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I have received a sample copy of this book for review from Leisure Arts. I am not financially compensated for my blog post and am under no obligation to give a favorable review. Any conclusions and statements about the book are my own. If you do choose to purchase the book, I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you), and you are helping support Goddess Crochet, allowing me to create more free crochet patterns. It’s a win-win!
Terrific Totes from Leisure Arts – Book Review
When the days are hot, no one is thinking about making scarves or winter hats, unless you are getting a big head start on the holiday season, in which case, go you! In the summer I like to put away my wool blend yarns in favor of cotton. Cotton is great for dish cloths of course, but cotton yarn makes sturdy, easy to wash bags, too! Bags are one of my favorite projects to crochet, especially in summer – they are so useful!
The totes in the “Terrific Totes” crochet pattern book from Leisure Arts features a total of eight crochet bags, 7 large bags (great for day-trips), and 1 clutch (perfect for a night on the town). All of the bags are designed by Nicoletta Tronci (NTmaglia Crochet Design), with great attention to detail. Patterns are written out clearly and have a few additional images to help you, along with a “General Instructions” section in the back. In it, you’ll find all the abbreviation descriptions, as well as diagrams for some special stitches. If you want to use the exact yarn the designer used, you can find all that info on the back page. There are some advanced techniques and extra materials needed, making this book best suited to an intermediate to advanced crocheter, or a determined advanced beginner looking for a challenge. Projects include “Caffe Latte Tote”, “Sunny Days Tote”, “Terra Cotta Tote”, “Twill Weave Tote”, “Sublime Stripes Shoulder Bag”, “Arabesque Clutch”, “All-Day Shoulder Bag”, and “Shabby Rose Tote”.
One of the hardest parts about reviewing this book was choosing which bag to make first! The “Sublime Stripes Shoulder Bag” caught my eye first. After reading through the pattern, I felt a little bit intimidated. It features a double mesh fabric you build up row by row, dropping one color onto a safety pin and then picking up the other. At the end of the second part of each round, you need to bring your first color’s working yarn to the back before joining the other color with a slip stitch. Once I got my yarn and hook in hand it was a little easier to understand. After messing up a couple times and then figuring out what I was doing wrong, I took these two pictures so fellow crocheters who make this bag do not have to make the same mistake I did!
As far as color changes, the only difference from the pattern was to use black instead of brown, love the way it makes those bright colors pop! So glad I stuck with it, its such a beautiful bag!
Since you can never have enough bags, I made a second – the “Sunny Days Tote”. This one was definitely the easier of the two, but would still make an interesting project for even an advanced crocheter. Well thought out details like surface slip stitching, solid handles, and reinforced sides make this bag really something special. As soon as the last tail was woven in I said out loud “I’m keeping it!”
Surface slip stitches add fun visual interest.
Crocheting around a rope makes the handles super sturdy!
I couldn’t find the exact corrugated plastic strip called for, so I used plastic canvas cut to the specified dimensions and that worked splendidly! Since seaming/sewing is not always a favorite of crocheters, here are a few images to help with top/foldover part.
Overall I found “Terrific Totes” to be a very enjoyable book. Well designed bags, straightforward patterns, and quality images and styling make this book a must-have for bag lovers. The two bags I made were both fun, and the “Twill Weave” bag is next on my list. If you are interested in crocheting some fun (and functional) tote bags, definitely give this book a whirl, you won’t be disappointed!