Crocheting Clothes Kids Love
By Shelby Allaho and Ellen Gormley
Reviewed by Jamie Etheridge
Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned crocheter, you probably have favorite items you like to create. If you are a mom and a crocheter, much of your time will be spent crocheting items for your kids. There are a world of fun amigurumi dolls, princess tiaras, pirate eye patches and other cute patterns to make things for children but until recently very few children’s clothes crochet patterns. A mom in Kuwait, Shelby Allaho and her co author, Ellen Gormley, have created a book of 28 fun projects that fill this void.
The book provides a range of projects from fun and unique accessories like the whimsical wheel necklace and daisy flower headband to wearable sunny day skirts, vests and tank tops. There are also some really cool and fun projects like the Mohawk Earflap Hat and the Zebra Cropped Hoodie sure to appeal to kids’ fun and whimsical side. The patterns are straightforward and clearly explained and categorized into easy, intermediate and more advanced.
I love the diversity of projects in the book and the many tips, tricks and loads of guidance provided, especially in helping explain the construction of each project, how to plan it and how to execute it even before you begin to crochet.
With each pattern and project, specific instructions on finishing, detailing and assembly are also provided, making the book much more accessible for crocheters of all different levels. Take for instance the Plate Steel Tunisian Crochet T-Shirt. The pattern provides clear instructions for each of the special stitches used, detailed information on the type of yarn, gauge and hook as well as the stitch instructions for each section of the T shirt. But it goes a step further to provide a full schematic of the shirt’s construction as well as assembly, finishing and edging.
As a beginning crocheter myself, I plan to start with the easy level patterns like the daisy headband, the graphic messenger bag and the girl’s charm bracelet. I’ve already learned several new things about crochet including the very useful invisible fasten off to help make projects look cleaner and more professional.
The fun thing about Crocheting Clothes Kids Love is that it’s a book you can build your skills as a crocheter while your children grow. You can start with the easier projects and work your way up to the more challenging ones. You can also involve your kids in helping choose the patterns and projects they want to wear and choosing the colors. My older daughter has already asked me to make her the lacy sundress in pink and I will make the prim wristers for my preschooler. Even my hubby has gotten in a request - for the Mohawk earflap hat!
You can buy a copy of Crocheting Clothes Kids Love at Crafty in Kaifan Mall, basement level. It’s the perfect addition to any mom’s crocheting book library.
An interview with crochet book author Shelby Allaho
She’s a mom, a crochet designer, blogger and now author of the newly published Crocheting Clothes Kids Love. In an interview with Kuwait Moms Guide, Shelby Allaho shares her experience of writing a book on crochet, how she handled the challenge of working from Kuwait and what she learned from the adventure.
KMG: Where did the idea for this book originate?
Shelby: The publisher had already published two other books in this series: Sewing Clothes Kids Love and Knitting Clothes Kids Love, and this was the next title they wanted for the series. I was recommended to the editor, because I have a background in childrenswear design, and I won the grand prize in the Crochet Guild of America’s annual design contest with a child’s mixed-media coat.
KMG: How did you choose the projects/patterns to include?
Shelby: The publishers gave my co-author Ellen Gormley and I a wish list of the type of projects they wanted to see in the book. That was our base to start designing from, and then we added a few more projects to round out the selection. Each of us sketched ideas on our own, and then negotiated who would do what. We had never worked together before, and it went amazingly well. We each got to create what we really wanted!
KMG: What challenges did you face in the writing of the book?
Shelby: My biggest challenge was having to submit the sketches and then design pieces to match the sketches. Normally, I sketch a design and then use that sketch as a jumping off point. Once I start crocheting, a piece can go in a very different direction. I have a freeform style of working. Rarely does my finished piece look like my original sketch!
KMG: Was there anything Kuwait-specific that you learned/faced in the book's writing?
Shelby: The internet truly made this book possible. I am still amazed that I never had to talk on the phone with my editor or co-author during the entire process! It would have been easier if I had been in the US because of the high cost of having the yarn sent to me and shipping the projects to the publisher, but other than that all went smoothly.
KMG: Was there anything that you learned from writing this book that you think will be helpful to all other crocheters and/or moms in Kuwait?
Shelby: I learned that crocheting for children is a wonderful experience. They can get involved in the design process by choosing yarn colors and customizing the projects by deciding where the colors will go. Elements of the designs can be mixed and matched as well. For example the pompoms on the Hopscotch Legwarmers can be used on the Pretty Popcorn Vest instead of the tassels. When children are involved in the process, they feel an even bigger sense of pride when they wear their handmade pieces. The patterns in the book can also be adapted for adults. Recently, I did a blog post about how to use the Charming Bracelet pattern to make a necklace for adults. Most of the accessories are easily made larger by adding rows or length to the pieces.
KMG: What is your favorite thing to crochet (project, yarn or stitch?)
Shelby: My favorite things to crochet are accessories, especially scarves and jewelry. I also like adapting my scarf patterns to make jewelry, and vice-versa.
Shelby Allaho holds a degree in fashion design and worked as an art department director for embroidery design firm, before becoming a crochet designer. Her designs have been published by yarn companies such as Berroco, and Premier Yarns, and in Interweave Crochet, Inside Crochet, and in the near future, Crochet! magazine. Being a crochet designer allows her to work from home and still be a full-time mother. Thankfully, the internet and social media give her the ability to work as a designer anywhere in the world.
You can follow her adventures in crochet on her blog: www.stitch-story.com, on twitter as @StitchStory, and on Instagram as: @stitchstorycrochet.
Editor's Note: The book review and interview were originally published in Issue #11 of the KMG Newsletter.