(I received a review copy of this book from the publisher, Stackpole Books, in exchange for an honest review. Also, the post contains affiliate links. Read my Disclosure Policy for more information. Thanks for your support!)
Sweet & Simple Baby Crochet: 35 Adorable Designs for Newborns to 12 Months is the brainchild of crochet designer, Kristi Simpson. Simpson, who taught herself to crochet in order to teach her daughter, has a goal through her online pattern business, RAKJpatterns, of “offering fresh, creative designs using basic stitches.” This design philosophy is amply reflected in the patterns in her new book.
Overview of the Patterns
The book contains 23 patterns for beginners and 12 for the intermediate/advanced crocheter, covering a wide range of baby items, including:
• Beanies, hats, and headbands
• Socks, slippers, and leg warmers
• Apparel, such as vests, shrugs, ponchos, and sweaters
• Cocoons and diaper covers
Look for the skill level in the upper left-hand corner of the main pattern photo. The patterns are presented in no discernable order, and I think arranging them under these or similar categories would make accessing from them from the table of contents a lot easier.
Learn Crochet Skills While Creating Unique Designs in Bright Colors
However, this lack of order takes nothing away from the patterns themselves. Simpson combines bright colors and a number of different yarn textures and weights to create some very unique designs. I especially like the “Girly-Girl Poncho,” the “Baby Pants,” and the “Football Cocoon and Hat Set.”
Simpson describes her book as a “go-to guide for someone who has never crocheted before.” As a result, the book includes many photo tutorials, as well as helpful instructions on how to read the patterns, execute most of the pattern stitches, sew seams, and create pompoms and tassels. And because Simpson combines two or more colors in most of the patterns, the book smartly includes instructions on how to change colors and carry the yarn color not in use.
The Emily Cluster Hat
I tried one of the intermediate patterns, the “Emily Cluster Hat,” to see how easy it was to understand and follow.
First of all, it’s always nice to have craft instruction and pattern books with spiral bindings that enable them to lay flat. But this book is big enough (8.5” by 11”) that it stayed open to the page I was working on.
I noted in the Introduction some important pattern reading tips that I’m glad were included, namely the difference between, for example, “3hdc” and “hdc3.” Some patterns fail to explain this distinction, perhaps assuming crocheters know what it means. But not all do, particularly beginners, one of this book’s main audiences.
I especially liked the fact that the patterns include the number of total stitches that should have been worked by the end of the row or round. Again, this critical information is often left out of patterns, leaving it up to the crocheter to figure out.
Overall, the instructions were easy to follow. I did have a bit of a problem with the cluster stitch in that I wasn’t sure if I was doing it correctly (I found out later that I was). A photo tutorial illustrating how to work the stitch would have been helpful. I also decided to make the hat larger by adjusting the pattern so that I had three chains between the cluster stitches in rounds 4 through 8.
Finally, the instructions for the flower seemed to create five layers instead of the three pictured in the photo. I could be wrong and just didn’t execute them properly. But I decided to follow the instructions for the top flower and repeat the last two rounds of the middle flower twice to create three layers. The big, beautiful photos made it so much easier to make these adjustments.
A VALUABLE pattern collection to have for gifts and holidays
For crochet beginners, I would suggest starting with one of the easy cocoon or blanket patterns before tackling the intermediate ones. Intermediate and advanced crocheters should be able to follow the patterns easily, making adjustments as they see fit.
For those who love to crochet baby items or simply want to have a collection of cool patterns on hand for baby showers and the holidays, Sweet & Simple Baby Crochet is an excellent choice. You can purchase a copy HERE.