200 Fun Things to Crochet edited by Victoria Lyle
200 Fun Things to Crochet is a collection of five previous titles from Search Press – 100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet and 75 Birds, Butterflies & Beautiful Beasties to Knit & Crochet by Lesley Stanfield, 75 Shells, Corals & Sea Creatures by Jessica Polka, 50 Sunflowers to Knit, Crochet & Felt by Kristin Nicholas and 75 Crocheted Floral Blocks by Betty Barnden. With a large focus on floral designs, it takes the crochet sections from each of these books to collate 200 projects boarding from simple and ready for beginners through to more complicated designs fit for improvers and advanced crocheters.
With 200 patterns you certainly get a lot for your money (it works out at 7p per pattern!), but the main issue is that there is little uniformity between how the different books that have been brought together have been designed. Individually they are fantastic patterns, don’t get me wrong, but with some flowers looking realistic and some looking more like cartoonish versions of their real counterparts, it feels a little off. For instance, the fuchsias and foxgloves from a distance look as if they could be real, they’re exquisite (and quite straight forward, too!) but there’s a selection of sunflowers that look flat and lifeless, compared to others that look realistic and stunning.
The rest of the projects – ranging from small insects and bugs to corals and fish – are great, with some really fun looking projects that with whet your appetite. Another issue, however, comes from the final section, the floral blocks, made for use within blankets and other larger projects, they simply don’t really fit within the context of the other items, that are all made to be toys or 3D items. This book could have benefitted from being 150 fun things instead of 200, standing stronger without this section.
The invention behind these blocks, and the rest of the patterns at that, are great, however. While they don’t sit well with this book, the original book they come from would be worth a look, there’s roughly 50 of the 75 patterns within this book.
The point of this collection, of course, is to take the crochet sections of the five books and bring them together so those that don’t knit or felt don’t miss out on half of the book they have just bought. A little thought could have, perhaps, been given to the projects that were included to make sure they worked together in a uniform way.
My other main issue comes from the way in which some of the patterns have been written. On trying a few of the patterns the phrasing can be a little confusing, but this is also down to personal preference. I find the phrasing clunky and hard to follow compared to previous books.
200 Fun Things to Crochet is available from Search Press for £14.99.