Book Review: Beaded Crochet Designs by Ann Benson

Colorful bangles, spiraling earrings, elegant necklaces and more are presented in this collection that combines simple crochet stitches with prestrung beads. Crochet tubes are knotted, joined, braided, wire stiffened or left plain to create a myriad of jewelry designs in next to no time at all. One need not know how to crochet to follow the clearly illustrated step-by-step instructions that walk the newcomer through the basics before moving on to more complex patterns.

Easy to read full color charts simplify the bead stringing phase, made fool proof by Benson’s helpful hint on marking the repeats. Full material lists and complete instructions as well as clear photography allow the reader to proceed with confidence from project start to finish. The designs vary from the simple “pretty in pink” necklace and earring set to the more complex cover pattern, part of the “snake charmer” collection.
Of particular interest is Benson’s cabochon-setting technique that begins by crocheting a beaded tube that just fits the inside of the stone before beginning the bezel. This technique shows off both sides of the stone while providing a stunning setting.

Whether your interest is in combining different bead sizes as in the “treasure box”, twining links together as in the lovely “spumoni bracelet” or bright color play as shown by the “argyle” earrings, there is a design for every taste. Those interested in more challenging work should check out the “fairy-tale” necklace, which spirals a beaded strand around a silver base wire to create a lively, flowing piece requiring minimal wire working skills.

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