Category Archives: Book Reviews

Beastly Crochet: Book Review and Giveaway

Beastly Crochet by Brenda K.B. Anderson


During her day job, Brenda designs costumes for Sesame Street live and various sports teams mascots. Her professional expertise shines through in Beastly Crochet, with 23 colorful, quirky projects with include small details that take them up a notch. There’s a wide variety of projects, including garments, accessories, and toys, but it’s the last chapter, Special Topics, that may be most valuable for crocheters who want to learn how to make finished pieces that express their own personalities.

Patterns are written, using North American terminology. Garments include schematics, colorwork charts are provided for relevant projects, and some diagrams for embroidery and embellishment are included. Helpful notes are given for each pattern, with tips on techniques and yarn substitution as needed (for example: “if you are planning on substituting yarn, know that this yarn is a heavier worsted weight and is a bit stiffer than some worsted weight yarns”).  Accessible for adventurous beginners and intermediate level crocheters.

One copy of Beastly Crochet is being given away here on the Knit Edge blog! The book giveaway runs from August 20 – 25, 2014, and is open to US residents. Enter to win by commenting with what your favorite color for a monster is (or make one up – this is just so we can filter out the spam robots).

See all the projects on Ravelry: Beastly Crochet

Beastly Crochet
By Brenda K. Anderson
Interweave/F+W Media; $18.05

Powell’s and Amazon links below are affiliate links; Cooperative Press receives a small percentage of each sale made via those links.

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Arm Knitting: Book Review and Giveaway


I’ve seen a lot of books and articles that promise you a quick project, or a great way to use up single skeins and oddballs. Many of these projects are either very small (like a baby hat) or consider a weekend to be plenty of time for “quick.” Within an hour after reading Arm Knitting, I’d made a wrap, using yarn from my
stash. I was aiming for a cowl, but I had so much fun it wound up being too long! Now that I’ve got the technique (the step-by-step photos are nice and big and easy to follow), I think I’m going to try making the Shaped Shawl.

This technique is the super quick, major stashbuster I can really use right now, and Mary Beth explains it all really clearly. The projects are fun, and all use Lion Brand Yarn (easy to find at craft stores). You could whip up a scarf as a grad gift in favorite team or school colors in an hour, start to finish! Mary Beth also has video tutorials that walk you through the techniques, including Arm Knitting for Knitters [], in which she uses familiar knitting terminology (arm knitting is just different enough to be confusing).

Design Originals is giving away a copy of Arm Knitting, and you can enter to win from August 6 – 15, 2014. Enter by leaving a comment on when you need a really quick to make gift (so we know you aren’t a spambot). Open to US residents. This giveaway is now closed.

Arm Knitting: How to Make a 30-Minute Infinity Scarf and Other Great Projects
Mary Beth Temple
ISBN 978-1-57421-945-6
Paperback $9.99
May 2014



In the Loop: Book Review

A shorter version of this review was published in issue #4 of Knit Edge – here on the blog, MK Carroll tells you a little more about why In the Loop is on her bookshelf.

In the Loop: Knitting Now

In the Loop: Knitting Now

In the Loop: Knitting Now
Jessica Hemmings (ed.)
Black Dog Publishing

While I browsed the shelves at Powell’s Books, a copy of In the Loop nearly fell off the shelf into my hands. Less than a minute later, it was in my “to buy” stack – this was a book I didn’t know I was looking for.

An eclectic collection of diverse perspectives including academics, artists, and historians, In the Loop is fun to just flip through as well as to sit down and read deeply. There’s an essay on contemporary knit lit by Jo Turney, photo essays including Jeanette Sendler’s Finding Your Way Home and Deirdre Nelson’s Quiet Activism (both of which have modern takes on traditional Shetland knitting), and Annie Shaw’s Looking Backwards to Knit Forwards, a response to the history of ganseys via machine knitting, and much more. Accessible and approachable, you don’t need to be an academic to be able to enjoy In the Loop. Although the book is organized so that you can do a start-to-finish read coherently, what I enjoyed was flipping back and forth through the book, looking at the different projects, and then reading the text as it caught my fancy. This will stay on my bookshelf for a while, as I think it holds up well to being revisited.

Powell’s | Indiebound

The review copy of this book was purchased at retail price by the reviewer. Cooperative Press gets a small percentage of each sale made through the Powell’s affiliate link above.

Crochet at Play: Book Review and Giveaway

Crochet at Play by Kat Goldin

Crochet at Play by Kat Goldin

(Cooperative Press Assistant Editor MK Carroll here – we’ll be sharing more book reviews from the Knit Edge “What We’re Reading” column, and we’re kicking it off today with a review of Crochet at Play!)

Kat Goldin has been busy. In addition to maintaining her blog (, she launched an online magazine, The Crochet Project, with Joanne Scrace earlier this year, ran Crochet Camp over the summer, and will launch Knit Camp 2014 early next year. Her new book, Crochet at Play, recently hit bookshelves, and it’s packed with fun projects for kids that you can hook up in a weekend.

If you are already familiar with Kat’s design work, you’ll recognize her sweet, playful, and practical designs immediately. The garments and accessories are both whimsical and wearable, like the Mermaid Tail for newborns and the Wolf cabled cardigan. My personal favorite pattern is the Beastie Feet slippers, which I plan to crochet for my niece. She would like to have a polar bear for the winter holidays, please, but I’m pretty sure we’d all prefer she pretends to be a baby polar bear instead!

Crochet at Play by Kat Goldin Book Trailer from Kat Goldin on Vimeo.

The details:
Patterns are divided into 4 chapters: Head and Shoulders (includes hats, a crown, and a baby shawl), Fingers, Knees, and Toes (slippers, mittens, leg warmers, mermaid tail, and tutu skirt), Whole Self (cardigans, vests, tunic, and dress), and The Play Room (rug, pillow, blankets, and a hobby horse). The book includes a section on Getting Started (tips on yarns to use, yarn substitution, supplies you’ll need, and information about sizing), as well as Techniques and Basic Stitches, great for refreshing your memory if you are new to crochet or haven’t used a crochet pattern for a while.

The pattern instructions in this version use US/Canada crochet terminology (Crochet at Play has also been published in the UK by Kyle Books). If you are looking for pattern errata, you’ll want to keep the differences in US and UK terminology in mind and be sure you are looking at errata for the version of the book you have. Skill levels are given for each pattern, rated ‘beginner’ or ‘intermediate.’ All patterns have written instructions; there are no charts. Finished measurements are given; there are no schematics. Each pattern is accompanied by beautiful color photos of the finished pieces.

Ravelry: Crochet at Play

CROCHET AT PLAY: Fun Hats, Scarves, Clothes, and Toys for Kids to Enjoy
by Kat Goldin
Running Press – Paperback – 144 pages
ISBN: 9780762451005

The giveaway:
The US publisher, Running Press, is sponsoring a giveaway! For your chance to win a print copy of Crochet at Play, comment here to tell us which project from this book you would crochet first, or what you like to crochet for kids in general (we just need to be able to separate out the comment spam robots). Giveaway opens Friday, 22 November 2013, 9:00 AM EST, and closes next Tuesday, 25 November 2013 at midnight EST. A random number generator will be used to select the winner, who will be contacted by MK Carroll. This giveaway is United States only (international readers, keep an eye out – when Knit Edge issue #5 launches, we’ll have something just for you!).

(the giveaway is now closed and the winner has been notified – MK)