The Art of Crochet

The other night on TV, I saw an advert for ‘The Art of Crochet’ magazine. I was immediately intrigued, as my Mum is currently collecting ‘The Art of Quilting’ series, which comes with the fabric necessary to make a patchwork square every week, so eventually you can make a complete patchwork quilt. ‘The Art of Crochet’ works in a similar way, by providing a ball of yarn per issue, which you can use to make the featured square, until you have completed a throw.

As the first issue was only 99p, I decided to treat myself and see what the magazine has to offer. The magazine itself begins with the tutorial for making the featured square, the first one being a simple textured square, using the redcurrant yarn that is provided. The tutorial features a written pattern for experienced crocheters, or a step-by-step photo guide for complete beginners. After the featured square, the magazine also features three other patterns, which are divided into three categories, including ‘designer style’ (clothing), ‘around the house’ (home accessories) and ‘bits and pieces’ (accessories and small items). These patterns are pretty simple and straight forward, and I particularly like the cushion covers featured in the ‘around the house’ section.

The second half of the magazine covers techniques necessary to learn, once again, by using step-by-step photos. These are also divided into subsections, including ‘crochet techniques’ which looks at turning chains in the first issue, then ‘basic stitches’ so that you can build up an easy stitch reference guide. Finally, there is a question and answer page at the back of the magazine, which aims to tackle the problems that many first-time-crocheters experience. Each of these seven sections of the magazine can be easily pulled apart and stored in the binder that will be provided with issue two, and organised with the dividers in issue three.

As well as the magazine, the first issue also came with some goodies. They provided the necessary basics such as a 4mm hook and 25g of redcurrant yarn necessary to make the square. They also provided a 16g ball of ‘practice yarn’ is a biscuit colour, which saves wasting the yarn that will be needed for the later squares.

Biscuit practice yarn and redcurrant yarn for the first square.

As well as the necessary equipment, the magazine also came with a ‘getting started’ DVD and basic stitch booklet, to help absolute beginners to learn the stitches that are needed in the patterns provided. This demonstrates everything from attaching the yarn to the hook, through chain stitches and slip stitches to single crochet and double crochet.

Free ‘Getting Started’ DVD

At 99p, this magazine was a worthy investment! Although I am unlikely to make the square, I will keep both balls of yarn in my stash for future projects. I am also strongly considering buying the second issue next week for £1.99, as it features three patterns, a shrug, a bag, and  a rag rug that I absolutely adore. As well as coming with the binder, you also receive a ball of clover pink yarn with issue two.

I don’t know if this magazine will become a regular of mine, as I already collect several craft magazines, and this one seems to be aimed at complete beginners, but I would certainly pick it up if it featured several patterns that caught my eye. At £2.99 from issue three onwards, it is good value for anyone who is interested in making the complete throw, but at 120 issues before completion, you will have to be patient!


9 thoughts on “The Art of Crochet

  1. kalfury says:

    I tried to get this magazine today to no avail. I tried at least half a dozen shops but it was sold out, Im hoping to find it tomorrow as I really want to learn to crochet. x

  2. Diane Fryer says:

    This is at least the second time this collection has been run in the UK as I have about half the collection before I realised just how expensive that throw would be if that was the intention of collecting the entire set!

    Like you, Hannah, I have kept the yarn for other projects rather than making the squares, but it is very cheap yarn and splits a lot when working with it.

    Furthermore,, if you subscribe to the magazine directly, they send out four magazines at a time, and bill you via direct debit. I miscalculated one time and they tried to take the money early and, as happens to us all sometimes, the direct debit bounced.

    The company added on a fine and sent my details to a debt collection agency within a couple of weeks, and I was literally inundated with phone calls and letters and ended up not only having to pay the banks bounced direct debit fee, that at the time was about £40, but also in excess of £35 to the publishers for four magazines, despite my argument that they tried to collect the direct debit early.

