Crochet stitch guide giveaway winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway for Harmony Guides: 101 Stitches to Crochet (The Harmony Guides) on my post reviewing the 20+ crochet stitch guides in my collection.  And now, what you’ve all been waiting for…

The grand prize.

There were 24 entries all together.

Trusty random.org chose entry #23.

I looked at my list of entries, organized by time stamp.  And the winner is…

In her own words, Julie says…

Congratulations, Julie, and thanks to everyone who entered and who liked Underground Crafter on Facebook.

Be on the lookout in the next few weeks, since I have a week of giveaways planned once I hit my 100th blog post (and this is post 94)!
BlogCatalog

Thursday craft goals update, week 13

Writing the words “week 13″ and realizing that a quarter of my timeline for achieving my craft goals is gone is quite sobering!  Since my last post…

 

The calendar has over 100 crochet patterns from many designers.
My Long Double Crochet Hat with Flower (September 24-27).
My Cables with Shells Scarf (October 8-9).
My Bobble Diamonds and Posts Scarf (November 7-8).
My Buttoned Cowl (December 26-30).

That’s all until next week!  How are you coming on your craft goals for the year?

WIP Wednesday – Hexagons aplenty


For other WIP Wednesday posts, be sure to stop by Tami’s Amis for links!

I’m continuing along with my hexagon baby blanket this week.  (I previously posted about it here, here, and here.)  There’s not much more since my last post because, to quote Calophi’s blog, I had to “rip it good!”

In an uncharacteristic move, when I wrote up my pattern for the hexagons, I didn’t write down which hook I was using.  Last week when I picked up the blocks again after a month, I just threw the yarn and a hook into my backpack.  By the end of the day, I had 4 hexagons.  But, when I took them home, they were 4 totally different size hexagons from the rest.  I actually liked the new (smaller) size better, so I ripped out all of the previous hexagons and remade them.

I took this picture in Cadman Plaza Park during my lunch break.

I have 5 (of 10) color A, 9 (of 9) color B, and 3 (of 9) color C hexagons completed.  I joined the first row already (you can see the white border outlines in the picture).

How are your WIPs going this week?

Crochet stitch guides

My recent freeform project – inspired by my Year of Projects goal to work my way through Crochet Master Class: Lessons and Projects from Today’s Top Crocheters and the Crochet Liberation Front’s July freeform CAL – has reminded me how much I love my stitch guides.  I use them for inspiration for my own projects, to come up with techniques or projects to teach my crochet students, and for designing patterns.  I have quite a few in my collection (over twenty!) so I thought I’d share my thoughts on each one (listed alphabetically).  Since this is such a long post, I thought I’d reward you for reading it by offering a giveaway at the end! Read on for details…

63 Cable Stitches to Crochet (Leisure Arts #3961)
by Darla Sims

Summary: 63 different cable patterns which can be made into a sampler afghan, with directions for edging, assembly, and border.

What I like:

  • The special stitches are described within the pattern so you don’t have to do a lot of flipping to the back of the booklet.
  • The booklet lays flat, so you can easily read and crochet at the same time.
  • The booklet is more affordable and lightweight than a book.
  • There are more cable patterns included in this booklet than you would likely find in a thorough stitch guide.

What I don’t like (or what’s missing):

  • The sampler is made in an off white color, so it is hard to see some of the stitch detail in the photographs.
  • Since the booklet is really a sampler project, and not a stitch guide, you aren’t given stitch multiples but rather the number of chains to start with for a 7″ block.  (A little “reverse engineering” is required if you want to adapt the stitches for another project of a different width.)
  • The pattern difficulty rating is only listed for the sampler project (intermediate), rather than for each stitch.
  • There are no stitch symbols, only pattern abbreviations.

Type: Booklet

Overall rating (out of 5 stars): 4

63 Easy-to-Crochet Pattern Stitches (Leisure Arts #555)
by Darla Sims

Summary: 63 stitch patterns (6 of which are squares worked in the round) to make into a sampler afghan, with instructions for edging, assembly, and border.  (Side note: I’d describe this as an “entry level” stitch guide designed for someone who isn’t quite ready to buy a stitch guide but who is tired of using the “same old” stitches.)

What I like:

  • The special stitches are described within the pattern so you don’t have to do a lot of flipping to the back of the booklet.
  • The booklet lays flat, so you can easily read and crochet at the same time.
  • The booklet is more affordable and lightweight than a book.
  • Stitch multiples are included so that you can easily adapt the stitches for a project of a different width.

