Book Review: Crochet Kaleidoscope, by Sandra Eng

Book Review: Crochet Kaleidoscope: Shifting Shapes and Shades Across 100 Motifs, by Sandra Eng

Interweave Press: $24.95


If you enjoy crocheting with motifs and love color, then Crochet Kaleidoscope is a book you need to check out! From the cover all the way through to the end of the book, every page boast beautiful color that is a feast for the eyes. 


The book begins with excellent information on how to pick and combine your colors for your crochet projects. Even if you aren’t a motif/granny square person, the color information is very helpful for other designs. Sandra touches lightly on color theory, and includes some excellent tools & apps in the back of the book to explore this topic even further.

There are many different motif shapes: circles, squares, triangles, hexagons, and flower shape. Each motif is beautifully photographed, and includes a written pattern with helpful notes, as well as a stitch diagram for those who prefer the visuals.


Each motif in the book was crocheted using the 54 colors of Cascade Yarns Ultra Pima cotton yarn. I think this helps to give a lot of clear and consistent stitch definition throughout the book.


 If you are looking for some fun designs using these motifs, Sandra provides 5 projects in the back of the book which include a rug, a shawl, a pillow, a blanket & a table runner. My favorite is the Solstice Pillow. I just love the way the use of the different hues of these colors combine and dazzle the eyes. I'm so glad this book is now officially a part of my crochet library!

I will be giving away a copy of Crochet Kaleidoscope! To be entered, send me an e-mail at bonniebay@me.com and say "ENTER ME!" I will post the winner on my Bonnie Bay Crochet Facebook page on Friday, Feb. 23rd, 2018.

[I was given a copy of this book to review, but was not compensated monitarily in any way. The opinions expressed in the review are mine.]



Cable Crochet Made Easy

by Bonnie Barker

Available from Amazon.com $24.95 


I am so very excited to tell you about this project which is near and dear to my heart! I’ve always wanted to write and publish a crochet book that would offer crocheters as much instructional help as possible, and because of the technological world we now live in, I can. In this book, Cable Crochet Made Easy, you will find clear, slightly larger print for the written pattern instructions, PLUS links to complete video instruction for every design! That is over 17 hours of instruction, from start to finish, for both right and left-handers. You can pull up these videos on all your devices (phone, tablet, computer, etc.) where ever you have an internet or cellular connection, making your learning experience very portable.


If you have not learned to read crochet patterns, or are not very comfortable reading them, you will still be able to follow along with the videos. It is my hope that you become more comfortable reading and this is easy to do by reading the instructions row by row (or round) with the video. Once you get used to the abbreviations used, you may find that reading crochet patterns is as easy as reading text messages on your phone, or perhaps even easier!


I was so blessed to work with some of my favorite (and talented) people in my little world to make this independent publication possible. Instead of picking models that are size 2 or thinner, I was able to convince some of my family and friends (who have never modeled) to work with me. Needless to say, I'm extremely happy with the results!


One of the many highlights of the photoshoots was working with my filmmaker son, Caleb Barker while taking photos of Valerie Ennis. Valerie has had to overcome more obstacles in her young life than many of us will face in a lifetime, yet her display of God-given joy outshines most everyone else I know. My faith grows just being around this delightful lady. It is my hope that you will be blessed by her work too!


All of the designs in this book are crocheted as one piece and require almost no sewing!  The few designs that require do require seams can be easily stitched together using your crochet hook and the slip stitch. I tried to keep things as simple and flexible (size wise) as possible, yet without compromising the designs in any way.


This book introduces new cabling designs that may look complicated at first, but after following along with the video tutorial, I think you will find that they are very approachable! They are created using the crochet stitches you already know. I also used a variety of yarn weights, and brands. Some you already know and love, and others may be new. All represent some of the best yarns I've worked with over the past several years and I want to share them with you.


As always, I love to hear from you, whether it is to share a photo of your work, or to ask as question about a design. 


Available from Amazon.com $24.95 



Book Review: Modern Tapestry Crochet, by Alessandra Hayden


I can honestly say that Modern Tapestry Crochet, by Alessandra Hayden ($22.99), is one of the most original crochet books I have had the pleasure to review! Modern Tapestry Crochet presents some very beautiful and creative color work in crochet and the best part is that each pattern is VERY approachable to any crocheter who can crochet single crochets evenly.  That's a win-win for beginners and seasoned crocheters alike!

The directions for how to crochet across, working only in the back loop for the stunning effects of these designs, is clearly explained in easy to read diagrams.

If you aren't a fan of hiding all those loose strands from the color changes, no problem!  These easily convert to beautiful fringe on several of the projects.

An additional perk is the stunning photography that we have all come to expect from Interweave. This book has a wonderful southwestern flavor that makes you feel as if you are really there.

