A shorter version of this book review was originally published in Knit Edge magazine, issue #2. The review copy was purchased at full retail price. As a member of the Powell's Books Partner Program, I receive a 7.5% commission on referrals.
With decades of experience in design, textiles, and knitting, Britt-Marie Christoffersson offers up 200+ pages of striking examples of using basic knitting techniques to create eye-popping textures, color patterns, and embellishments. It’s a wonderful way for experienced knitters to reconsider the possibilities of knitting, and an exceptional way for less experienced knitters to explore how simple techniques like slipped stitches, casting on, binding off, and knitting in different directions can create interesting fabrics.
Instructions are provided for each stitch pattern in written form, accompanied by color photographs. A few of the stitch patterns are also shown worked up as cardigans, and a very simple cardigan template and brief instructions on how to use stitch pattern swatches to calculate a garment are provided. Knitters may find additional books such as Ann Budd's The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns handy for finding ways to use the stitch patterns to make wearable pieces.
Many of the stitch patterns are time-consuming and will leave the knitter with a lot of loose ends to weave in and tidy up. They are also excellent ways to use up small amounts of yarns, with striking results.
Curvy Girl Crochet goes beyond just offering patterns in larger sizes, offering tips and techniques for altering patterns to fit your body the way you want them to. The first two chapters focus on the groundwork: how to take your measurements accurately (tip: don’t use an old tape measure), how to assess yarns and patterns, and how best to make changes. The patterns include an entire wardrobe of sweaters, accessories scaled up for larger proportions, and something for every season. The Wrapt Top, a cropped lace wrap, could be a lovely accent in warm weather, while the basic, very customizable Progressive Tunic can be worn on its own or as a layering piece all year long. While the patterns may not all look like they come from the same wardrobe (and that’s intentional), yarn and color choices along with adaptations can open up a lot of possibilities. Is the Traditional Cloak too bold for you in bright blue- purple? An earthy tweed could give it a more classic countryside appeal. Looking through Ravelry projects to see how other crocheters have re-imagined the patterns is going to be a lot of fun!
Ravelry: Curvy Girl Crochet
The 25 patterns in this book range from a sparkly beaded cocktail ring (Dazzling Ring by Kazekobo) to thick, warm, cabled men’s socks (Hiking Socks by Kim Kotary) to a colorful floral motif bag (Amazing Motif Bag by Regina Rioux) - all cleverly constructed and great ways to explore crochet techniques and stitch patterns you may not be familiar with. For example, the Saturday Beret by Ellen Gormley, featured on the cover, is a visual head-turner that uses Bruges lace techniques to create a chunky texture, and the Chunky Capelet by Doris Chan employs broomstick lace. There a lot of great gift ideas here, including hats for men.
Ravelry: Clever Crocheted Accessories