Recently, I received two new crochet books from Leisure Arts for review: Everything the Internet Didn’t Teach You About Crochet by Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss and Crochet Stitch Guide by Jean Leinhauser and Mary Ann Frits. Usually, I have a giveaway for the books I review, but these two will be the prizes for the Rectangular Sampler Blanket CAL. (You can find out how to enter that giveaway here.)
Everything the Internet Didn’t Teach You about Crochet
This book aims to fill in the gaps for anyone who primarily learned to crochet from YouTube videos. One can learn quite a lot online these days, but a newbie without a framework for the questions to ask can also miss out on a lot of important foundation knowledge.
The first section, Tools, focuses on crochet hooks and discusses sizing, material, and hook anatomy. There is a some discussion of other tools, including those for specialty crochet techniques like broomstick lace.
The next section, Yarn, includes information about yarn weight, fiber content, care instructions, and reading ball bands.
The Importance of Gauge notes that “[m]any new crocheters tend to shy away from gauge as if it were a dirty word.” As a crochet teacher, I can say that is absolutely true! This section not only explains why gauge is important, but shows how to measure gauge and gives tips for adjusting your gauge.
The next chapter, Reading a Pattern, provides a glossary of crochet abbreviations along with an explanation of the symbols like the famous * * and terms like work even. My favorite chapter is the next one, Working a Pattern, which includes three annotated patterns. In each, the pattern with U.S. abbreviation terminology is shown on the left while on the right, full written instructions with explanation are provided. This would be a wonderful way for a pattern reading newbie to check their understanding of pattern abbreviations.
In Making Fringe and Tassels, illustrated instructions are included for these finishing touches. The final chapter, Refresher Course in Crochet, provides written and illustrated instructions for the basic crochet stitches, post stitches, increases and decreases, and basic finishing techniques.
Everything… is written in a conversational tone that is easy to follow. It’s about the size of a folded piece of letter paper, and at 96 pages, it’s thin enough to fit into your project bag or purse to carry around as a reference guide. The book definitely shares a lot of information that would improve the stitching, pattern reading, and yarn/tool selection of a newbie or an internet taught crocheter with more experience.
I would have liked to see some discussion of crochet stitch symbols included. A more detailed index would have been really helpful because a newbie crocheter might not even know which chapter to explore for the answer to their question. In spite of these shortcomings, I think the book is a worthwhile companion to the library of a newbie or advanced beginner crocheter. It would also make a great gift for a new crocheter in your life.
Crochet Stitch Guide
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of crochet stitch guides. You might even say that I’m a stitch guide collector. The Crochet Stitch Guide is designed to be an on-the-go stitch guide. The book is about the size of a folded piece of letter paper, and at 96 pages, it is thin enough to be truly portable.
The 86 stitches are organized into 7 sections.
- Clusters includes 27 stitch patterns. Many of these are quite lacy, although there are several that have a denser feel.
- Textured Stitches includes 7 stitch patterns that use post stitches, clusters, combinations of different heights, and working into the front or back loop to create textured surfaces.
- Picots includes 6 lacy, picot stitch patterns.
- V-stitches includes 8 variations on the v-stitch.
- Special Stitches includes 10 patterns using a variety of stitches such as popcorns and spikes.
- Shells includes 14 stitch patterns made with some combination of shells/fans.
- Miscellaneous includes 14 patterns using a variety of stitches.
There is a short appendix in the back that includes a guide to U.S. crochet abbreviations and terminology.
Each stitch pattern includes a swatch photographed against a black background. Special stitches are explained at the beginning of the pattern, so you will not need to flip back and forth.
Since many contemporary stitch guides show swatch pictures against a white background, the stitch pictures in this book have a vintage feel. It isn’t immediately clear why some patterns are in the Special Stitches section while others are in the Miscellaneous section. There are no international stitch symbols in this book, and only a brief explanation of the differences between U.S. and U.K. pattern terminology. There is no index, and there are no illustrations to demonstrate unusual stitches.
Overall, this is a solid stitch guide for a crocheter without an extensive stitch guide collection. If you have an existing American stitch guide collection, you may want to skip this book because some of the patterns will be familiar. On the other hand, the portability of this book makes it a good addition for a crocheter who travels a lot or crochets during while commuting.
Congratulations, nushechka, and thank you to everyone who entered! Also, thanks to Lantern Moon for sponsoring this giveaway!
