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Normally, I crochet using US crochet terms. I learned with US terms and I’ve always stuck with US patterns and so when I saw “colourful” on the cover of 35 Crocheted Bags, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to pick up this book. But I also have a pretty big weakness for purses, totes, and bags and the bright colors (or should I say colours?) enticed me.
This book uses each bag or holder as a template to teach several crochet skills. As a crochet educator, writer, and enthusiast, I love this perspective. Throughout the book, you can practice colorwork, working from a chart, carrying colors, seaming pieces, lining a purse, and tons of new stitches, such as surface crochet, surface cross-stitch, and other interesting, new stitches.
I really enjoyed the wide variety of yarn usage in 35 Crocheted Bags. The first several patterns for large totes and baskets use super bulky yarn for strenth. There are lots of patterns that have used t-shirt yarn for its durability and easy care. Then, worsted and chunky weight yarns are used in some of the softer bags and clutches. The Blue Block Bag and some other tapestry patterns use DK weight yarn for gorgeous tapestry work and since the unused strand of yarn is worked over, these bags still provide the strength you would get from a super bulky bag.
The author has a wonderful variety of patterns to choose from that might surprise you: glasses case, cell phone case, a crochet hook or colored pencil case, round totes with a round base, circle totes, square totes, rectangular totes, purses with short or long handles, baskets, and more. She really covers such a wide variety of patterns making this book an incredible value.
One thing to note is that this book has patterns that may require more notions than you are used to. Purse handles, coin purse clasps, zippers, fasteners, and buttons are just some of the notions needed to complete several of the patterns included. Many of the bags are lined for added strength so a basic knowledge of sewing is recommended. Most of the linings are basic and while a sewing machine would speed up the process, hand sewing is sufficient. In addition to the lining fabric needed, appropriate sewing supplies are highly recommended.
The final section of this book includes a color-illustrated section on techniques. There are stitch tutorials and tutorials about sewing, blocking, lining the bag, tapestry crochet, and all of the other skills used throughout included in this section.
If you have never worked with UK terms, I do recommend a thorough pre-read and have this US/UK conversion chart handy.