Recently I picked up a copy of Custom Crocheted Sweaters: Make Garments That Really Fit by Dora Ohrenstein at my local library. I hadn't heard of it before, but it was on the "New" shelf and caught my eye. And I'm SO glad it did!
Custom Crocheted Sweaters is the newest book from the prolific Dora Ohrenstein. I was expecting just another pattern book, but it is so much more! There are indeed 10 fantastic sweater patterns here, which are stylish, pretty, and seem like they'll flatter many different shapes and sizes. It drives me up the wall when people say crochet isn't good for clothing, especially for adults - they couldn't be more wrong! If the last few years of crochet all over the big name fashion runways hasn't convinced you, look at these gorgeous tops!
And there are even more in the book. The patterns include several sizes, written instructions, partial charts, stitch explanations, schematics and diagrams, and lots of information and inspiration. But that's not what really makes this book a stand out.
Too many books start off with a "how to crochet" section. I understand they are trying to lure in new crocheters, but odds are, most people aren't learning to crochet from a few pages tacked onto the beginning of a book of garment patterns. Dora has skipped that section in favor of a how to that is far more valuable - how to make sweaters really fit YOU. Not just the ideal you, or the standard you, or the you who fits the stats on your drivers license. There is a wealth of amazing in depth information here. How to take your measurements, how to measure sweaters you already own and love, and how to translate those numbers into crocheted sweaters that are custom made to fit and flatter your own unique body shape.
This can sound overwhelming, but Dora has laid it all out so clearly, that if you just follow her steps one at a time, and take the time to really take all the measurements, success is very nearly guaranteed! And if you do run into trouble, Dora, aka crochetinsider, is very active on Ravelry, and even has a thread going where people are discussing the book and patterns and getting help straight from Dora herself. Since picking up the book, I've lurked a bit on the thread, and don't be afraid to jump in - Dora is super nice and helpful!
One thing Dora really emphasizes is the importance of the gauge swatch - and I couldn't agree more! The first time I tried to make a non-baby crocheted sweater without one... well, let's just say that was a whole lot of frogging! But Custom Crocheted Sweaters makes me think I can do it, and do it really well. Best of all, all this knowledge isn't just for the sweater patterns in this book - you can take what you learn here and apply it to every crocheted sweater you make from here on out!
Custom Crocheted Sweaters: Make Garments That Really Fit by Dora Ohrenstein earns it's place on the proverbial crochet book shelf ten times over. It's not only full of great patterns, but it's a fantastic and thorough resource that will make each person who reads and uses it a better garment crocheter, and in fact, a better designer! I know I'll be using it again and again.
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