Afghans are so wonderful to crochet. Their size gives you a chance to enjoy a lot of meditative repetitious crochet even with fairly complicated designs. They represent a true commitment to a project, an investment in a large amount of yarn, a choice to create something that will take up a little bulk. While you work, the project grows and covers you and wraps you in the fuzzy love of the craft. I don’t make afghans too often myself but I do love making them and usually when I do make them their special gifts to warm someone I love after they’ve warmed me in the process of construction. So I was excited to take a look at Afghan Lover’s Collection, a 2011 crochet book by Leisure Arts featuring three dozen crochet blanket patterns.
Who this Crochet Book is For
Clearly this crochet book is designed for someone who wants to crochet a blanket. This book has crochet stitch instructions but only for the more unusual stitches (like post stitches) not for the basic stitches. That means this book isn’t for someone who is brand new to crochet because it’s not going to teach you how to crochet. But there are some fairly simple projects in the book so it could work for the advanced beginner who has learned to crochet and is ready to tackle a big crochet project.
I’d say that the style of most of the afghans in this book is classic rather than cutting edge. Most of the projects are only one or two colors (with some exceptions). So this book is ideal for someone seeking patterns for classic designs in one or two colors where the texture of the stitches is what makes each design unique and beautiful.
Format of Crochet Book
This book jumps right into the crochet patterns which is what you’re there for if you want the book. I have to admit that I always look for a long introduction that tells me a story and it bums me out a little when books don’t have that but there’s nothing wrong with the basic short intro that this book has.
Each pattern includes:
- One large photo of finished product
- Short and sweet name
- A simple text box with the info you need for creating the design. This includes all materials, yarn and notions. The yarn info is in weight, yards, and color but doesn’t say specifically which yarn was used for the sample in the photo; this information is available, however, in a list at the end of the book. It also has a 1-4 level for the pattern difficulty and the finished size measurements of the blanket.
- Gauge swatch information.
- Row-by-row instructions.
- Notes to help you out. This part is a stand-out feature. The notes are in a different font color and are placed appropriately within the text of the pattern where you need it. For example, the Sunny Tweed crochet pattern tells us at the start to work the afghan using two strands of yarn held together. Later it tells us that when we drop the yarn we want to drop it to the wrong side.
- Assembly charts for more complicated crochet patterns
- Name of designer
Favorite Crochet Patterns
A couple of my favorite crochet patterns from this book are:
One of the things that is a little odd about the way this book is written is that the patterns don’t flow continuously from one page to the next. So Pattern #1 starts on page 4 and the photo for it is on page 5. But then on Page 6 is the start of Pattern #2 and we don’t get the rest of Pattern #1’s instructions until page 8 which is also where we get the rest of Pattern #2’s instructions. It’s not that it’s confusing or anything – the pattern instructions are really clear about where to find the rest of the instructions. It’s just a little odd.
What Would Make this Book Better
The things I like most about this crochet book are the large print font (so easy to read!), the fact that the notes are easily identifiable by a second color font, the clear photos, the large number of designs, the fact that many designs are single-color (I hate changing colors, personally, even though I love how it looks) and the terrific addition of the afghan journal at the back as described above.
The one thing that would make this book better for me personally would be a stronger introduction not only to the book but also to each blanket. For example, as an experienced crocheter I know that the Sunny Tweed worked in part by holding two yarn strands together and worked with a K hook should work up rather quickly but I’d like an intro that tells me things like that.
I’d also love it if this book had a page at the beginning or end showing thumbnail photos of all of the blankets in the book. This is something that you see more in magazines than in crochet books but I’ve seen it in books before and I think it’s an asset.
Other Leisure Arts Crochet Afghan Publications:
Afghans for All Seasons, 2009, 52 blanket patterns
Who have you crocheted a blanket for in the past? Who would you like to make one for in the future?