"Crochet, man, this is the year. Everything is coming up crochet, said Mary Beth Temple, adding that in the past crocheters were often treated as the red-headed step-children of the needlecraft world.
But the single hook is having a renaissance this year, most notably with the Vogue Knitting special edition on crocheting, Temple said. It's also been popping up on runways.
And, of course, there's Temple's book, "Curvy Girl Crochet: 25 Patterns that Fit and Flatter," whose official publication date is Sept. 4 (though the author said Amazon has already started shipping out pre-orders).
"The idea for me was to prove to the naysayers that crochet is a flattering option no matter what size you are," she said, noting that a lot of crocheters shy away from making garments because they think they will be shapeless, bulky and unflattering.
Temple obviously disagrees.
More than just a book of patterns, "Curvy Girl Crochet" also includes a full section at the beginning that offers tips and advice for the type of yarn to use and how to measure yourself in order to create a garment that fits properly. Light-weight yarns, she said, will offer a flattering fit without adding bulk to an already large frame.
The book's 154-pages are filled with detailed patterns that come with yarn suggestions (though Temple said almost all the patterns will adapt to yarn substitutions as long as the weight and composition remain the same), stitch diagrams and color photos of plus-sized women wearing the garments.
"I desperately wanted to shoot on actual plus-size women," Temple said, noting that the models on the pages of "Curvy Girl Crochet" range from size 16 to size 24, reflecting the type of women she wrote the book for.
She said her book stands out from the limited selection of other plus-sized crochet patterns because she had the space to elaborate on the importance of measurements, yarn selection and making a gauge swatch.
The latter two is where most first-time garment crocheters make their biggest mistakes, she said.
Since many crocheters already work with bulky yarn for things like blankets, they often use what they have on hand to try out a garment pattern, which usually doesn't give the desired effect, especially for plus-sized women.
In order to ensure that your garment will stand the test of time -- and repeat washings -- the gauge swatch is also particularly important.
"If you want something to fit you, you have to spend the time on the gauge swatch," Temple said. "You have to treat the swatch like you're going to treat the garment," which means washing it.
Though she admits some of the yarn is expensive, Temple said it's worth the investment to own something that you made that not only fits well, but will last for years.
Katie McCarthy, firstname.lastname@example.org or 706-571-8515.