What I don’t like (or what’s missing):

  • Most of the stitches are pretty standard, so if you have any other stitch guides, there is likely to be a lot of overlap.
  • There is no pattern difficulty rating listed.
  • The font is fairly small.
  • There are no stitch symbols, only pattern abbreviations.

Type: Booklet

Overall rating (out of 5 stars): 3 (if you already own a comprehensive stitch guide) or 4 (if this is your first stitch guide)

99 Crochet Post Stitches (Leisure Arts #4788)
by Darla Sims

Summary: Post stitches worked in 1, 2, or 3 color designs.

What I like:

  • There is a large, well lit photograph of each stitch in vibrant, colored yarn.  (This booklet is fun to flip through!)
  • A great range of stitch designs using post stitches.
  • The special stitches are described within the pattern so you don’t have to do a lot of flipping to the back of the booklet.
  • The booklet lays flat, so you can easily read and crochet at the same time.
  • The booklet is more affordable and lightweight than a book.
  • Stitch multiples are included so that you can easily adapt the stitches for a project of a different width.

What I don’t like (or what’s missing):

  • Darla assumes you are always starting with a foundation chain, and it isn’t clear until reading through the pattern how many stitches are turning chains.
  • There is no pattern difficulty rating listed.
  • There are no stitch symbols, only pattern abbreviations.

Type: Booklet

Overall rating (out of 5 stars): 4.5

101 Double-Ended Hook Stitches: Crochet (Crochet on the Double)
from Annie’s Attic

Summary: A stitch guide featuring double-ended (also known as Crochet on the Double, Crochetnit, Croknit, or Cro-hooking) crochet stitches.

What I like:

  • Color photographs show the front and the back of each stitch.
  • Clear instructions (with photographs) on the basic double-ended crochet stitch are included for beginners.
  • There aren’t many stitch guides available for double-ended crochet, so it’s mere existence is something I enjoy.

What I don’t like (or what’s missing):

  • Many different designers are included, and there’s a lack of consistency in instructions (e.g., purl stitch is also called pearl stitch).
  • The photographs are of variable quality.  Most are clear but there are quite a few which are fuzzy or very bright/low contrast.
  • Although this is a booklet, it doesn’t lay totally flat, so you do have to crack the spine to crochet and read at the same time.
  • There is no pattern difficulty listed.

Type: Booklet

Overall rating (out of 5 stars): 4

101 Easy Tunisian Stitches

by Carolyn Christmas and Dorris Brooks

Summary: A stitch guide featuring Tunisian (also known as afghan or tricot) crochet stitches.

What I like:

  • The introduction includes photographs to guide Tunisian crochet beginners through the basic stitches and the different methods of hook placement.
  • The booklet is organized into five sections (Puffs, Pebbles, & Popcorn; Shell Stitches; Openwork Patterns; Cable & Post Stitches; and Pattern Stitches), making it easier to find stitches.
  • There is a large, well lit photograph of each stitch in vibrant, colored yarn.  (This booklet is fun to flip through!)
  • The booklet is more affordable and lightweight than a book.
  • Stitch multiples are included so that you can easily adapt the stitches for a project of a different width.
  • There aren’t many English language stitch guides available for Tunisian crochet, so it’s mere existence is something I enjoy.

What I don’t like (or what’s missing):

  • There is no pattern difficulty rating listed.
  • There are no stitch symbols, only pattern abbreviations.

Type: Booklet or e-book (PDF)

Overall rating (out of 5 stars): 4.5

Harmony Guides: 101 Stitches to Crochet (The Harmony Guides)
Edited by Erika Knight

Summary: A stitch guide on cards.

What I like:

  • Each card features a large photograph of the stitch or motif.
  • Both pattern abbreviations and stitch symbols are used.
  • The card format allows you to take a few stitches with you when you’re crocheting on the go, and also let’s you see the card while crocheting.
  • A table of contents card lists all of the stitches and the card number (so if you can remember the name and keep your cards in order…).
  • The special stitches are described within the pattern so you don’t need to look at other cards.

What I don’t like (or what’s missing):

  • Most of the stitches are pretty standard, so if you have any other stitch guides, there is likely to be a lot of overlap.
  • There is no pattern difficulty rating listed.

Type: Card box set

Overall rating (out of 5 stars): 3 (if you already own a comprehensive stitch guide) or 4 (if this is your first stitch guide)

108 Crochet Cluster Stitches (Leisure Arts #4747)
by Darla Sims

Summary: Cluster stitches worked in 1, 2, or 3 color designs.

What I like:

  • There is a large photograph of each stitch.
  • A great range of stitch designs using cluster stitches.
  • The special stitches are described within the pattern so you don’t have to do a lot of flipping to the back of the booklet.
  • The booklet lays flat, so you can easily read and crochet at the same time.
  • The booklet is more affordable and lightweight than a book.
  • Stitch multiples are included so that you can easily adapt the stitches for a project of a different width.

