The Art of Shirret by Louise McCrady
ISBN 0-9659579-4-2, Softbound, 87pgs, $24.95US, Shirret America, PO Box 1338, Madison CT 06443 USA, www.crochetshirret.com 


Several years ago, I saw an ad for this book and planned to purchase it, but never got around to it.  Then when I did try to find it, I could not locate a copy.  Fortunately for you and me, this is the 7th printing of this book and we can all take advantage this time around. 

Shirret works right in with contemporary craft art today.  Lady McCrady’s mother, Louise, authored this book, and today Lady continues in her footsteps with demonstrations at shows and conferences on the use of shirret and the tool that creates it.  The shirret tool is actually a long crochet hook with a rubber piece on the other end.  There is a partial “v” shape closer towards the hook end and this is actually where you hold the tool while working.  The tool needs to be held a particular way in order to work. 

Shirret allows you to use up leftover fabric, clothing that have stains but the rest of the piece is still in good condition and any other fabric pieces you want to recycle. I had a pile of fabric after teaching a class making fabric beads and then gave away a most of it.  Thank goodness I still have a small fabric stash left for experimentation. 

Quilters and machine stitchers will love shirret since they always have a lot of fabric pieces leftover and the tools to make long strips of fabric. 

There are illustrations of what plaids, stripes, tweeds and closely woven solids look like after you work it with shirret.  There are step-by-step instructions for fabric preparation, types and use.  You will learn to estimate yardage, how to cut bias strips and basic tools required.  You can design your own patterns or just work freeform. 

The basic concept is geared for practical items such as rugs and mats, however, shirret can be employed for wall-hangings, sculpture and wearables too.   The photos are primarily black and white with color on the cover and on the back of that cover page.  The back cover also has color on both sides. 

I have other ideas for working shirret and was very pleased I was also able to purchase the tool.  The tool package includes complete instructions for working shirret in a condensed form.  You can purchase both the book and tool at Lady’s website.  If you already know how to crochet, you will find shirret a breeze.  If you do not know how to crochet, Lady includes illustrations and instructions for the basic stitches.  For beginners to crochet, I would advise learning traditional crochet first and then adding shirret to your repertoire.   I am pleased to see shirret is back and can be combined with other bead and fiber work.