I absolutely love the designs in this book. Clearly Ms. Alexander is an amazing visionary of design. Each pattern inspired by sea and shore, each clearly representing nature. So now that I am done gushing over how wonderful the patterns items appear in the book, let's get down to the reality . . . can you make them?
If you're a beginner at crochet, I would suggest holding-off until you have either mastered difficult patterns or written any for yourself. I cannot stress enough how unclear these patterns are, and I am a skilled crocheter! The written directions for the cover-photo pattern are strange to follow, and a bit off. If you don't use the chart and/or count using the pictures, this will not turn out correctly. I bought the yarns to make the cover-pattern: "Sea Turtles" and the first pattern in the book: "Lacy Shoals". While I am currently working on Sea Turtles, I have glanced-over Lacy Shoals numerous times and it's given me a headache each time. Why? Because there's no clear directions on which strip to start with. Which strip is next? How do you attach them to each other? I am sure I'll figure it out once I sit down, yarn and hook in hand -- but really, when you pay over $20 for a book, it should not be giving you headaches -- much less have directions that aren't written in a basic: first, next, last, bullet-ed, numbered, by row/round -- simplicity. These directions turn what should be an enjoyable project into a puzzling and frustrating undertaking. And let's face it, we don't want to look at our end-results and be reminded of what a pain-in-the-arse it was to make!
I have to say I am very disappointed that Interweave published these written directions in this state. They barely follow normal pattern rules/guidelines for typical crochet patterns. I wonder why they did not edit, or perhaps bring in a more experienced crochet pattern writer to make sense, and double check the accuracy of the pattern directions? While I can muddle through, and fully intend to do so as the designs ARE gorgeous -- these items are going to take a lot longer to make simply by trying to decipher the written directions. They're a hot-mess. And clearly, I'm frustrated as I write this. I just don't like buying pattern books only to have to sit and re-write the patterns so they make sense as I am trying to hook!
One bonus: I am finally learning how to follow Japanese style crochet-patterns with the graphs included with each pattern (well, frankly it's because I have no choice)!
Next I am heading over to their website and hoping with fingers AND crochet-hooks crossed -- that Interweave did have someone with better experience in pattern-writing -- rewrite these patterns. Please please please!