Like many people who crochet, in addition to owning materials with which to crochet (yarn, string, thread, plarn) and the tools with which to do it (hooks, scissors, and darning needles), I also have a substantial collection of books.
Sometimes I buy a particular book because I always like everything that publisher does (Sedgewood), other times I buy a book because it was published in the 1970s when crochet was undergoing an earlier renaissance (The Adventurous Crocheter) and the books of that time capture the joy and inventiveness that I would like to bring to my own crochet, still other times I buy a book because it has designs of a designer whose work I love (I don’t seem to be able to walk past anything with an Anne Halliday design in it), but occasionally, I buy a book after careful consideration, and Uncommon Crochet was one such book.
Part of what what makes Uncommon Crochet uncommon is the materials used in the projects. This was not a particular draw for me as I have an extensive collection of books from the 1970s when materials that were not commonly used for crochet were all the rage. I have crocheted with jute, with organza ribbon, and (to the detriment of both the hook used and my hands) sisal.
I leafed though the book on several occasions before the picture on the back cover caught my attention:
In the right foreground of the photo is the finished product of the project titled “Red’s Goodie Basket” a project that grew out of a purchase of red leather cording. As is most likely true of many crocheters, I am easily seduced by basket patterns (they allow you to make a project that is, in theory, able to hold your stuff), but I was not about to go out and hunt down some bright red leather cording in sufficient quantity to make a basket, so I knew I would not ever make that exact basket, but while I ruminated on potential red leather cord alternatives, I noticed the shoes in the left background of the photo.
Red shoes are not the domain of just the Wicked Witch of the West and Dorothy, red shoes are a staple of many women’s footwear wardrobe, and my grandmother was one such woman. She did pretty much everything in her red shoes, including gardening. That one image, tucked away in the background brought back many wonderful memories I have of my grandmother. It did not matter to me that I never saw her wear shoes exactly like those. I now wanted the book because it reminded me of her.
So, I got the book. It has a lot of particularly interesting ideas as to how to approach felting wool and for making and attaching handles to purses. I’ve even made Red’s Goodie Basket twice: once with two strands of acrylic yarn and an N hook, and once with a single strand of acrylic yarn and a 4.25 mm G hook the second of which can be seen here:
I have no regrets about having bought this book and hope to one day explore more of the information and patterns contained between the front and back covers.