and a pattern written with US pattern abbreviations and stitch symbols. There is a key to stitch symbols at the beginning of each pattern, making this a great book for those new to stitch symbols.

The final section, Projects, includes assembly instructions for four projects made with the motif patterns from the book: a hexagon throw; lined, frame purses using different shaped blocks; a cushion made from squares; and a triangle motif scarf.

75 Floral Blocks to Crochet includes blocks in a variety of shapes. In spite of the floral inspiration, many are abstract enough to make unisex designs with different color choices. The book is the only major compendium of motif patterns I’ve seen that includes blocks constructed in decreasing rows or diagonally. The use of both written abbreviations and stitch symbols, the range of skill levels included in the patterns, and the technique tips shared makes this book a great choice for a broad range of crocheters. This book would appeal to crocheters who love motifs or portable projects, those who want to learn to read stitch symbols, and crocheters who enjoy working with color.

Motif types: 13 triangles, 26 squares, 6 diamonds, 20 hexagons, and 13 circles.
Skill levels: 33 Easy projects, 34 Intermediate projects, and 11 advanced projects.
Construction methods: 64 in rounds, 4 in rows, 1 diagonally, 2 decreasing in rows, and 7 combining two construction methods.
Retail price: $21.99

Full disclosure: A free review copy of 75 Floral Blocks to Crochet was provided by St. Martin's Press. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review.  My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions.

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