Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Happy May Day ... and a Quick Book Review

To celebrate workers everywhere (and that includes all of the textile, fiber workers and designers out there!) I thought I'd share a quick book review.

Even though Star Crochet 2 has a 2011 Japanese publica-tion date and has received scant recognition, it deserves rave reviews for a number of reasons - not the least of which is the strength of the designs. A few of my favorites? The cover bag is most excellent, as are the utility boxes above; my most favorite of the collection - these cushion covers:

One of the unique strengths of this book is the deep design exploration of and collection creation around just one stitch: the star stitch (or the 5-star Marguerite stitch, on page 185 for all of you who have Interweave Press's Basic Crochet Stitches, part of their Harmony Guides series). The stitch itself is rather appealing; combining it with other stitch patterns creates fabrics with strength, texture and just flat-out good looks. This concept of exploring the design benefits of just one stitch is a somewhat unconventional approach in our crochet publishing world - we might explore a single technique - but not a single stitch. Star Crochet 2 (and I haven't seen the first volume, but I'm on the hunt for it!) has done a masterful job in this regard.

The second big strength is the straightforward, yet playful presentation of the finished samples. All set against a blue and white background, the pieces are shown either being used in their essential function, and/or with simple props that underscore shape or color or texture, or in an amusing manner. One of my favorites:

it gets my best-use-of-stuffed-squirrel award.

Finally, the material is excellently presented for those who are visual learners. Because the book is written in Japanese, I could not rely on the sparse copy for any help with written instructions. However, there are almost five pages of pictoral instruction on how to create the star stitch. Five pages! Additionally, each project contains, in many instances, a complete chart. So, for example, the cushion cover is crafted in two halves of 22 rows - and virtually all 22 rows are charted in their entirety. If one can read crochet charts, these projects will be easily reproduced.

As I'm certain you noticed, I have borrowed my copy from my local library. In fact, that's how I found out about the title - I regularly do a quick database search, by keyword and date, to see what's new in the database. This was one of the titles that came up in search results about six weeks ago. There was also a wait list for the title.

It doesn't surprise me.

Star Crochet 2 definitely gets two crafty thumbs up.


  1. LOL @ the squirrel. And yaaay for libraries :-)

  2. I am very impressed that your library has international crochet books in its collection. This book looks great - and I love the squirrel, too.

    1. We've got a such a strong connection to the Pacific Rim here in the PNW that Japanese titles in the database are quite common. I haven't actually paid attention to other international titles, so your comment raises a good question.

      I've got the first half of the pillow cover finished - it's quick and super stylish in worsted weight white cotton. Pics soon!