Thursday, 28 May 2015

BHG's Knitting & Crochet Collection

Front cover of the magazine with crochet hooks and pom pom makers packaged on the front. 

The Better Homes & Gardens' winter yarn crafting issue has hit the shops.

It comes with two acrylic crochet hooks 
(5 mm and 6.5 mm) and 
two pom pom makers (7.6 cm and 10 cm).

In recent years, a yarn crafting feature has been a regular winter instalment in Better Homes & Gardens. That's what I thought I was picking up today only to realise this is a special issue: 

"Better Homes & Gardens 2015 Knitting and Crochet Collection"

Front cover of the magazine with crochet hooks and pom pom makers packaged on the front.

It advertises 68 patterns on the cover but I only counted 61 although I must admit that I have only had a quick perusal so far.  From a collection of over 60 patterns, 20 of them are either crocheted or use crochet in them.

Of the 20 crochet patterns listed, 7 patterns make use of the crochet hooks supplied (5 mm & 6.5 mm) and 4 of those are patterns all based on the same hexagon motif.  To make all the crocheted patterns in this magazine you will need the following additional sizes (the number of patterns that use that size is listed in brackets):

3 mm (1),  3.5 mm (3), 4 mm (7), 6 mm (1) and 10 mm (1).

Three crochet hooks all 3.5 mm width
The patterns require hooks in other sizes too.
Three of the magazine's patterns use 3.5 mm hooks (shown here)

It is a sturdily bound magazine, one that is designed to remain on your craft shelf from one season to the next as the patterns are a collection of classic items covering home, fashion, children and babies.

The magazine advertises a 22-page guide to learn to knit and crochet. There are plenty of instructions for beginners to be able to learn how to make every item, thus making this a good reference  volume with everything a beginning knitter or crocheter would need to know!

It covers extra techniques such as embroidery stitches, fringing, tassels, plaits, cords (i-cords and twisted),  sewing in ends and pom pom making but only the cardboard circle method is listed in the guide; the instructions of the supplied pom pom makers are hidden within the body of the magazine (page 9–not even with the pattern instructions) which is strange considering the pom pom makers are being promoted on the packaging.  

Another inconsistency is that both knitting and crochet are being promoted so why weren't a set of knitting needles included as well as the crochet hooks?

Close up of WIP project bag in variegated yarn with i-cord used as a drawstring.
The drawstring of the WIP project bag is an example of 'i-cord'.

As usual, I am disappointed to see crochet relegated to the roles of granny square stitches, motif-based designs and edging only. Even the crocheted beanie uses motifs.  The magazine keeps shouting "Boho" trying to be trendy, but we all know that is just a code word for yet another granny square!

Please don't get me wrong, granny squares and motifs have an important place in crochet and the artistic possibilities are endless but I would also like to see some more innovative crochet designs and other uses displayed in this magazine to show non-crocheters the greater potential and scope of crochet; especially when this magazine is encouraging people to "learn to knit and crochet" as stated on the cover.  How about showing some more interesting items to spark interest instead of the 'same old, same old'?

Granny square quillo = blanket + pillow in coffee, latte and red.
This granny square is big enough to be a blanket.
It is a 'quillo' that I made in 2008.
(quilt + pillow)

No wonder there is a pervasive belief around Australia that crochet is only good for granny squares, doilies and tablecloth edgings when this is all we are ever shown.  Even the Knitter's Guild's display at the Adelaide Stitches and Craft show had the ubiquitous granny blanket and some edgings on knitted items.  It makes me sad to think that so many people who might love modern crochet designs are missing out.


Some patterns are better suited to crochet such as animal hats (page 42), and a teddy bear (page 33) and yet Australian Country Spinners offered knitted versions. Not one amigurumi toy was in sight yet that technique is so cute and fashionable right now–guaranteed to attract younger people to the art of crochet.

The boys' striped crochet jumper (page 35) is very attractive with lots of scope to play with colour. It is the only crocheted garment for boys in the magazine.

One pattern combined knit and crochet in a very traditional way (page 51): a baby's knitted vest with crocheted edging; classic and simple for quick completion before baby grows too big! 

Have you ever started making something for a baby or child
 only to find that by the time you have finished it, 
the child has grown into the next size up?

