This week I took a break from some of my knitting projects to make a series of crochet mandalas from the book Modern Crochet Mandalas, published by Interweave Press. These colorful creations use a variety of crochet stitches to create layered designs. Since each round uses a repeat of stitches to create the pattern for that round, they are very meditative and restful to create. It’s also been fun creating color combinations for each design. I purchased eight skeins of coordinating mercerized cotton yarn to use with the book and have been surprised at how different each one appears!
The book itself is not for the beginning crocheter. Other than the 50+ patterns, there is very little additional material. Even the stitch glossary in the back is incomplete compared to the stitches that are actually used in the mandalas, so you are better off if you have crochet experience before using this book. Each pattern is beautifully laid out with a large photo, complete written instructions, and a large charted version of the pattern. I absolutely love crochet charts for ease in understanding what the written instructions will create and these are easy to read and well done. My only complaint about the book is that each and every pattern I’ve made has contained at least one error so far. The error is always in either the written instructions or in the chart, never in both, so if you carefully examine the photos, you can tell which direction was meant by the creator.
For a book aimed at those who are more beginners in crochet, I’d recommend Mandalas to Crochet: 30 Great Patterns by Haafner Linssen. I purchased this at the same time and it has extensive material on how to form all the stitches needed for the designs in the book as well as some specific tricks and techniques for working in the round and getting a seamless effect. It gives a lot of suggestions for working with color and creating mandalas with different weights of yarns. The patterns are overall a little more simple to create than the book I’ve been working from, but still quite beautiful.
If crochet is part of your fiber arts skill set, I recommend giving crochet mandalas a try!