Book Review: Crochet Master Class

By Claire Ortega-Reyes – 3 Comments
One of the most ambitious crochet books I’ve come across is Crochet Master Class: Lessons and Projects from Today’s Top Crocheters by Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss. Don’t let the title intimidate you–the words “master” and “class” have duplicate definitions and could be misunderstood at first glance. It’s not a book for crochet masters; it’s a book by them. The projects are not reserved only for those in the “master class,” instead they’re supposed to evoke being in a classroom taught by master crocheters. If you love learning about new crochet techniques, read on.


First Impressions: The Look

To be completely honest, I wasn’t completely sold on the cover of the book. I thought to myself that if all the projects in the book were as complicated as that on the cover (Overlay Mandala Pillow Cover), I would never be able to make even one! The title also added to the intimidation, but as I browsed through the rest of the book I began to get more interested. Good thing I believe in the time-old adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” It doesn’t have the spiral binding I prefer for my crochet pattern books, but in this case I’d gladly overlook it. I’m more interested in reading the contributors’ stories and explanations of their crochet techniques. I saw some familiar techniques: hairpin lace, tapestry crochet, filet crochet, bead crochet, Bruges lace, Tunisian, Irish, wire, and aran crochet. My interest was piqued with crochet techniques I’m not familiar with: woven crochet, entrelac crochet, fashion crochet, double-ended crochet, tassels, bullion stitch, overlay crochet, and painted crochet.

Writing Style

Since the book is a collaboration of “crochet luminaries” compiled by two crochet authors, each chapter has a unique writing style. I like the flow of the book. Each chapter explains a crochet technique with: 1) a short bio of the crochet master, 2) origin, history, and quick explanation of how the technique is created; and 3) a pattern featuring the technique. I loved reading about how each contributor came to be an expert in their technique–by the end of the book I feel as though these people have become connected to me as fellow crafters.

Crochet Instructions: How-To’s and Patterns

I think each crochet technique was explained well, with written instructions usually accompanied with helpful diagrams or charts. Still, I think some of the projects were a bit too ambitious for somebody who just learned the technique. For example, the Princess of Wales Memorial Tartan (woven crochet) by Jenny King is very beautiful. Still, I’m not the kind of crocheter who would invest in over 5,000 yards of yarn for my first stab at an unfamiliar technique. This book is definitely not intended for beginners at crochet. It’s for the more experienced crocheter with a love for learning, and a brave enough heart to try the awesome projects!

The Long and Short of It

Crochet Master Class┬áturned out to be one of the most interesting crochet books I’ve ever encountered. It fueled my love for learning new things about crochet, and inspired me to push my limits. I hope readers push past the intimidating facade of the book, so they can enjoy what the book can show them.

Have you checked out this book in your local bookstore or library? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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3 Comments

  1. Carol H. says:

    I purchased this book when it first appeared on the scene. I love it. I’ve done at least 3 of the patterns in it. While it is not my go-to book for something that I need quickly, it is my go-to book when I need something challenging! Did I mention I love it?!

    • That sounds awesome, Carol! A lot of the patterns definitely have caught my eye. I’m kind of jealous you already finished 3 projects off this book! I know exactly what you mean about a challenging project. I love learning new things, too. Happy crafting!

  2. Kristy says:

    I purchased this book around the time it came out. I really enjoy a challenge, so it caught my attention. I’ve only used about three of the patterns, but they were all well written and had very good explanations. I love this book and will definitely make more things from the patterns.

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