Colorful Crochet Lace – Book Review and Interview with Mary Jane Hall

This book review is written by me on behalf of Interweave/F+W. I was given a complimentary copy of this book to complete my review but was not financially compensated. All opinions expressed are my own.

Image courtesy of Interweave/F+W

Title: Colorful Crochet Lace – 22 Chic Garments & Accessories
Author: Mary Jane Hall
Published by: Interweave/F+W
ISBN: 978-1-62033-698-4


Colorful Crochet Lace by Mary Jane Hall, published by Interweave/F+W, has 22 of the most gorgeous and chic garments and accessories that incorporate crochet lace!Lace is really in right now and this book has so many eye-catching designs that range from simple to intricate. Mary Jane provides a variety of types of patterns including tops, shawls, dresses, and more! There is a project for everyone. She also uses many different lace techniques that make each project beautiful and unique. Here are some of the stunning designs found in Colorful Crochet Lace:

I am in love with this gorgeous Daytime in Paris Shoulder Bag (p 91):

Image courtesy of Interweave/F+W

I love the stitch pattern on this bag! It would so perfect for a day out on the town. The little popcorn clusters add the perfect texture to compliment the delicate lace. I also love the color of the yarn and the lining that Mary Jane chose for this particular project. It is one of my favorite projects in Colorful Crochet Lace.

Magnifique Modular Tunic (p 129)

Colorful Crochet Lace - Magnifique Modular Tunic
Image courtesy of Interweave/F+W

Juliette Scarf (p 25)

Colorful Crochet Lace - Juliette Scarf
Image courtesy of Interweave/F+W

Isabelle Sleeveless Tunic (p 11)

Colorful Crochet Lace - Isabelle Sleeveless Tunic
Image courtesy of Interweave/F+W

The patterns in Colorful Crochet Lace range in level of difficulty but Mary Jane has done a great job of providing charts and guides to creating the different garments and accessories in the book. You can also find a very useful page on the graduated stitch method, an abbreviations list, glossary, and a list of yarn sources to help you create the projects in the book. Each pattern also contains a list of sizes, materials, gauge, and pattern notes.

I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Mary Jane Hall! Here’s my interview:

Interview with Mary Jane Hall, author of Colorful Crochet Lace

1. When and how did you learn to crochet?

When I was 18 and in college, I took classes such as weaving, tatting, quilting, braiding, sewing, textiles, knitting and crochet. I was very shy back then and while we were in “lab”, we each had a small crochet booklet at our desks, but all 30 girls except me went to the front and gathered around the teacher’s desk while she was showing them how to hold the hook and yarn. I was too shy to even walk up to the front, so I sat in the back of the room at my desk and taught myself to crochet from the instructions and pictures. My first project was a green potholder with pink popcorns! Of course I’m not that shy now, but am really glad I did that because it gave me confidence and taught me to understand and read patterns.

2. What inspired you to write Colorful Crochet Lace?

Always a fan of any kind of lace and having Victorian things all over my home, I have wanted to do a crochet lace garment book for years. Even back when I wrote Positively Crochet and Crochet That Fits, there were some crochet lace garments on the scene (including a few lace garments I designed for those books), but when it really started to become more popular, I wasn’t able to take the time and wasn’t ready emotionally to do another book, because of some tragedies in my life. I just kept admiring other designer’s lace projects, and then 2 years ago I told myself “It’s now or never”, because you never know how quick the trends are going to change. It probably put me under more pressure than any other book, but I kept thinking it would be worth it! All my hard work on this book has come to life and I can’t be happier about how well it’s been accepted. It makes me so happy! I’d love to do another book soon, but just need to take a break. My heart says yes, but my mind says I need to slow down.