Hayden's book has something for everyone on your list: cowls, hats, scarfs, headbands, mitts, bags, shawls, throws, and even footies!

The more challenging thing about Modern Tapestry Crochet is deciding which project to crochet first.

Many of the projects are small enough to complete with leftovers from your stash, such as the mitts or headband. That would be a quick and easy way to give this technique a try! I am giving one copy away today (Monday, August 7th, 2017). If you would like to enter, just send me at e-mail to bonniebay@me.com and say "ENTER ME!" The winner will be announced tomorrow morning (Tuesday, August 8th).


BOOK REVIEW: Classic Crochet Shawls, from the editors at Interweave


Classic Crochet Shawls, from the editors at Interweave, $22.99 

This new book by Interweave is a compilation of 20 lovely shawls by many top crochet designers, including Kathryn White, Sara Kay Hartmann, Beth Nielsen, MaryJane Hall, Kristin Omdahl and Karen Whooley, just to name a few.  You may have already seen some of these designs in previous books or perhaps in Interweave Magazine.

Page 102: Torchlight Shawl, by Jennifer Raymond) 

As the time for my son’s wedding approaches, this book came in a timely manner to help me decided just what to make to wear with my dress for this wonderful day!

Page 84: Orchid Faroese Shawl, by Kristin Omdahl 

Most of these designs are very approachable, and an easy to read stitch diagram is included to help you understand visually how the stitches are related.

Page 42: Tres Chic Neck Warmer, by MaryJane Hall 

As you would expect from Interweave, the photography in this book is stunning!  Even if you don’t crochet, this would be a lovely table book for anyone to enjoy!

Page 76: Dover, by Sara Kay Hartmann 

The designs use a variety of yarns from lace weight, fingering, sport to chunky, but most designs in this book use the thinner yarns. If these lighter weight yarns are new to you, I encourage you to jump in and give them a try. They often provide a lovely drape and feel, especially if using natural fibers.

Page 6: Eolande, by Kathryn White 

As I was studying this book, trying to do the impossible by picking my favorite design, I settled on a few that stood out above the rest (of course, according to my personal preferences).  These were Eolande (p. 6), and Emergence (p. 16) by my friend Kathryn White. Kathryn is the master of using thread to create beautiful, wearable crocheted garments. I especially love the added beads which add beauty and weight to both of her designs.

Page 16: Emergence, by Kathryn White 

Flying Broomstick Lace Shawl, by Brenda K.B. Andersen is also on my favorites list. I just love the way she combined the gentle clusters of stitches and broomstick. Of course the emerald green color is stunning! What do you think?

Page 54: Flying Broomstick Lace Shawl, by Brenda K.B. Andersen 

I will be giving a free copy of Classic Crochet Shawls at random (drawing on Saturday, July 8, EST). To be entered, please send me an e-mail and simply say, “ENTER ME!” and your name will be included in the drawing. I will announce the winner on my Bonnie Bay Crochet Facebook page as well as contact directly by e-mail. I wish you all the very best!


A Garden of Shawls, by Karen Whooley


I am so happy to introduce Karen's new book to you:  A Garden of Shawls! This is Karen Whooley's first indy-published book under "Occhi Blu Press", and is filled with delightful shawls to crochet. 


Like this beautiful shawl named "Breeze," all of these designs are very approachable for all crocheters, even for beginners! Karen also includes very clear stitch diagrams to hellp you through edgings as pictured above, so there is no doubt as to where to crochet your next stitch. I also like the clear and easy to read print of the directions.


The names of these designs, including the above "Enchantment" shawl, were inspired by Karen's love of Italian lace, as well as the simple pleasure of walking in a garden. How fitting for the photography to reflect just that!



Of course you can't have a garden without the sun, hence "Solar" shawl...


As I peruse this book, I am so thankful for the picture style table of contents at the front which makes finding the designs so quick and easy!  This shawl is called "Briar," which isn't prickly at all, especially when worked using an elegant lace-weight yarn. 


Foliole, crocheted in an early spring green, has a lovely leaf-like texture, and a beautiful edging...



One thing I absolutely LOVE about most of these shawls, is that they can also be worn as scarves! The scarf/shawl above is called "Incipient."


I really love the look of "Ecliptic", and find my self hard-pressed to pick out my favorite design from this book, especially since they all have such unique features.


But since I enjoy adventure with my crochet hook, I think I will start with "Palisade". Just the name alone reminds me of my family travels in Rome, plus I would be learning a new crochet technique with the fence-like edging.

There are 4 more beautiful shawl designs in this book to enjoy. You can purchase a copy of Karen's book from Amazon here. It is available as a book or as an e-book.

I will be giving one e-book copy away (courtesy of Karen Whooley)! To be entered, just send an e-mail to bonniebay@me.com and simply say "ENTER ME!"  I will post the winner of this e-book tomorrow, April 8th.