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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Contemporary Celtic Crochet by Bonnie Barker

Welcome to the blog tour for a review of Bonnie’s book today!
Click on these links below to buy a copy :

I met Bonnie back in 2012 during the CGOA Professional Development Day.  She impressed me right away by how quickly she worked up an intricately braided cable square for donation – without looking at a pattern - while she sat next to me.   As we talked we found out we had several things in common besides crochet– we are both Christian homeschool moms and love music!  Since then our friendship has grown over emails and has been a blessing to me.  At this year’s CGOA conference (Knit and Crochet Show) it was great to see Bonnie again and get a sneak preview of her beautiful book.

As you may have guessed, I am always drawn to things labeled “Celtic” and Bonnie’s book is filled to the brim with all kinds of great Celtic designs and photographs.  I love the Celtic Knot graphics along every page along with all of the wonderful photos of Ireland (that Bonnie took herself when she traveled there).  My favorite photo is the one on page 87 of the Cliffs of Moher – stunning cliffs with the deep blue of the ocean next to the bright green of the land– breathtaking!  I also like how Bonnie gave a creative and thoughtful name to each of the projects.

Here are some of my favorite designs:

Hialeah Honey Baby Blanket – pg 62
This design features the Celtic Weave stitch (Bonnie’s invention) and a thick Braided Cable.  I have tried the Celtic Weave (see below) and love how it is much easier than it looks – just a two row repeat!
Knockardakin Wrap – pg 84

Here we see the Honeycomb and Wheat stitches in a Ruana-style wrap.  Looks so warm and beautiful!

Kells Cabled Sweater – pg 112
I have seen the Book of Kells in Dublin – truly amazing piece of artwork, history and scripture.  I love the details of this sweater and how it is named after the book in Dublin.


Celtic Cross Afghan and Pillow – pg 116
Such a clever use of the Celtic Weave stitch to create the cross-shape!

So, after seeing just a few of the projects, aren’t you eager to start making them? Are you apprehensive because you haven’t tried cables before? Well, have no fear, Bonnie provides wonderful step-by-step photos in the beginning of the book that take you through each cable stitch.  She also provides great videos on her website explaining these stitches as well. (www.bonniebaycrochet.com) That is how I first tried out her Celtic Weave stitch shown in this blue swatch below (made with Lion Brand’s Homespun yarn).

And then recently I worked up this green swatch (with Red Heart’s Super Saver) using the explanations in Bonnie’s book  - Tada!
A few things I would have liked to see in the book:  a list of all projects with a small photo of each (and page numbers) somewhere at the beginning of the book;  a similar list/index of all of the stitches (with thumbnail photos and page numbers of the instructions);  and full black and white diagrams of each project showing where each stitch is used (some of this you can tell by the photos but for other projects some parts are hidden).

One of the first projects I hope to make is the Cables Meet Lace Cape on page 64  (see photo at end of post) with metallic and sequined yarn.  Bonnie’s friend and neighbor, Terry, wore a similiar cape in light blue to the banquet during the Knit and Crochet Show – it was stunning! (as you can see below – this design is called, “Channeled Cape” and can be found in the Winter issue of Crochet!) – and Bonnie is wearing the Kells Cabled Sweater in red – beautiful!
I am so glad for my friend, Bonnie, who wrote this excellent book, and that I have a copy in my own crochet library.  Not only is it a great way to learn cables, but it is a great book to leaf through to enjoy the beauty of the designs, the photographs of Ireland and the stories that go with them. Congratulations, Bonnie! This book is a treasure in my collection of crochet books.
Cables Meet Lace Cape




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