I decided to make her a baby blanket using some stash yarn. I started with the motif from Frankie Brown‘s Jelly Mould Blanket and some leftover Red Heart Super Saver in Candy Print, but I ran out of yarn after 14 squares. The stiffness of the yarn was the perfect pairing with this pattern.
Since I didn’t have another complementary color in my stash, I thought it would be the perfect time to use my 20% off coupon to the Lion Brand Yarn Studio. Once at the shop, I decided I wanted to go in a new direction, and instead of choosing more pink, I picked up three skeins of Vanna’s Choice in greens. (I was feeling a bit spring-like at the time.) Vanna’s Choice is much softer than the Red Heart, so it wasn’t as suited for the 3D shape of the Jelly Mould motif.
At around the same time, Barbara from Made in K-Town released her African Flower Square Tutorial, and I decided to make 14 African Flower squares. I had to make some adjustments, of course, to get the motifs to be the same size.
I used a stash skein of Caron One Pound in white for all the borders, and joined each of the motifs in rows of 7.
I had a bit of a tough time taking pictures (thank you Central Park, for serving as a backdrop!), but I really like how the blanket came out. It’s about 32 inches square, and I used about 990 yards of yarn (including about 530 yards of stash yarn!).
The whole project was much more improvised than my baby blankets usually are. I guess you could say that the motifs came about organically. And I used different techniques for joining the squares together to form rows, which helped to even out the slight differences in sizes. I also used two different methods for joining the rows together (the green join is a very decorative v-stitch join, and the white join is a chain join). These joins were inspired by ones I found in Robyn Chachula‘s Crochet Stitches VISUAL Encyclopedia.
I think this means that my next blanket may be a bit more spontaneous!
For more finished objects, visit Tami’s Amis.
I’m really excited to announce the lastest crochet-a-long for one of my patterns. You may remember the Rectangular Sampler Blanket as the free pattern I released on my second blogiversary. (It’s also available here as a Ravelry download.)
This is a quick pattern for baby, stroller, or charity blankets. You can use up scraps with a stashbuster, or you can used planned colors, like I did in the sample.
This blanket is a twist on the traditional granny square pattern. It uses different stitch patterns (a granny rectangle, an alternating v-stitch, staggered puff stitches, and an edging) to keep things interesting. I’ve rated the pattern intermediate, not because it is difficult to make, but because it really helps if the crocheter is able to “read” her/his stitches when switching between the different patterns.
The finished size is 34” x 29” (86 cm x 74 cm), but it is pretty easy to size the blanket up by adding repeats to any of the different stitch pattern sections.
My sample is made with Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash. I used 4 skeins of 1960 Pacific (CA), 2 skeins of 1914 Alaska Sky (CB), and 1 skein of 863 Cordovan (CC). (You’ll need 1,540 yards (1,408 m) in any medium weight yarn.) I used a J-10/6 mm crochet hook, but I tend to be a tight crocheter, so you may want to use a smaller hook.
The CAL will start tomorrow on Friday, May 10, 2013 and will run in the Underground Crafter Ravelry group here. If you’re not on Ravelry, feel free to share your progress on my Facebook page, through a link in the comments here on the blog, or via Twitter.
And because everything is more fun with a giveaway…
everyone who shares a finished picture of their blanket via any of the links above by 11:59 PM Eastern Time on Friday, May 31, 2013 will be entered for a chance to Everything the Internet Didn’t Teach You About Crochet and the Crochet Stitch Guide, courtesy of Leisure Arts!
I’m looking forward to seeing your variations, and do let me know if you have any questions about the pattern!
It’s been three months since I last participated in FO Friday, and it is great to be back! This FO is actually quite a few weeks old, but I haven’t shared these pictures yet on my blog.
Once again, I must credit MC with taking beautiful pictures. These were taken on a Sunday afternoon, when we took a stroll outside of the Ziegfield Theater.
I used Galler Yarns Inca Eco in Denim and Raspberry. I had a lot of fun making this striped version. I like the contrast between the two colors.
And there were many other really great versions made during the CAL! These fourteen were completed during the CAL and entered into the giveaway.
Adele from South Africa’s version
It’s great to see the different versions and how the choice of yarn, or the degree to which you block the edges, or the number of repeats can create so many looks.
