Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Encyclopedia of Crochet Techniques


Full Title: The Encyclopedia of Crochet Techniques- A unique visual directory of crochet techniques plus an inspirational gallery of finished pieces by Jan Eaton
ISBN: 978-1-84448-141-5
Pages: 160
Language: English
Flickr Search: Jan Eaton crochet
Buy it: amazon.co.uk- amazon.com - play.com - bookdepository

Contents: About this book - Crochet Essentials - Techniques and Stitches - Projects - Gallery - care of Crochet - Abbreviations and Symbols - Glossary - Suppliers - Index

Basic Crochet


The first chapter of the book covers all the basic crochet skills. You learn all about the different stitches, how to join yarns, how to read patterns, about pressing and blocking and how to join two crochet pieces (i.e. squares) together neatly. The diagrams and photographs show very clearly every single step of the different stitches. I was a complete beginner when I bought this book. It taught me very quickly how to crochet with confidence. So much so, that I tackled a more difficult pattern right at the beginning.

This is the perfect book for a beginner!

The Techniques


The second chapter is all about the techniques and stitches. You learn how to work stripe patterns, ridged stitches, clusters, granny square, shell stitches, bobbles, lace stitches, tubular crochet, edges...you name it and I reckon the book will have it. As it is an encyclopedia and the book is packed with possibilities and techniques, this is the biggest part of the book.


Each section consists of one or more double page spreads. The first page always shows drawings of each step of the technique. The second page shows instructions to crochet the certain technique, with photographs of a finished square and a pattern diagram.


This helped me a lot as I didn't know anything about all the abbreviations of a pattern. Because I was able to jump between the diagram and the written instructions I soon learned all the abbreviations.

The Projects


The third chapter shows a few projects. as this book is mainly about the different crochet techniques, this chapter is kept quite short. I think it is more a way to show the reader how the different techniques can be used to create things we all can use, like scarfs, baby afghans, wraps, bags, potholders, cushion covers.


Here I have to say that nearly all the projects only have written instructions and no diagrams. However they usually refer to some part of the book where the technique needed for a project is explained. So it would be useful to make yourself familiar with the book before you jump right into a project, only to get frustrated because you cannot understand it.

The Gallery


Chapter 4 of the book is the Gallery, which gives you more ideas of clothes, ponchos, cushions, jewellery, bags and toys you can crochet. Some of the things shown in the gallery are in my opinion a little bit old-fashioned. Still, it gives you an idea of how many possibilities you have with crochet and what fun craft this is indeed.

This book is your own little crochet library to which you can then add more books with different patterns. It is a fantastic start for beginners, who are on the very bottom of the crochet ladder. Once you will start with it you will soon climb up higher and merge into the advanced section. Definitely a book no crocheter should go without. I can only highly recommend i

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet

Full Title: 100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet: A Collection of Beautiful Blooms for Embellishing Clothes, Accessories, Cushions and Throws
ISBN: 978 1 84448 403 4
Pages: 128
Language: English
Flickr Search: Stanfield+crochet+flowers
Buy at: Amazon.co.uk Amazon.com

Content:Foreword/About this book – Before You Begin: materials and equipment, crochet symbols, abbreviations, terminology and aftercare, notes on knitting, notes on crochet – Directory of Flowers: flowers, leaves, fruit and vegetables – Technical Instructions: knitting instructions, crochet instructions – Projects – Index - Resources and credits

100 Flowers to Knit and crochet, book by Lesley Stanfield is simply brilliant. It is not only beautifully published, but also provides clear patterns.
It starts out by some basic intro to both knitting and crocheting - very useful for those of us who can't do much more than a scarf - and goes on to clear and large pictures to all the 100 flowers the title promises.

The patterns’ section is divided into 3 levels of difficulty for each technique and contains comprehensive instructions as well as schematic charts. They are easy to follow and will lead you step-by-step to the fantastic outcome. Additionally, each pattern is accompanied by a picture of the finished flower, leaf or fruit.


The only weak point of the book is its project section. It includes only 4 ideas that are not very imaginative.

I have tried 3 patterns from the book so far and they have all been a success! Additionally, the amount of patterns for beautiful appliqué flowers can have the effect of waking up your creativity. So crafters, it's only £7 on Amazon, don't let it wait!

Monday, July 6, 2009

201 crochet motifs, blocks, projects and ideas



201 crochet motifs, blocks, projects and ideas by Melody Grifiths

ISBN: 1 904991 64 5/978 1 904991 64 9
Pages: 144
Language: English
Flickr search: Griffiths+book+201
Buy at: Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com

Content: Introduction – motifs: flowers, lace, alphabet, shapes, pictures, geometric – the projects – the techniques – index – credits

Despite the rather tacky cover picture and longish title, 201 crochet motifs, blocks project and ideas is a book worth having and can be used by readers on different level of experience. However, it has to be said that not all projects provided by the author will be equally easily accessible for beginning crafters. Read on for more details.

The book is divided into 3 main sections: the motifs, the projects and the techniques. I will describe each section separately because they differ greatly.

The motifs


The author provides a wide selection of creative motifs from simplest granny squares to the most intricate Celtic knot and floral shapes. Thanks to this wide range both experienced profi-crocheters and new converts will be able to profit from the book equally.Craft-sellers and young mothers will also find a special treat in the form of crocheted alphabet patterns.



To the advantages of the book one also has to add the fact that the patters are well described and most of them have graphic representations.

