book review

Book Review: Unexpected Crochet for the Home

I was initially attracted to Unexpected Crochet For The Home by its cover: those funky gourds holding citrus fruits. I am definitely one to judge a book by its cover and this time the inside did not disappoint. While I know there’s nothing new under the sun, I’d never thought of or seen anyone crochet around a rope to make it more stable. It’s opened a whole new crochet world to me and I can’t wait to get started on my first project using this technique–those funky gourds right on the cover.

Now, this book definitely has more than just funky gourds to get your creativity flowing. The author, Lena Maikon, addresses “home” in a more complete way. It’s not just the usual utilitarian items you would find in home decor crochet books. She takes full advantage of crochet’s organic properties and blurs the lines between utility and decor, between art and craft.

For instance, what others may think of as swatches, she transforms into unique pieces of art through matting and framing. If you consider yourself strictly a “crafter” and not an “artist” this book might just change your perception of what counts as art and what counts as craft and by extension, what counts as artist and crafter. They are not so different beasts most of the time.

She shows you how to crochet your own shoes and gives you the skills you need to sew on a leather sole. There are pieces for entertaining, pillows, an adorable crocheted sheep, creative containers and organic-looking crochet shapes that double as lamps.

My favorite? The rug. The gourds on the cover and the rug project in particular got me really excited about this book. You see, I’ve wanted area rugs since we moved into our new house back in July. They are expensive. I’ve thought about weaving my own, but my loom is currently tied up in another project. I’ve thought about crocheting one but always thought it would be really floppy unless I used a ton of super big yarn. I had also thought about making a rag rug, but I wanted something a little more fancy for our living room. But this, this I could do. Using rope helps stabilize it. Using all one type of yarn may be ideal, but I could use quite a few different types of yarn using this techniques with beautiful results.

My plan is to make a small rug for the part of the bedroom where I keep my cello–just big enough for the cello stand, music stand, and my chair. Then depending on how much yarn and time that takes I was thinking I would make one for the living room. It would be a massive undertaking but well worth it. I’ve been working on busting my yarn stash for a long time now and I’m really excited about how much yarn this could potentially suck up. Then maybe I’ll switch over to woven rag rugs and blow through a bunch of my fabric stash. :)

While I haven’t run out and bought Unexpected Crochet For The Home yet, it’s one book that has made the cut and has been added to my “to buy” list. My rule is if I check it out twice from the library and there are four or more things I want to make, I will buy it. I’ve definitely got more than four: gourd containers, house shoes, cute sheep, rugs, and those neat “luminous pods.”

Have you ever crocheted a rug before? How did you like it? What’s your favorite home decor craft book and/or project?

Happy crafting!
Kristin

13 thoughts on “Book Review: Unexpected Crochet for the Home

  1. Looks like a cute book! I’ve never crocheted a rug before. I wanted to cut up my son’s old t-shirts to make “yarn” to crochet a rug with, but he got upset that I was going to destroy the shirts, so instead I’m going to make him a t-shirt quilt so he can still see the designs. I might cut up the backs to make a rug, though, we’ll see. :)

  2. you play the cello?! i have a ny’s resolution to go back to that this year. cool book, i like your rule about book purchases, makes sense to me. i started knitting a rug, but never finished it — this pattern looks great!

  3. I sure do. I’ve been taking lessons for almost a year now and while I’m not by any mean any good at all, I do enjoy it a lot and can actually read some basic music and am getting better every week. One of my goals for this month was to practice more, so starting last week I’ve been practicing every day, wow it makes a difference. I’m really hoping that my improvement will be steadier from here on out :)

    Yeah, I knit a rug for the bathroom from Mason Dixon Knitting – but I wasn’t really a good knitter and the time and it came out pretty wonky :) Knitting takes quite some time, but I hadn’t really found a pattern for a crochet rug I liked… until now!

  4. Good luck making the rugs!

    Those lights are awesome. Now I’m inspired to try it out with some knitting instead.

  5. I crocheted a small hearth rug a few years ago – my first big crochet project. I used some unlabelled (so cheap!) thick wool-heavy yarn and crocheted it with a smaller hook than normal so it ended up stiff rather than floppy.

    It was a two round hexagon motif – lovely slightly muted colours – joined with a neutral brown.

    It was perfect for a “first big crochet project” – I got a buzz of achievement every time I finished a hexagon, a bigger one every time I finished a set of colours, then then a big woohoo when I finished the whole thing. Plus, it was a lot easier to handle in parts than if it had been all one piece. The quite-rough yarn did suck every bit of moisture out of my hands though!

  6. Oh that sounds really great! I would love to see pictures, or maybe a link to the pattern :) Definitely true about the milestones each time you finish a hexagon. Jason (my partner) is working on the rambling rows afghan right now, every time he finishes a rectangle it’s a little celebration :)

    I have some rough wool on cones that I was thinking would work well for the first one, olive, tan, and off white. I’ll have to post process photos once I get a chunk of it done.

  7. Yeah they are, the book would be good to show you how to wire them up so they don’t, well, haha, catch on fire :P Don’t catch your house on fire with your knitting!

  8. Thanks for reviewing! It hasn’t become available yet in my library, but I’ve been wanting to check it out. Very cool stuff.

  9. Wow! Even this non-crochet person can understand why this would be on your “to buy” list! So many brilliant ideas here!

  10. I really like the rug. I haven’t seen one done like that. I recently made an Amish style “scatter rug” from old knit shirts. Good luck with your rug!

  11. The crocheting over rope idea for a rug was my missing link. Thanks! Edit: And I just realised I commented on a post from nearly 3 years ago :-)

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