Other crochet patterns for baby include a striped raglan jumper with buttons on the neckline, and a hooded jacket.

This beautiful "Knit and Crochet Collection" organises patterns into themed chapters
  • Hooked on Crochet Colour
  • Fashion and Home
  • Projects for Boys
  • Projects for Girls
  • Woolly Bliss for Bubs 
Large coloured photographs fill these chapters, followed by an "Info" section with "How to Knit" and "How to Crochet" instructions etc.

Pattern instructions and stitch diagrams fill the back of the magazine.

I recognise many of the patterns presented from previously published pattern booklets like the "Who's for Twister" rug (Paton's Modern Crochet book 1316) and "Well, Fetch my Buttons" also known as "Crochet Loopy Cowl" (Scarves and Wraps book 302).

Despite my usual grievances about the imbalance between knit and crochet offerings, I think this magazine is good value for crocheters because there are over 16 patterns here in one volume unlike the pattern booklets which might have only one or two crochet projects amongst lots of knitting. 

This magazine would also be beneficial for beginners and those who have not purchased many of Australian Country Spinners' pattern booklets before.

Whether you are a knitter, crocheter or both,
 if you get a chance to have a look at this magazine, 
let me know what you think!

Post Scriptum: Special Yarn Offer

(updated 9 June 2015)

I just discovered that Australian Country Spinners, the sponsor of the BHG Knitting & Crochet Collection, has a special offer on Patons yarns for those who have purchased the magazine.

When you buy 2 balls of either Patons Bluebell 5 ply, Totem 8 ply or Jet 12 ply you can get the third one for free if you present the coupon which appears in the magazine. This offer is valid until 15 August 2015. 

Terms and conditions:  

Single use only, one coupon per customer, per transaction. Up to 9 balls may be claimed for free (with the purchase of 18 balls). Original coupons only accepted and must be presented to obtain this offer. Coupon to be retained by retailer. Offer exclusive to local yarn stores (not available at Lincraft and Spotlight).



Australian Country Spinners Pty Ltd, Level 7, 409 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne VIC 3004, Australia:

"Better Homes and Gardens 2015 Knitting and Crochet Collection", Pacific Magazines Pty Limited, 8 Central Avenue, Eveleigh NSW 2015, Australia, May/June 2015.

Lincraft, "Quillo" crochet pattern leaflet #1417, 2008.
Ravelry project page:

Patons Publications,


  1. I rarely get mags but I do seem to have seen a lot of amigurumi when leafing through mags in the shops here in the UK! I am finding out more and more different great effects that you can get with crochet and I am really intrigued by your wip bag :-)

    1. I love amigurumi because it is so cute but once I get started I remember how fiddly it is and touch on hands due to tight tensions so I have great admiration for amigurumi specialists. With so many crochet techniques to learn, I will never be bored! :-)

      When you do get magazines, which ones are you drawn to?

      I like the style of some of the European ones that I have seen but I also like the variety and innovation of the American ones, while the Japanese attention to detail and visual instructions (schematics) appeal to me.

  2. Oh yes, that happend to me too! I make baby shoes which looked lovely but were too small by the time I managed to send them. Sighs!

    I used to have crochet magazine send to my home for the last two years but I stopped my suscription this year. I liked going through them but in the end I usually used online patterns. As we try to have less stuff in the house anyway, stopping the suscriptions sounded like a good idea and so far I am doing well with it!

    Take care
    Anne (Crochet Between Worlds)

  3. I admire your self-discipline to maintain your clutter-free home. I should do the same because I live in a small home. Adrienne keeps extolling the virtues of organising my patterns electronically, but I don't have as much faith in the longevity of technology! Also, computer screens are not that restful for my eyes - at the end of the day it is quicker and more relaxing for me to just pick up a magazine to browse. By the time my computer has loaded, my cuppa has finished!

    My compromise regarding magazine purchases is to choose just one each season. I am finding that, by the time many magazines have made it across to Australian shores, their contents have already been seen before online.

    What a shame about the booties - do you know what the mum did with them? Did she use them as a keepsake, for a next baby or did they get some use somewhere else? In any case, I am sure they were loved and appreciated. I know someone who dressed a teddy bear in the baby clothes when baby had grown out of them.

    I hope you are having a good week. Cheers xx