50 Fabulous Crochet Squares (Leisure Arts #4420)
by Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss
This is a book of... 50 crochet squares! (Who'da thunk it, right?)
It's a 72-page paperback, "staple-bound", "booklet-style book" from Leisure Arts, and the fifty crochet square patterns are the work of four designers-- Jean Leinhauser, Rita Weiss, Janie Herrin, and James G. Davis.
Each square is presented with a large, full-color photo alongside the written pattern. (There are no charts, unfortunately.)
The patterns range from the classic granny square to more advanced patterns with highly textured stitches or floral overlays.
The authors assume that you know how to crochet (or are learning from another source). There's a brief (one-page) introduction on the subject of how the size of your finished square will be affected by the thickness of the yarn you use. The book ends with a couple of pages of "general directions"-- abbreviations, symbols, and terms used in written crochet patterns and a short explanation of the differences between US and UK terminology. Every other page is filled with the patterns.
That brings me to an important point: This is a book of square motifs only. There are no patterns for finished objects. Join the squares into a blanket... or a bag... or for whatever other use you have in mind.
The fifty squares run the gamut from the simple to the (at least) intermediate skill level-- but they aren't marked according to difficulty. (For that matter, I don't think any of the books of motifs I have do so. It's probably just as well. Difficulty ratings may discourage people from even attempting something-- and it doesn't take long to realize that a pattern will be challenging.)
One useful feature (lacking in some other books of motifs I own) is the listing of the size of each square (when worked in worsted weight yarn and to a gauge specified in the book's introduction). Most of the squares range in size from 6" to 12".
I've seen at least one other reviewer lament that she thought the
squares were all going to be the same size-- ready and waiting for us to
pick a handful of favorites and whip them into a sampler afghan. That
is not the case. Some of the squares are the same general size when
finished-- and you could always add or subtract rows to make any of the
squares larger or smaller-- but they are not specially designed to mix-and-match interchangeably.
For the patterns I've made, so far, the instructions seem to be well-written. It doesn't seem to have a reputation, online, for being riddled with errors, which is a good sign.
I've had the book for nearly a year. Here are a couple photos of motifs I've crocheted from it, so far...
First, it's a rather ugly version (it's ok; I made the dreary thing, so I can insult it with immunity) of Ship's Wheel (pg. 55):
...And this is "Soft & Sweet" (pg. 57), which I enlarged to fit in with my other "roughly 12-inch" squares for the Favorites Sampler CAL afghan.
I have yet to make most of the motifs, but looking through it, I see several that catch my eye and are worth bookmarking for later.
This book doesn't have the the slick "eye-candy" appeal of some of the other books of motifs in my library, but it's still packed with plenty of perfectly good, appealing patterns. I'd recommend it especially for someone who enjoys crocheting afghans-- and who is not deterred by a lack of charted patterns.