By Erika Knight · Reviewed by Jess Soutar Barron
There’s something delicious about an object that abides by the rule of form following function BUT ALSO is beautiful and useful. Books that are thoughtfully designed to work in a practical sense, and inspire in a more abstruse one, are precious because they are the reason why the internet cannot take over completely, libraries will not fade away, bookshelves will always be needed. They are more than vehicles through which to disseminate information. They are a beautiful thing in themselves, an object as precious as its contents. More than the medium being the message, the medium is a treasure in itself.
Erika Knight’s Crochet Workshop delivers its message well – stepping readers through 20 projects from the first slip-knot to the final loop-through. BUT ALSO it is lovely to touch, carefully considered in its design – down to the cover that slides into the book as a page saver – satisfying to explore. With a nod to the design aesthetic of Sibella Court, Crochet Workshop is themed in subdued tones with careful staging and pared back props. It hints at a simple life without preaching. The book is so subtle in its styling that it is the antithesis of the craft porn we crafters find in such books as Loani Prior’s Wild Tea Cosies, sophisticated hoopla in a cacophony of colour.
For some the styling may be a tad too restrained and not at all showy enough, certainly not something to aspire towards, for its patterns and projects are far too achievable, although for the beginner it is perfect: easy to follow, step by step, satisfying in its ability to guide users from conception through construction to actual completion (unheard of in some tomes). But for those who admire Nicky Gabriel over Daina Taimina this is a must have, especially if you’ve always wanted to learn the fine art of hooking. More Debbie Bliss than Debbie Stoller, Crochet Workshop is delicious inside and out – even if you have no intention of actually making any of the projects, it will still look stellar on your occasional table (hand-crocheted doily (p.116) or no).