I wanted to conclude Bavarian Crochet Week with some guidance on how to create Bavarian Crochet. Hopefully the pictures I have found and posted this week have tantalized you and have you ready to learn a new technique!
I learned the technique by reading the Annie’s Attic book Learn to do Bavarian Crochet (with projects by Jenny King). I think the instructions in this book are outstanding and worth the price of the book, so I will be reviewing it shortly. However, for those of you who want free instructions, they are available on the internet.
If you prefer to learn by watching videos, you can check out the YouTube tutorial posted by Crochet Geek: YouTube.com. She calls it the “Catherine Wheel Square”, but I assure you that it is the same technique that I have been referring to as Bavarian Crochet. (Bavarian Crochet has some similarities to the Catherine’s Wheel stitch, but the use of post stitches makes it a unique pattern.)
If you want step by step visual instructions, you can check out this tutorial on Sarah London’s blog: “Wool Eater Instructions”. Here is yet another name for Bavarian Crochet. Both of these tutorials have slight variations from the Annie’s Attic instructions, but they are minor differences that do not affect the overall look of the finished project.
Now, on to the review!
Like most books and pamphlets from Annie’s Attic, the first part of the book is step-by-step instructions for how to create the stitch. I can’t say enough good things about these instructions. Bavarian Crochet is not exactly an easy stitch (total beginners might find it challenging), but anyone who has intermediate crochet skills will be able to follow along. There are crisp, clear pictures throughout, along with helpful tips.
We live in a time where information is readily (some might argue too readily) available to all, but I want to stress this point. Sometimes, free is not better. There are some things that professionals do better, and I think the photos and instructions in this part of the book are a perfect illustration of this. I have not found a free tutorial anywhere online that is better than the one in this book.
In addition, the instructions teach you how to make three shapes: the basic square, a rectangle, and a triangle. Circles are not possible with this stitch, but you can do a lot with the three basic shapes described.
When teaching a new stitch, it is de rigueur in the crochet publishing business to include a collection of patterns and this book does not disappoint. I will give you my impressions of each pattern, but please note the following disclaimer. Everyone’s taste is different. A project that absolutely does not speak to me may turn out to be your favorite. I just want to touch on the range of patterns available, and as objectively as possible give my assessment of how successful the each pattern is.
“Bavarian Lullaby” Baby Blanket
This is a simple square afghan made using soft pastel colors. It is a sweet project that would be well-received by new parents.
“Little Bit of Lovely” Vest
I’m not crazy about this pattern. Bavarian Crochet makes a heavy fabric – both visually and physically. In this pattern, very fine yarn is used in an attempt to counteract the natural heaviness of the stitch. However, I don’t like the finished effect. The stitch becomes a bit gappy when it is worked up in the fine yarn. Also, the drape is off, making the vest appear really boxy (this is very apparent in the back view of the project).
“Lavender Fields” Afghan
In general, I don’t love the color schemes that were selected for the projects in this book. This blanket is a good example. Although I love purple and green together, I just don’t like the shades of purple and green that make up this afghan.
That being said, this is probably the pattern in the book that you will come back to again and again. It is an excellent basic afghan project that would be a great gift for friends and family. You could easily change the colors each time you made it, and each blanket would have its own character. This pattern is a winner.
“Evening Gossamer” Shawl and Bag
These patterns are okay; they don’t excite me so I won’t say much. They do take advantage of the boxy nature of the stitch, and the black/white color scheme is on trend now. I will say this – I find light, lacy shawls really beautiful. This shawl is very heavy because of the basic nature of the stitch. I would not use Bavarian Crochet to make a shawl, but again this is personal taste.
“Snowflake” Scarf and Hat
Cute, quirky accessories. I can see a lot of young women really enjoying these. The blue and pink color combination is pleasant.
This little soft basket is pretty unique. I made it in one color of cotton yarn for my toiletries in the bathroom. It holds up pretty well, actually. A basket made of tight single crochet would hold its shape better after use, but hey, this is a pretty clever use of Bavarian Crochet. Maybe not the most suited stitch for a basket, but I like the ingenuity.
“Gilded Edge” Table Runner
In this case, I think they saved the best for last. The color scheme is fantastic: gold, a spicy red, and a warm, delicious brown called “Vicuna”. This runner is an eye-catching decoration for a table. If you have a smaller table, you could adjust the length of the pattern and make placemats. I do plan to eventually add this to my dining room.
Great instructions. Good range of patterns, with some real standouts. Highly recommended!