Uncommon Crochet is a wonderful craft book chock full of great projects and ideas using unusual fibers and techniques.  Everything is here, from learning basic crochet techniques to advanced practices. Further, Holetz gives us great patterns for sculpted crochet projects, purses and more.

Chapter one discusses building your fabric palette or what Holetz calls, ‘the stash.’  In this stash we collect various fibers; traditional cotton and wool yarns, manmade textiles, jutes and hemps, and how to select and collect remnants.  I find also that a good place to find crochet yarns and other textiles is during my monthly garage sale hunts. Holetz also discusses the use of more exotic fibers such as leather, raffia and sisal, which are thick plant fibers. She also discusses the use of fine string and thin wires. 

The rest of the chapter is dedicated to the tools of crochet.  She discusses traditional things that every crocheter has, such as hooks, gauges, yarn winders and chalk.  She devotes a section on hooks that is really worth reading.  It clears away a lot of misconception about them. She goes on to discuss hook classifications, and clarifies a great deal of confusion.  There’s a tremendous amount of information in that chapter and well worth studying.

The second chapter discusses basic techniques. Holetz provides easy step by step instructions for learning basic techniques as well as how to create projects such as purses and sculpted crocheted objects.  She also clarifies several things that I, who have crocheted for a number of years, was confused about.  So the experienced crochet artist will gain a better understanding of the techniques involved as well as provide the novice with an excellent foundation in learning the craft. And best of all, she teaches you how to read patterns, which is often the bane of every crochet artist, both the novice and the expert.

The third chapter eases you into learning new techniques, teaching how to create swatches, how to create and adjust a gauge (Something I never learned until picking up this book) how to shape your project and much more.

Chapter Four provides the artist with ideas and patterns for projects, such as the Tube Bag, the Hong Kong bag and the Jute Fillet bag.  There are other great projects in here to try.

Chapter Five gives us the basics of design.  From here you can learn how to shape and design your own projects or practice by creating several beautiful projects that are listed in this chapter.  The Strappy Clutch Bag is by far my favorite, and I can’t wait to try making one of my own this summer.

Chapter six is all about experimenting with the fibers you’ve collected and techniques you’ve learned.  There are also great projects to try out here as well, and ideas to spark the imagination and inspire creativity.

In case you haven’t already guessed, I absolutely love this book.  Although I have crocheted since 1977, I find that Holetz has given me great ideas on how to improve my art, inspire me to create new and vibrant things and how to add a personal touch to designs and projects made from textiles and leathers that I wouldn’t ordinarily use.

If you crochet, this book is a must for your craft library.


~review by: Patricia Snodgrass

Author: Julie Armstrong Holetz

Ten Speed Press, 2008

pp. 144, $19.95

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