The projects


In this section, once again the author has to be admired for her eclectic selection of project. 201 crochet motifs contains around 35 projects ranging from a sweater to Christmas decorations and crocheted pictures. And apart from the projects, the book provides readers with ideas and inspirations only briefly mentioned at the bottom of the page, for the reader to discover and develop – fun, fun, fun!


Unfortunately, what the book delivers in quantity it lacks in quality. The projects are not exceptionally well described and the author uses plenty of mental shortcuts left for the crafter to deal with. And while this is not necessarily a problem for an experienced reader, it might leave beginners dumfounded.

A case in point is the lovely squared circle skinny scarf (p. 120), which contain instruction such as "join motifs in a strip with double crochet and 2-chain zigzag." This joining technique is only shortly mentioned at the end of the book but again does not provide any detailed description.

The techniques

The last section of the book is very short and contains basic information on reading the charts and making the typical stitches.

By and large, 201 crochet motifs, is a valuable addition to any craft library but will profit the experienced users more.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Happy Hooker

Stitch'n'bitch The Happy Hooker by Debbie Stoller

Contents: A brief history of crochet - Tools of crochet - Making the basic stitches - More advanced stitches and How to add yarn - Increasing, decreasing and working in a circle - How to read a crochet chart and Fancy stitches - Color work and Filet crochet - Blocking and Sewing pieces together - How to read a crochet pattern and Abbreviations (the book covers a lot of ground so this is just a taste of the contents!)

ISBN: 0761139850 / 978-0761139850
Pages: 256
Language: English
Flickr search: debbie stoller + crochet
Buy it: amazon.co.uk - amazon.com - bookdepository - play

The first part of the book is all about the techniques. Everything is explained very clearly and simply. The pictures and diagrams are also very precise. The conversational style makes you want to give it a go. And it does a very good job in my opinion. I'd been trying to learn to crochet for a year until this book crossed my path and taught me to crochet. Just like that! Sort of.

It comprises pretty much anything a beginner 'hooker' could want to know - and quite a few things that the more seasoned one sometimes need to go back to.

The second part of the book is all about the patterns. For each project the first spread has a large picture of the final project and a page like the one above. There is a short introduction to the inspiration for each project (they are all designed by different designers), a sidebar with the measurements of the final project, description of materials (yarn, hook, notions), gauge and special stitches. The patterns are all very clear and fairly easy to follow -of course, if you've just learnt to crochet you probably won't jump straight onto a cardigan - start with a scarf or a shawl.

For each pattern there is also a diagram and/or sample pattern which is very helpful in instances where you can't get a grip on the written instructions. Knowing how to read a crochet diagram is very useful - luckily the book teaches this in part one!

A few examples of the projects to make; there's lots of variety and something for everybody (even the guys!): scarves and shawls, hats, bags, tops, bikini, accessories, softies and a sock monkey baby set. Some of the designers behind the patterns include: Julie Holetz, Camilla Engman, Cat Mazza, Linda Permann and Ileana Rodriguez.

If you want to learn to crochet, this is one of the best books there is. It covers everything you need to know. And when you've crocheted for a while you probably find yourself going back to it from time to time too brush up on stitches or other that you don't use regularly. This is definitely a book that your personal crochet library won't be complete without.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

200 Ripple Stitch Patterns

200 Ripple Stitch Patterns: Exciting patterns to Knit and Crochet for Afghans, Blankets and Throws: Textured Blocks to Knit and Crochet for Afghans, Blankets and Throws - by Jan Eaton.

Contents: Introduction - How to use this book - Colour - Texture - Yarn weight - Stitch collection - Projects - Knitting techniques - Crochet techniques - Yarn directory - Index

ISBN: 184543112X / 978-1845431129
Pages: 128
Language: English
Flickr search: jan eaton + ripple
Buy it: amazon.co.uk - amazon.com - bookdepository

First of all, it should be noted that there are not 200 patterns in the book, "only" 100. The 200 in the title is the 100 patterns + a colour variation for each pattern. Of course, using different yarns or colours can definitely make a great difference in the look and feel of the final outcome. (but that still doesn't make it 200)

Secondly, seeing as we focus on crochet, it should also be pointed out that half of the patterns are for knitting. So if you only crochet, you will only get half the options. But if you "swing" both ways, you can get the maximum use out of this book!

There is a range of difficulty levels: Easy, Intermediate and Difficult. There is a nice introduction to yarn weight, tension and comparing swatches. This will of course mostly be relevant to someone fairly new to working with yarn. But useful just the same.

The "crochet techniques" in the back of the book includes "making a slip knot", "turning chains" and "working into the front and back of stitches". Basic things, so you could use the book to teach you to crochet.

Other than the stitch patterns themselves, there are also a handful of actual projects to make, for example a wrap, a scarf and the stash afghan in the picture above. For each of these projects there is one pattern outlined, but also suggested alternatives.

Each page has a large picture of a swatch of the pattern, the pattern itself (including special abbreviations), a smaller picture of the variation on the pattern with suggested yarn sequence. In the top corner there are 2 symbols telling you that it is a crochet pattern (hook, or needles for knitting), 1-3 balls of yarn to tell you the difficulty. Which is quite helpful for a quick at-a-glance information.

If you want to recreate some of the patterns exactly there is a complete yarn directory at the back of the book, which is a nice touch.

The book essentially does what it says on the tin; except that there's only half the amount of patterns. If you make a lot of afghans/blankets and are looking for new patterns, this book would be very useful. But if you just want to make the odd ripple blanket, perhaps take this book home from the library first. Then, get hooked on ripples and buy the book for your personal library!