3. Which project in the book is your absolute favorite?

I’ve been asked that question quite a bit and I’d have to say the Haute Couture Peplum Top featured on the front cover. The main upper body part is worked with my signature Graduated Stitch Method of making shaped and fitted crochet garments without increases or decreases. I introduced this method in Crocket That Fits and people everywhere, even beginners, who never thought they could make garments are making them now and they are thrilled. These are people who formerly had only made afghans, scarves or dishcloths and were just too afraid they wouldn’t be able to make garments. I’m thrilled that people are so excited, because it gives me pleasure to help make crochet easier for others. Back to the Top, the upper body and sleeves are at a beginner level, but the peplum would be an intermediate level, which in my opinion wouldn’t be that difficult even for an advanced beginner, with the fabulous stitch chart they can follow! The peplum could be left off which would turn it into a crop top or you have the choice to lengthen the ribbed vertical rows by working a longer foundation chain which begins at the side.

4. What made you want to start designing clothing?

I have always loved fashion and enjoy keeping up with trends. When I first started designing in 2005, I made only accessories, such as scarves, bags, hats, capelets, slippers, leg warmers, belts, jewelry, ponchos and my first ever garments were in my first book. That Ivory Shells Sweater with the big collar on the front of Positively Crochet (which BTW helped sell the book), was the 1st adult sweater I had ever made in my life, much less designed! I guess you could say that was a brave move! My passion is designing trendy garments and accessories and when you have a desire and passion, I believe you can do anything you set your mind to!

5. What is currently on your hook?

I just finished mailing off 2 tops to be published in a magazine and have been busy helping to plan the book blog tour, so I haven’t begun anything else. I’m always saying I’m going to take a break, but end up starting something anyway. I’m not planning to send magazine proposals for a while but I do have several things in mind I’m itching to get started on! I’m thinking of designing some items at my leisurely, not requiring deadlines, to sell on Ravelry and my blog.

6. What is your favorite type of yarn to work with?

I really like mercerized cottons (with a sheen), bamboo, silk, linen and sugar cane yarns or a blend of those. Those yarns have a great stitch definition and are easy on my hands! I do use other fibers but these are my favorites!

7. If you could give one piece of advice to other designers that would like to publish a book, what would it be?

I’ll just tell you what other designers told me when I first had the idea to write a book. I consulted several people who had already written books and soneone told me to go to a bookstore such as Barnes and Noble or Books and Co and look through all the crochet books. Jot down the publishers who have books in the style you like, and then just start emailing them. Some people don’t know this but first you have to write what is called a “query” letter, which is a letter stating your idea but asking permission to send them a proposal. I didn’t have anything to go by back then, but just now found this info on query letters at this website – I sent my query letter to several publishers when I wanted to write my first book. They all said they were interested and told me to go ahead and send my proposal. I was really confused about who to send it to. I chose Krause, now a branch of F+W, and book acquisitions editor, Candy Wisa, wrote back saying “We ha e been looking for a book of this type!”, which was music to my ears! You can’t send your proposal to more than one publisher at a time. It’s just not ethical in the business. I know it’s very hard to wait hearing back, but that’s the way it is. Some told me you don’t hear back sometimes for 3 months, but I heard back the first week. If you have a really good, unique idea they will want to grab on to your proposal and not waste any time. As far as what publishers are looking for in a new book, I learned early on that they are counting on us as designers to come up with the ideas but they are looking for something different, an idea that hasn’t been published before. With my first book, Positively Crochet, I told them I wanted a huge variety of patterns and wanted to give people more for their money, so there are 50 projects in that book. I had 60, but had to cut 10! Most publishers of today will not publish that many in one book because they want to be able to have room for lots of pictures, which is a good thing. But the main thing for the book that was different from all the others were the posituve, encouraging tips on life I gave with each pattern page. My husband traveled the country with his motivational seminars, “Yes You Can”, and I learned a lot about goal setting and many other principles of a positive life. I had also spoken to several ladies groups on marriage and other relationships in general and wanted to share things I knew that would make someone’s life better. Then for Crochet That Fits I proposed my new Graduated Stitch Method of making fitted, shaped garments without having to use increases or decreases, so of course they’d never heard of that before. For the new book my idea was all lace garments and accessories in different colors. They ask you to give them some of your own ideas for a title, and they chose my title, Colorful Crochet Lace.
For anyone interested, I have other posts on this subject on my blog, Positively Crochet!

