The mornings and evenings contain a bit of a chill now, and that’s a sure sign fall is not so very far away. It’s also the time when a new crop of needlecraft books show up on my desk.

No matter whether you have crocheted for years or picked up a hook only a week ago, crocheters will find “The Crocheter’s Companion: Revised and Updated” by Nancy Brown a helpful friend to have nearby.

Beginners will find easy-to-follow information about crochet basics such as tools, yarns and gauge, how to read crochet instructions, basic stitches and techniques.

Crochet veterans will find useful information and instruction on advanced techniques such as Aran, Irish, filet, multicolored and ruffle crochet.

In addition, the book contains how-tos for creating and working with motifs and medallions, Tunisian crochet (called “the afghan stitch” in my day), decorative finishings such as edgings, cords and buttons, finishing techniques and helpful hints.

Helpful hints also show up in rectangular boxes sprinkled throughout the text. My favorite, so far, is “The length of the yarn required to complete a row is approximately two to four times the length of the row, depending on the stitch being used.”

The book, which costs $19.95, has a spiral binding so that it opens flat and is compact enough to fit nicely in a work bag.

New York-based author, blogger, designer and TV host Brett Bara collaborated with more than dozen crochet designers to create “Crochet at Home: 25 Clever Projects for Colorful Living.” The emphasis is on colorful items, decorative and useful, to enhance one’s living space.

The book is divided into three sections: Bright and Modern Living Room, Tranquil Bedroom and Colorful Kitschy Kitchen, and features projects that beginners and experienced crocheters will enjoy.

Those who enjoy crocheting and connecting motifs will want to try the Happy Hexagons Throw. The author includes tips for choosing strong colors for this project.

Crocheters who like to stitch on the wild find may be attracted to the Lace and Wire Bowl crocheted in copper wire and embellished with glass beads.

The Snowflake and Owl Buntings projects are perfect for any season of the year, whether hanging in a child’s room or creating a festive party note in a living room.

The Filet Zigs and Zags afghan project would make a perfect gift for a family member or as a donation to favorite charity. Or use a lightweight crochet cotton and the pattern can be adapted to become a window curtain.

Doilies traditionally are for tables, the Chunky Doily Rug design will convince crocheters that doilies, when worked in wool with three strands held together, can add a note of charm to a floor.

At $22.95, the book has both text and chart instructions, many illustrations and helpful notes for each design.

“Blueprint Crochet: Techniques for Custom Construction” by designer Robin Chachula is a basics crochet design class in book form. It aims to give readers “a deeper understanding of how to create projects that reflect your own personal style.” The book focuses on sweater and garment construction and how to make garments that fit.

Chachula divides the book into Classic Construction, garments constructed of panels that are sewn together; Top-Down and in-the-round Construction, which requires minimal seaming; Granny Motif Construction, which gives a seamless look; and Unique Construction, when the designer wants the stitch pattern or the garment shape to take center stage.

Each section offers instructions in both text and chart formats for four garments, including cardigans, a dress, pullovers, tunics, vests and other tops.

Designs that got my interest were the Cranberry Cardigan with its short sleeves and bands of lattice openwork; the rose quartz pullover, studded with cluster stitches and sporting three-quarter sleeves; the Shitake Tunic composed of lacy motifs that give it an Irish crochet mood; and the Stormy Lace Tunic, which features shell stitches to create airy garment.

Crocheters who want to take their crocheting to a new level will want to add this book, which costs $24.95, to their libraries.

For information about these books, inquire at your local bookstore or visit


The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association’s 37th annual Common Ground Country Fair will be held Sept. 20-22, in Unity. Fiber enthusiasts will want to visit the Fleece Tent 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday-Saturday, and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, where informal fiber talks and demonstrations will take place throughout the weekend.

In the Wednesday Spinners tent spinning demonstrations and information will be available and there will be talks on dyeing with fresh indigo and barks, spinning techniques and other activities.

In the Pocket Park dye garden across from the Wednesday Spinners tent, the garden loom donated by Weaving a Life in Brooksville will be warped up and ready to go. All are invited to take part in weaving a new tapestry each day of the fair.

For information, visit or contact Penelope Olson at or 785-2784.

Call Ardeana Hamlin at 990-8153 or email