Friday, October 28, 2011

Book Review: The Granny Square Book by Margaret Hubert

Granny and I have had an interesting relationship.  I'm not going to pretend to be one of those crocheters who has always been enchanted by granny squares.  For most of my life, granny squares were associated with tacky couches covered in clear plastic, saggy nylons, and the smell of mothballs.  (Perhaps I have revealed too much about my childhood. - Just kidding!!)

But seriously, it hasn't been until recently that I've see the versatility in this classic shape, the vibrant color potential, and {how fashionable granny squares can be}.  Granny's everywhere, y'all, and she's staying out late!

Image used with permission of publisher.

I can hardly believe my luck these days.  I got a review copy of The Granny Square Book: Timeless techniques & fresh ideas for crocheting square by square by *Margaret Hubert*. Margaret Hubert is a prolific crochet & knit designer, and she's been in this business since the 1960s. I heard about her on one of my favorite podcasts, Getting Loopy with Mary Beth Temple.

This book is beautiful, inspirational, and stunning.  There are 75 fresh g-square designs, and then the really exciting part- a whole section on designing with granny squares.  Some people say that all yarn crafters are designers- probably because we take patterns and switch up yarn colors, substitute yarns, and make each creation our own.  I agree with that, but there is also another level to design, which would be conceiving of an idea in your head, and figuring out how to make it real.  Pattern design could include using interesting construction techniques, and communicating those techniques so that they can be replicated.

Section by Section

Do yourself a favor- don't skip the intro section. It has some cute anecdotes from avid crocheters and familiar designers. :)  I even learned a new technique- the invisible join!

On to the designs! I LOVE square number one.  I'm seeing a gold scarf made from that one. :) These squares are very pretty and have tremendous potential. There are a lot of flower-centered motifs.  That would make a cute garden-themed blanket or handbag. Sometimes I just like to make motifs in sock yarn because they are pretty and I learn something.  Perhaps I shall try that for this book.

Here are three versions of square number one: Picot Square!  I'm doing a scarf made from these squares.

Pretty cool in this fuzzy yarn, eh?
Dare I make every single square? :)  If you want a sample, check out this post at Craftside, which includes a free sample pattern! 

You'll be happy to know that in addition to written instructions, Margaret provides clear schematics, and instructions for *half* squares in some designs.

The design section is different- in a good way!  It starts off simple, with several basic projects you can adapt using yarn and hook choice.  This is great because honestly, you can keep busy for quite a long time just doing these few simple projects.  But, of course, the section gets more in-depth and explains the process of graphing to design your granny projects.  Since we're working with squares, that makes a lot of sense!

There are progressively more intricate patterns, and each are laid out so that the crocheter *understands* them.  I remember when I first started crocheting with patterns.  It was a leap of faith.  I felt like I did when I would try a new form in origami- if I just follow these instructions, somehow I will magically come out with a form that looks like something.  With these patterns, the construction is explained, so I was able to get an idea of how it works before even beginning the project.

I particularly like the Yoga Tunic and Bag Pattern.  I may see these in my future.  I am also eying the Pillows with Panache.

Over all, it's a good book.  Lots of ideas here.  It's worth it for just the square designs, but there's so much more.

For more grannynspiration, definitely check out Sarah London, and the beautiful Things to Make and Do blog.  :)