I've been meaning to chat about this book with you for months and months as I bought it way back in the Spring, but somehow I just haven't found the time to do it before now. But as I mentioned the other day, I'm on a mission to catch up with myself re my hooky endeavours and I've got some lovely bits and bobs to share with you.
So this book then....Cute and Easy Crochet written by Nicki Trench. It's always a little gamble ordering a book from Amazon when you're not quite sure if the contents are going to really twang the old creative heart strings. Sometimes the cover image can look inviting but the projects inside don't quite measure up. Not so with this book. It's quite simply GORGEOUS from cover to cover.
There are 35 projects in the book, and almost every one is guaranteed to bring forth an ooooh or aaahhhhh or wwwoooowww.
It's incredibly inspring, makes you want to start crocheting first thing in the morning and not stop until last thing at night.
It makes you want to crochet things just for the pure joy of it. Do I need another crochet bag? Probably not, but oooooh that one is just soooooo cute!
There are one or two familiar projects in this book. Things that remind me of my own style of hooky.
The colours are softer than my own choices, but the style is definitely familiar.
Yes, definitely right up my street.
The styling and photography throughout the book is sublime, with each crochet project sitting in beautiful surroundings. There is a touch of shabby chic about it, with pale distressed furniture mixed up with quirky accessories. I love it. I love the whole look and feel of this book, and just flicking through the pages is enough to make one sigh with pleasure.
Many of the projects in the book are made using Laughing Hens "Rooster" yarn, and this defines the overall style and colour palette. They are kind of soft, but not pale. Think pretty vintage rather than sweet icecream or baby pastel.
This is page 97 and when I landed here my oooooohs and aaaaahhs and woooowwws definitely went up a notch. How totally, fabulously adorable are these sweet little Russian dolls? They almost took my breath away with their cute little flowers and sweet little headscarves. Awwwwwwwwww!!
The very uselessness of them appealed to me enormously, I have a definite weakness for decorative but useless crochet items (bunting falls into this category). I couldn't wait to get started.
These sweet dolls are worked from the bottom up and they are made in traditional amigurumi style ie by working the rows round in a continuous spiral. It took me a while to get used to this idea as I hadn't ever done it before, but it's not that difficult. Two things I learnt the hard way ::
1. when the pattern instructs you to place a stitch marker at the beginning of each round, you should really take note and do as you are told.
2. Concentration and the ability to keep count are essential when making these little things, you cannot easily wing it.
There are four sizes of doll (large, medium, small and tiny) and I chose to start out with Miss Medium. As you can see, I couldn't bring myself to use white for her body so she was given a pink top instead.
You can see her white crochet face (the small white circle) sitting there on the page too, awaiting some embroidered features. Actually stitching the faces was quite a challenge, it's harder than it looks to embroider eyes and a mouth and make it look smiley rather than grimace-like. I can also tell you that when the pattern tells you to "press face" you should do it cos it makes a big difference. It's worth the trouble of getting the iron out before you try and stitch.
This is Mrs Large, all stuffed up and waiting for face and decorative details. Oh how I LOVED making the Decorative Details!! I mean, I did enjoy the challenge of working and shaping the body and creating those ingenious little headscarf ties, but really in my mind the project was ALL about The Flowery Bit.
It gave me a ridiculous amount of pleasure to prettify these little Babushkas. The combination of crochet flowers (teeeeeeeeny tiny, worked on a 2.5 mm hook) with embroidered detail (chain stitches mainly) was a complete joy to work on.
I could have gone on and on and on covering these dolls in flowers, stems and leaves but the trick is knowing how much is enough. Deciding when to stop is often harder than it seems.
So here we have them, my three little Babushka dolls, Ta-dah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mrs Large, Miss Medium and Little Miss Small........
......sitting happily on my mantel, smiling their sweet embroidered smiles.
I confess to having a soft spot for Little Miss Small. Her neatness and smallness is captivating.
But she does have a tendency to keep diving head first off the mantel and into the coal bucket. Naughty Little Miss.