I went though this period of thinking crochet really sucks, because the yarns I had to work with, the tools I had to work with and the designs that were out there just weren't good for me, for my shape and my aesthetic.
(From a 2006 interview in Crochet Insider).Chan mentions aesthetic, and it's important to remember that all judgement are steeped in personal preference. I'm wary of crochet because it makes me think of the following styles:
While these are all fine styles, none of them really appeal to me. I'm famously unbeachy. I burn instead of tanning, I'm a poor swimmer, and I have a low tolerance for lying around in the sand doing nothing. As for romantic, well, I think I've only worn ruffles twice. I'm no Gothic Lolita! Like most people born in the early 80s, I did go through a hippie/70s phase at a teenager. I even owned a white crochet vest! I moved on, retaining a fondness for making my own bath and hair products but little else.
I still feel a lot of affection for granny squares and 70s afghans, but I don't want to cover my person in them, like Cate Blanchett does below. (Well, that's only partly true. I love wrapping myself in a blanket and then shuffling around the house, but not for fashion reasons).
I've been searching Ravelry for crochet patterns that are more my style. You've already seen Doris Chan's Spirals -- here are a few more patterns that I found appealing.
This single-button cardigan has an interesting high-low hem, and from a distance the lace looks like broderie Anglaise.
2) Claudine by Mon Souk (collar)
The stand-alone collars trend continues into fall 2012. This version, made out of tiny crocheted circles, is particularly pretty. Making it in a solid colour plays down the twee, but I'm charmed by this mix of greys and gold. Unfortunately, the pattern is only available as part of a collection.
3) Lazy Days of Summer (T-shirt)
Yes, this t-shirt has summery festival vibe, which I'm normally not drawn to. But I love the lace raglan sleeves. This would be adorable worn over a sleeveless, empire-waist sundress. Free pattern if you create a login.
1) Anthurium by Kristen TenDyke (red jacket)
Instead of using a solid crochet stitch, the designer of this double-breasted jacket used something much prettier. It reminds me of two knitting patterns that I also like: the Melrose Peacoat and Audrey in Unst.
2) Alpaca Natural Tunic by Pierrot (Gosyo Co., Ltd) (dress)
I love an empire waist (and I love layering). This simple dress could be styled in many interesting ways. This pattern is free.
3) PlayPlaid by Doris Chan / DCJ
This blanket pattern creates an interesting Buffalo plaid that I've never seen before.
I want to leave off with one more quote from that 2006 interview with Doris Chan. Apparently, her personal style is very different than her design aesthetic:
I don't wear lace. I'm still the kid who's pulling the bow out of her hair. I wouldn't wear a skirt if my life depended on it. I dress in jeans and sweats. My personal wardrobe aesthetic is very different from my design aesthetic. Most crochet designers are women, but a lot of fashion designers are men and they don't wear their own clothes. My garment design aesthetic is for crochet publication.