Japanese Craft Book Review: Kyuuto! Lacy Crochet

Posted on by MK Carroll

Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts Lacy Crochet from Chronicle Books

Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts!: Lacy Crochet: Lacy Crochet (Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts)
Chronicle Books San Francisco
ISBN 978-0-8118-6058-1
$14.95 US
originally published in Japan as Kawaii Resu Ami Zakka, by SHUFU-TO-SEIKATSUSHA (popular Japanese lifestyle magazine)

I'd show you snapshots of some of the project instruction pages, but I think I'd really be pushing the fair use for review purposes - you'd be able to make the project from just one page. I'm already a fan of the way Japanese craft books are laid out and the way the instructions are shown; to have it in a language I can read is fantastic. I got my book as a holiday gift (the buyer used Amazon - I haven't seen it in local bookstores yet).

After recovering from the kawaii!-induced blindness, I've taken a closer look at the book, and while I am still so happy with it that I still do a little wiggle-dance of joy when thinking about it, there are a couple of points that I would not have let escape my attention in other publications.

1. Yarn - or rather, lace thread, which is probably why the book is called Lacy Crochet but not all the projects are lace. All of the patterns call for lace thread, which, as it happens, can be found in different thicknesses, fibers, textures, and so on. I cannot find any recommendations in the book for a specific lace thread. Cotton crochet thread, pearl cotton, tatting thread, and fine-gauge yarns are all possible substitutes; I'm thinking that Hemp For Knitting allhemp3 would be a good choice for many of the patterns. If you are looking for the specific thread used in the book projects, you are on your own.

2. Gauge: the lack thereof. Hook sizes are given, but no gauge measurements. You can reverse-engineer gauge for the projects, thanks to the clear photos and schematics. Most of the projects won't suffer from being a little larger or smaller, though.

3. Notions: where to find.  The coin purse calls for a metal purse frame measuring 3" wide, 1.6" tall (7.5 x 4 cm), with 26 holes. has similar purse frames, but nothing with those specific dimensions. also has similar purse frames, and a selection of lace thread (specializes in crochet beadwork). UPDATE: Thanks to Cleo in the comments, who posted that the yarn is Olympus Emmy Grande HERBS, which is the equivalent of US size 20 thread. I poked around and the Saucy Louise shop (run by an English speaker living in Japan) carries Olympus Emmy Grande HERBS in several colors. 3Dpatternpaper, an Etsy seller based in Hong Kong, carries 7cm coin purse frames with 24 holes and 8cm frames with 28 holes. I think it might be possible to use either frame and work out a way to sew the purse body on that won't be just like the instructions but close enough.

On the plus side, though, I have also noted that there is a section showing the symbols used with step-by-step instructions (text and illustrations) for each symbol and the techniques used in the book.

There's also a good number of projects here, and some of them can be done relatively quickly even though the gauge is fine (the coin purse, for example, and the baby shoes).

Part 1: Small Crafts for Interiors
Pot Holders
Tissue Box Cover/Placemat
Jar Covers
Baby Shoes 1 Ties
Baby Shoes 2 Straps
Doily 1 Round
Doily 2 Square
Multipurpose Cover

Part 2: Private Time for Favorite Handicrafts
Lace Basket
Scissors Case
Hook Case
Braid 1 Ribbon
Braid 1 Edging
Braid 3 Ringlet

Part 3: Fashionable Items for Everyday Life
Mobile Phone Case
Corsage 1 Gerbera
Corsage 2 Rose
Potpourri Sachet 1 Flowers
Potpourri Sachet 2 Leaves
Coin Purse
Decorative Strings 1 Balls
Decorative Strings 2 Tassels
Mini Bag 1 Petals
Mini Bag 2 Buttons

Pattern Lesson 1
Crocheting Rings of Circles Round Doily

Pattern Lesson 2
Crocheting a Flat Pattern from a Chained Cast-on
Square Doily

Lacy Crochet Techniques
How to Thread Over and Hold a Hook
How to Make the First Stitch
Making Chain Stitches
Cast-on Foundation
Picking Up a Stitch
Stitch Techniques and Symbols/Abbreviations
Using the Symbols/Abbreviations Chart