Without further ado, according to Random.org, the winner of the CAL giveaway is #3…
Nancy L. Drew, also known as yarnpumpkin from Stitchin’ and Stuff!
She is the winner of several skeins of yarn, courtesy of Galler Yarns, and crochet hooks courtesy of Skacel Collection! Thanks to everyone who participated. I will be announcing the next crochet-a-long soon.
For more finished objects, visit Tami’s Amis!
You may have noticed that things have been pretty quiet around here for the last few weeks. (I haven’t even announced CAL or other prize winners yet!) I was hoping to join in to the 4th Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, but now I’m not so sure I’ll have time.
If you’re new to this fun week, you can find out more about it here, learn about the daily topics here, and see the daily post tags here. If you pop the daily post tag into the search engine of your choice, you can find fun new (or new-to-you) blogs each day!
Thanks to Eskimimi Makes for hosting again, and I hope to join in (or at least get back to regular blogging) later this week.
I’ve been away from the blog for a little bit, working on some secret projects. But I’ll be back to regular posting soon.
Until then, you may want to read this Behind the Brand interview with me that was posted on Kollabora this week.
If you’re not familiar with Kollabora, it’s a multi-craftual maker community online where you can post all types of DIY projects, buy supplies, and check out tutorials. Currently, knitting and crocheting live harmoniously in their Knitting category, but they are soon adding a separate Crochet category.
It’s been ages since I posted a Year of Projects update, but I have been working towards several of my goals for this year.
You may remember that mitered squares (also known as domino knitting) were on my original list of new (to me) knitting things, and I learned the basics for making them from Modular Mix: 12 Knitted Mitered Squares to Mix & Match by Edie Eckman late last year. Since then, I’ve been exploring Domino Knitting by Vivian Hoxbro and have picked up the formula.
Making these washcloths has been a fun way to use up stash. I’m currently working on a jumbo square, where I cast on 109 stitches to start.
I’ve also made some progress on another new (to me) knitting skill, which is entrelac. Once again, a book has been my guide. This time, it’s Entrelac: The Essential Guide to Interlace Knitting by Rosemary Drysdale.
And I also finished hosting my second crochet-a-long of the year in the Underground Crafter Ravelry group. (We’re now voting on the pattern for the next CAL, which will start in May.) I made a striped version of my Pineapples for Everyone Shawl.
I’m not sure yet if I can claim that this will be a project for me. I like it a lot, but it seems to be telling me it might end up as a gift. Or maybe it’s just because I haven’t taken a picture wearing it, so it doesn’t quite seem mine yet…
For more Year of Projects updates, visit Come Blog-a-long on Ravelry.
This week’s pick: Teach Yourself to Knit the Easy Columbia Minerva Way.
Publication date: 1968.
Status: Out of print and expensive online.
Condition: This booklet has a fair amount of wear and tear.
This interesting booklet came into my collection when my mom moved recently. She found it in with her books but doesn’t remember how she originally picked it up. I would guess that it may have been a gift to her as a teen, but maybe she just picked it up as a vintage book later.
This is one of those “teach yourself to knit” guides that are usually found in the big box stores. According to internet gossip, Columbia Minerva yarn company has been out of business since the ’80s and may have been the parent company of Caron.
Two things stand out for me in this book (beside the vintage hair styles and fashions). Apparently the Columbia Minerva “way” was to avoid pattern abbreviations.
And the other thing (you may have already noticed it) is the use of “talking babies” for comic relief throughout the booklet.
My sense is that the intended audience was young, married mothers, and the book was supposed to include all the beginner projects a hip young mom in the late ’60s would want to knit…
…such as fashionable bonnets…
…matching children’s outfits…
…a pastel vest for your hubby…
… and awesome bonnet and mitten sets for your younger, teenage sisters.
Do you have a favorite “how to knit” book or booklet?
Thanks to everyone who entered and spread the word about these giveaways. According to Random.org, the winners are…
# 57, Phyllis, wins the Denise2Go for Crochet kit!
#16, Hannah at Boots and Feet, wins Granny Squares!
#11, Carolyn, wins the Laurel Hill exotic wood crochet hooks!
And # 16, DaCraftyLady at Crochetoholic’s Crochet Place, wins The New Tunisian Crochet!
Congratulations to the winners, and thanks again to everyone who entered. (And there’s still one more giveaway going on through Saturday here.)