    There was just no leeway with them at all, and I ended up very much out of pocket for the experience… be warned if you opt for the subscription method of getting the magazine!

    I also found that after the first few issues, it became more difficult to find issues in the shops, which pushed people into subscribing. I did wonder after my experience, if pushing people into subscribing was a ploy to make more money where possible!

    I was pretty much early on in my experience of crochet at the time, and thought the collection would be really useful to have, but I have since discovered that you can find all the information (and more besides!) for free on the net, either on blogs, craftsy, ravelry,, and especially videos on uTube showing techniques and stitches step-by-step. And you only need to download patterns you’re likely to use, and if you buy patterns online and download, you’ll likely spend a lot less than the accumulated cost of the magazine collection! LOL!

    There are some nice patterns in the collection, but the size range of garments isn’t very good, and in all the time I’ve had the 3 binders full of techniques and patterns (perhaps 2 or 3 years at a guess), I don’t think I’ve actually made any of the patterns, and it’s never the first place I look if I need to look up a technique or something, now I come to think of it! LOL!

    Don’t get me wrong, it appears to be a really nice and useful collection, but I have much better books that I bought from amazon at a fraction of the cost. Try adding up the cost of all those issues and the cost soon mounts up. Including the yarn is a nice gesture, but there was no information at all about the fibre content or washing instructions on the yarn I got, and I’ve just checked……besides the very small practice ball of biscuit coloured yarn, I only actually ever received EIGHT different colours with the magazine, just cycling the colours over and over, so if you’re thinking you’re going to build up a nice collection of different coloured yarns to use in smaller projects, if they send out the same as they did when I was collecting them, which they have with the first issue, then you won’t get too big a variety, just several small balls of the same colour, and with it splitting when you work with it, it’s not really worth using for anything of real importance, because you will only be disappointed with the finish, or the wear of the item down the line, I’m sure. Your photos of the first issue etc look exactly the same as mine, so I doubt it’s even changed at all since its last release, either.

    I’m sorry to sound so negative – I was so excited when I first saw the collection advertised and was really looking forward to each arrival in the post (4 at a time!), but with time and experience, especially after the lack of assistance from the company over the bounced direct debit (I’m severely disabled and bed or wheelchair bound so have a very low income as a result), but I assure you, that has not influenced my feelings about the collection itself expressed above.

    My advice? Add up the cost of the collection as well as how long it will take to collect the entire set. Are you the beginner that this collection is really aimed at? Look at reference books and their reviews on Amazon, so you have some idea of whether the book is any good – you’ll be going in blind with the magazine collection. Browse some of the sites like ravelry and craftsy. Then weigh up which is best for you.

    • Hannah Ackroyd says:

      Hi Diane, thanks for the comment! I know what you mean about the yarn being cheap, for 99p or £1.99 I don’t mind but when it becomes full price I doubt I’ll purchase it. What a horrible experience with the subscription! I generally avoid subscriptions and just pick up what takes my fancy but I know what you mean abut trying to get hold of the later issues! Fortunately, our very lovely newsagent offered to hold their lone copies of ‘The Art of Quilting’ for my Mum, so she always has it put aside but that is the only copy they get!
      I agree that there are much better (free) resources out there. I used Youtube videos to teach myself to crochet and I get all of my patterns from blogs or Ravelry, which has the added bonus that you can contact the designer if you get stuck!
      I haven’t looked closely at the patterns in the first issue, I can’t say that they interested me particularly but I will be likely to attempt some from the second issue so I will see how they turn out.
      I can’t believe you only got such a small combination of yarn colours! The Quilting magazine that my Mum collects does seem to be better value for money considering what you get from it.
      I’m sorry to hear that your experience with the magazine was a bad one. I agree that it isn’t worth the total cost – there are much nicer throw designs out there! I’m glad that I taught myself before I saw this series come out as I fear I may have become reliant on this series whereas being more advance, I can simply pick up an odd copy if the patterns take my fancy!
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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