Wrap it up and scarf it up with Kristin Omdahl’s book “Wrapped in Crochet: Scarves, Wraps and Shawls.”
The book’s scarf section features several boas, a chevron pattern and a hairpin lace design. Instructions for hairpin lace are included in the book. Hairpin lace is done on a U-shaped device to create long, loopy strands that are then crocheted together.
The scarf design in the book I found most appealing is called “Labyrinth,” done in single crochet in squares and bands worked in multicolors.
An especially lovely design in the Wraps section of the book is called “Gali,” an infinity motif done in merino yarn in shades of blue and green.
The outstanding design in the Shawls section is “Stella,” a cobwebby circular garment that resembles a very overgrown pinwheel-pattern doily done in black yarn.
Omdahl, a self-taught crocheter, designs knit and crocheted garments. Her designs have been featured in a variety of needlework magazines and books.
“Wrapped in Crochet” will appeal to those who have crochet experience, though the instructions for the designs are clear and detailed.
The one minus I find with the book, which seems to afflict all the needlework books discussed in this column, is type size — it requires me to squint or use magnifying glasses in order to read it. I can’t discern a reason for choosing such a small font for the books because a great deal of white, blank space is left unfilled on every page.
In “Knitted Jackets: 20 Designs from Classic to Contemporary” by Cheryl Oberle, the designs are imaginative and interesting. Three Sisters and Rachel’s Jacket are the two in the book I was most attracted to.
Three Sisters is knit with a stockinette stitch body, a cable panel and garter stitch borders. It has a one-button, asymmetric closure below the waist.
Rachel’s Jacket is knit in stockinette stitch in mohair yarn, one brushed and one loopy, to give the garment a boucle texture. The jacket has a single button closure well below the waistline.
Both designs conjure the offbeat and the bohemian.
“Blueprint Crochet: Modern Designs for the Visual Crocheter” by Robyn Chachula offers a potpourri of patterns from earrings to a dress. The designs that caught my eye in the book are the Julie Cuff bracelet, which buttons around the wrist; the Maureen Tunic, a quick stitch project crafted in linen in French blue, cream and aqua; the Maggie Wrap Top done in lacy motifs in bamboo and silk blend yarn; and the Paige Sweetheart Top crocheted in bamboo yarn.
Directions for the projects in the book are given in graphic, not written, mode — which makes sense since Chachula is a former structural engineer turned crochet designer. Once you grasp the idea of following the design “blueprint,” it’s easy to do and easier to follow than written directions.
And for knitters who like the influence of romance and fairy tales in what they craft to wear, take a look at “French Girl Knits” by Kristeen Griffin-Grimes. The designs are youthful and figure-flattering, and use seamless construction techniques with how-tos explained in the book. Designs that will have you reaching for circular needles to indulge in lace knitting patterns are Satine, a floaty tunic tank; Delphine, a lacy cap-sleeve top; Niobe, a lacy bell-sleeve pullover; Celeste, a mohair lingerie wrap; and Veronique, an airy wrap.
Grimes’ French Girl pattern line is sold internationally and was inspired by her mother, a jazz vocalist of Cajun descent.
Order these books from your local bookstore or ask for them at your public library.
• A By Hand reader is seeking someone willing to lend her a copy of the Spring 2008 issue of Interweave Knits magazine, which contains the pattern Flutter Sleeve Cardigan by Pam Allen. If you have the magazine to lend, e-mail Georgia at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 654-2004.
• Put yourself in stitches. The Unity Community Market will offer free workshops in quilting, felting, knitting and crocheting 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21 and 28, at the Unity Community Center, 32 School St. A yarn and fabric exchange also will be part of the day’s activities. Attendees may bring their own needlework projects to work on.
Vendors at the event will offer knit goods, baked goods, locally grown beef and lamb, crafts, used books, jewelry, homemade soap, Mexican cocoa, products for moms and babies, woodenware, chutneys, jams and jellies.
A soup luncheon will be served at a cost of $3.
The event is sponsored by the Unity Barn Raisers.
• Interweave has launched www.spinoffmagazine.com, a Web site for hand-spinners. The site “focuses on engagement and community building through sharing of photographs, spinning videos, blogs, forums, free spinning tutorials and more.”
• Visit www.craftandfabriclinks.com/free_sewing_patterns.html for many free patterns for all sorts of sewing projects.
• Need quick curtains? Visit www.savvyseams.com/apt/ to find free patterns.