Want to try some of these projects for yourself? You can get Colorful Crochet Lace by Mary Jane Hall from the Interweave Store for just $24.99

Bonus Content!

Thank you for reading my review and interview with Mary Jane! I want to give a special thank you to Mary Jane for allowing me to interview her and to Interweave for allowing me to review Colorful Crochet Lace! I also want to thank them for letting me feature this amazing excerpt from the book. Enjoy!

Amelie Triangular Shawl


Child: Fits any size Measures 28″ (71 cm) across top edge.
S (M, L, XL, 2X, 3X). Sample shown is size S.
Measures 34 (40, 44, 48, 52, 56)” (86.5 [101.5, 112, 122, 132, 142] cm) across top edge (foundation row).


DK weight (#3 Light).
Shown here: Knit One Crochet Too Nautika (85% microfiber acrylic, 15% nylon; 98 yd [90 m]/1¾ oz [50 g]): #295 deep pink; child’s size 2 skeins; adult sizes 3 (3, 4, 4, 5, 5) skeins.


Size I/9 (5.5 mm). Adjust hook size if necessary to obtain the correct gauge.


Stitch markers; yarn needle.


12 sc, 3 full Double Lover’s Knots (DLK) and 4 rows in patt = 4″ (10 cm).
T his shawl is worked in a very simple Lover’s Knot pattern, which is amazingly easy and fun to stitch and creates a lightweight fabric. A simple clover edging finishes it off. Wear it as a shawl, as a hip scarf tied to the side, as a beach wrap, or around the neck kerchief style. You can even sew two together to make a poncho!


Single Lover’s Knot (LK): Pull up loop on hook to 1 1/8″ (2.8 cm), yo, pull through loop, sc in back thread of long loop.
Double Lover’s Knot (DKL): (Pull up loop on hook to 1 1/8″, yo, pull through loop, sc in back thread of long loop) 2 times.
Clover: Sc in designated sp, ch 9, sl st in side edge of sc, ch 14, sl st in same sp as last sl st, ch 9, sl st in same sp as last 2 sl sts.


You’ll work the longest row first, which will be at the neck, decrease 1 DLK in each row, and eventually end up with 1 DLK at the bottom tip.


Ch 86 (110, 122, 134, 146, 158, 170) loosely.
NOTE: If you crochet tighter than most, it’s very important that you use a larger hook on your beg ch, then work the remaining rows with the hook recommended.

Row 1: (RS) Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across, turn—89 (109, 121, 133, 145, 157, 169) sc.
Row 2: Ch 1, sc in first sc, *DLK, skip next 3 sc, sc in next sc; rep from * across, turn—21 (27, 30, 33, 36, 39, 42) DLK.
NOTE: You will begin decreasing 1 DLK in each row.
Row 3: Pull up loop on hook to 1 1/8″ (2.8 cm), insert hook into sc in center of first DLK, yo, pull up loop, yo, pull through both loops on hook, ch 1, *DLK, sc in center of next DLK; rep from * across, turn—20 (26, 29, 32, 35, 38, 41) DLK.
Rows 4–22 (28, 31, 34, 37, 40, 43): Rep Row 3—1 DLK. Fasten off.


NOTE: Top edge will be all sc and not have any clover sts.

Place a marker in each corner of the scarf. Place 6 (7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13) markers evenly spaced across each diagonal side (about 4″ [10 cm] apart). With RS facing, join yarn at top right-hand corner, ch 1, work clover in marked corner st; working across to opposite side of foundation ch (top edge), sc in each ch across to next corner, work clover in next corner, *work 12 sc evenly spaced across to next marker, work clover in next marker; rep from * across to next corner, then across other diagonal side to beg corner, join with sl st in first sc. 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across, sl st to same sp at base of clover. Rep on other corner.


Weave in the ends. Steam block clovers if needed.


To be sewn to each top corner, if desired. Join yarn to back side of either clover at top corner, loosely ch 36, sl st in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across, sl st to same sp at base of clover. Rep on other corner.

Colorful Crochet Lace by Mary Jane Hall, published by Interweave/F+W; $24.99


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