I always keep an eye out for something new to learn, something to new to inspire me, something new to my bookshelf. I definitely think that the latest book by Karen McKenna, Formal Jewelry from Leisure Arts, fits that bill. (Find it on Amazon here)
Karen has a design style that is professional, clean, trendy, yet polished, and it is definitely apparent in the design she shares in this book . This downloadable book offers projects that are simple to construct, and need only basic crochet skills, but have an elegant appearance. The biggest learning concept for me was the use of jewelry tools, clasps and the approach to using beads. There are links to “how to videos” throughout this book. I think that almost every step has a tutorial so that even the most inexperienced stitcher or crafter can produce the stunning pieces. However as I live in an area with limited internet availability I did not personally use the videos, but even without the videos the instructions are quite clear and easy to follow.
Many of the beads are pearls (I am a sucker for pearls), but I can easily see how these formal designs can be made into everyday wear by changing to a less formal bead. The barefoot sandals are quite nice. I could see these as fun additions to a day on the beach as well as enjoyed by several dancer friends, as well as the intended purpose of formal wear.
I think my biggest take away from this book is how to get a very professional finish to crochet jewelry. The section on finishing actually focuses directly on working with crochet chains and how to use them with jewelry components effectively.
If you are having a big event upcoming in your life, or the life of a loved one, or simply like elegant jewelry I suggest that you download a copy of this book and give the skills a whirl, I am sure you will enjoy your finished product!