Elevate Difference

Crochet Jewelry: 35 Fantastic Pieces of Jewelry to Make and Wear

“This is not your grandmother's crochet!” Indeed it is not. Sophie Britten's big, glossy book of DIY jewelry features pieces that exude charm, youth, and even grown-up glamour. For those of you who cannot think “crochet” without immediately thinking “granny squares” this book may change your mind. As a wannabe DIY-er whose crafts are generally restricted to making my own birthday cards, after poring over Britten's book, I may just dig up those crochet hooks I've got in the back of my sewing box and get back at it.

Britten is wise to us, of course. She knows that the "almost crafty" kids attracted to her book will have forgotten lessons at Aunt Millie's side, and so she gracefully introduces her text with a refreshing 20-page crash course in crochet basics, right down to how to hold the hook and start the stitch. And though standard crochet is perfectly lovely in its own right, it is what Britten does with the simple crochet techniques that makes her book stand out.

Wire, not yarn, is Britten's innovating take on crochet. Using fine wire, beads and yarn as material, crochet stops being just for blankets and pillows and becomes the means to pretty new trinkets - like a gold bracelet cuff, dangly earrings, a vintage-y brooch perfect for a winter woolen coat, and a glam hair band. If the goods weren't good enough, the pictures, in addition to being beautiful, also show off the crochet work and serve as a useful check on your work-in-progress. Each piece is rated either “very easy,” “easy” or “intermediate” and Britten's instructions are clear and easy to follow.

Crochet Jewelry comes at a timely moment during crochet's upswing in popularity following the recent reclamation of knitting as a trendy activity. By utilizing a non-traditional approach to crochet, Britten appeals both to those brand new to crochet and those who never stopped; the pretty and wearable pieces might inspire some to pick up the skill and inspire others to apply their years of practice to new projects.

Written by: kristina grob, April 10th 2007

"This is not your grandmother's crochet/knit" has become the calling card of "modern" craft and how can it do anything us but differentiate and separate women's heritage with crafting? Saying something is different, that it explores different processes - something that crafts most definitely allow - is one thing but having to toss in the matriarchal reference? It's unnecessary and that's what's bad. It's not discussing the evolution of a craft process but makes a distinguishing remark between the modern, cool crafts of now versus the quaint and oft-rural crafting heritage of our foremothers.

I'm sorry you understood difference as a fracturing. I saw the innovation of an old craft that, though it draws upon traditional techniques, is quite different in its approach, a difference which is not at all demeaning to its roots. Claiming difference makes neither one bad.

While I'm quite excited about this book I must confess that the idea "This isnot your grandmother's crochet!" has always disapointed me. What's so bad about being like my grandmother? Given that crafts have often been a manner women could make a living throughout history I wish we would give more props to the tradition rather than trying to create a fracture.