As someone who often doesn't have the attention span for larger projects, I have long been a fan of the "One-Skein Wonders" series, edited by Judith D...moreAs someone who often doesn't have the attention span for larger projects, I have long been a fan of the "One-Skein Wonders" series, edited by Judith Durant and published by Storey. We all have those single skeins of yarn kicking around -- leftovers from another project, perhaps, or expensive yarns we could only justify buying one of -- and these books contain patterns for dozens of items using these small amounts of yarn.
While the other "One-Skein" books have included crochet projects, this is the first one devoted entirely to crochet. The book contains 101 patterns for all kinds of projects -- there are the scarves and hats one would expect, of course, but also pouches and other bags of various sizes; felted items; fingerless gloves; doll clothes; baby items; household items such as pillows, doilies, and tea cozies; toys; jewelry; and even a couple of adult-sized shrugs (obviously, with only a single skein of yarn, adult-sized garments are, largely, out of the question!). The patterns do not fall into crochet stereotypes, either -- while they obviously build on traditional motifs, there is much more here than just granny squares and shell stitch. There are many items here that I would LOVE to make and own; one of my favorites is the Sunflower Pillow (pictured on the upper left corner of the cover), which takes advantage of a gradient yarn to create a striking design. I also am in love with the various toys in the book, especially the adorable Sam the Big-Bottomed Bunny.
As with the others titles in the series, this book is arranged by yarn weight, from thread all the way up through bulky. While some patterns call for expensive or otherwise hard-to-find yarns, plenty of patterns are crocheted using craft-store brands such as Caron, Red Heart, and Lion Brand, as well as yarn store staples like Berroco and Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride; the arrangement of the book by yarn weight makes it easy to substitute yarns.
I have only rudimentary crochet skills, and while many of the patterns in the book are far beyond my skills, there are a few that I could make easily. In general, though, the book seems to be aimed at people who are at least at an advanced-beginner level; I would recommend that a beginner consult a different book for instruction before tackling any of the projects here. There is a brief, illustrated glossary of terms in the back, but this is a pattern book, not a technique book.
While I am not a skilled crocheter, this book makes me want to be one, and it certainly deserves space on the shelf of any crocheter looking for fun, quick projects.
Review copy received from Storey via NetGalley.(less)
The year is 1845, and 24-year-old Hannah Price spends her nights watching the stars from the widow's walk of her modest Nantucket home. She has spent...moreThe year is 1845, and 24-year-old Hannah Price spends her nights watching the stars from the widow's walk of her modest Nantucket home. She has spent her life in the company of her father and her twin brother, fixing chronometers and scanning the heavens; what she dreams of is to discover a comet and thus win the King of Denmark's Prize. But in this mid-nineteenth century Quaker community, there is no room for a woman to pursue her scientific dreams. When her brother and father leave the island, Hannah is faced with the prospect of abandoning her studies and her dreams.
In Hannah, debut novelist Amy Brill has created a thoughtful, plucky heroine based on the real-life "lady astronomer" Maria Mitchell. Hannah does, eventually, make her long-anticipated discovery and earn her way into the astronomical community, but not before sullying her reputation due to a relationship with Isaac Martin, a black sailor, and cutting her ties with the Quakers. The Movement of Stars reminded me very much of Tracy Chevalier's Remarkable Creatures, another based-on-a-true-story novel about a self-taught female scientist struggling to find her way in a male-dominated profession in a time when women did not even have the vote. In both books, I appreciated the glimpse into the lives of these great female thinkers, and seeing how difficult it was not only to make their voices heard, but simply to be able to pursue their intellectual goals at all -- something many of us take for granted today, I think. For me, though, where Brill's novel lost some of its strength was in its predictable, somewhat trite romance between Hannah and Isaac; using it as a plot device to drive Hannah's Path to Self-Discovery seemed, to me, to be the easy way out.
Still, though, I found the book to be absorbing and enjoyable; in addition to the main plot, I also appreciated the look at Nantucket society at a time when it was very much in flux, changing from an old whaling port to the seaside summertime haven it is today.
ARC received as part of First Flights, the Penguin Debut Author Program(less)