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Book Review: Contemporary Crochet – 37 European Designs by Sys Fredens

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Crocheted clothing is generally associated with… well, hippies, earth mothers, and the like. While knits are all over, “crochets” are rarely seen. Sys Fredens’s Contemporary Crochet: 37 European Designs seeks to change this. And while the patterns are certainly modern and wearable, for the most part, they are not particularly exciting.

Some of the better patterns include: “Sweater With Wide Collar,” the cover look; “Wide Neck Top” which is a casual sweater with a neckline that slips down one shoulder; “Wraparound Sweater,” in the traditional ballerina-style; “Deep V-Neck Sweater with Collar,” a pullover with a shawl collar and a neckline open to the belly button (meant to be worn over another shirt, of course). “Fishnet Stockings” are easy classics. The “Button-Collar Sweater” is a turtleneck that is bland save for the horn-shaped buttons at the neck.

“Mohair Top” is shown both with and without sleeves. The sheer, light sweater is sadly shapeless despite the lofty yarn. It somehow even manages to look bulky. Two shawl patterns are offered – one in standard single crochet, the other in a shell pattern. Both are virtually identical. A third shawl, “Fringed Fleece Shawl,” isn’t really crocheted at all – it uses a store-bought piece of fleece with a touch of fringe at the edges. It’s a great, quick project, but it really isn’t a crocheted shawl. “Matching Cap, Scarf and Mittens” is made with super bulky rainbow yarn that looks like you are wearing a mountain of jelly beans – in a good way. “Sun Hat” is made with a shell pattern, floppy brim, and a romantic ribbon tied around it.

“A-Line Skirt” is a simple summery piece, with two stripes at the hem. The pattern calls for wool, but I think it would work much better for the season in a linen or cotton. “Three Tier Skirt” is another frothy mohair creation. The multiple shades of blue make it look like the ocean – again, in a good way. “Summer Top With Shoulder Bands” offers straps that go across the shoulders like cap sleeves as opposed to over the shoulders. “V-Neck Dress” is shapeless and dull, as is the “Side to Side Sweater.” “Shaw Collared Jacket” is bulky and unflattering. The “Tunisian Jacket” is the same cut, less bulky, but just as unflattering.

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