What I don’t like (or what’s missing):

  • Darla assumes you are always starting with a foundation chain, and it isn’t clear until reading through the pattern how many stitches are turning chains.
  • There is no pattern difficulty rating listed.
  • There are no stitch symbols, only pattern abbreviations.
  • It is difficult to see the detail on the stitches worked in the grey yarn.

Type: Booklet

Overall rating (out of 5 stars): 4.5

Adventurous Stitch (Japanese)

from Nihon Vogue

Summary: 32 elaborate crochet stitch patterns, most of which use Tunisian crochet.

What I like:

  • There is a large, well lit photograph of each stitch in vibrant, colored yarn.  (This booklet is fun to flip through!)
  • Each stitch is shown in 3 versions, using different colorways and often different weights of yarn.
  • The stitches are quite unique and not likely to appear in other stitch guides you own.
  • Each pattern is shown using very large crochet stitch symbols.
  • The special stitches are shown with illustrations on the same page as the pattern so you don’t have to do a lot of flipping to the back of the booklet.
  • The booklet lays flat, so you can easily read and crochet at the same time.
  • The booklet is lightweight.

What I don’t like (or what’s missing):

  • There is no “glossary” of stitch symbols, so you will need to know the basics before picking up this book.
  • The text is all in Japanese, so if you have difficulty understanding an illustration for a special stitch, you are pretty much out of luck.
  • Because the booklet is imported, it costs more than you would normally pay for a booklet with only 32 stitch patterns.
  • There is no pattern difficulty rating listed.

Type: Booklet

Overall rating (out of 5 stars): 3 (if you are new to stitch guides, this one is probably too difficult to use for the price), 4.5 (for a stitch guide fiend, this should be required reading)

Around the Corner Crochet Borders: 150 Colorful, Creative Edging Designs with Charts and Instructions for Turning the Corner Perfectly Every Time
by Edie Eckman

Summary: 150 stitches, with instructions for turning corners on edgings.

What I like:

  • There is a large, well lit photograph of each stitch in vibrant, colored yarn(s).  (This booklet is fun to flip through!)
  • A great range of stitch designs for borders, many of which you are unlikely to have in other stitch guides.
  • The special stitches are described within the pattern so you don’t have to do a lot of flipping to the back of the book.
  • Each stitch includes both pattern abbreviations and stitch symbols.
  • There is a glossary and guide to stitch symbols in the back.
  • Many of the patterns incorporate different stitches, so that a multiple row border will not just repeat the same pattern each row.
  • Many stitches can be adapted for using throughout the project, rather than solely as a border.

What I don’t like (or what’s missing):

  • There is no pattern difficulty rating listed.
  • The binding doesn’t lay flat, so it is difficult to crochet and read the pattern at the same time.

Type: Softcover book

Overall rating (out of 5 stars): 4.5

Crochet Patterns Book 300 (Japanese)

from Nihon Vogue

Summary: A stitch guide organized into different types of crochet stitches.

What I like:

  • There is a large, well lit photograph of each stitch.  (This booklet is fun to flip through!)
  • The stitches are organized into several sections.  I don’t read Japanese, but the sections are defined enough (e.g., cluster stitches) that you can easily find specific stitches.
  • Each pattern is shown using very large stitch symbols.
  • There is an illustrated guide to special stitch symbols in the back.
  • Stitch multiples are included so that you can easily adapt the stitches for a project of a different width.
  • There are many stitches you are unlikely to have in your other stitch guides, including several pineapples.

What I don’t like (or what’s missing):

  • There is no pattern difficulty rating listed.
  • The binding doesn’t lay flat, so it is difficult to crochet and read the pattern at the same time.
  • The text is all in Japanese, so if you have difficulty understanding an illustration for a special stitch, you are pretty much out of luck.
  • Because the booklet is imported, it can be costly to order and ship.
  • About 20 patterns are in the back, rather than on the page with the photo, due to space constraints.  The patterns are numbered, but not in numerical order, so you have to flip around a bit to find these stitches.

Type: Booklet

Overall rating (out of 5 stars): 4

Crochet Techniques (Milner Craft Series)
by Renate Kirkpatrick

Summary: 5 stitch sampler rug projects, including “classic” stitches, hexagon motifs, Jacquard squares, Tunisian crochet stitches, and double-ended crochet stitches.

What I like:

  • The book includes UK/Australian abbreviations with US terms in parenthesis, as well as stitch symbols, for each pattern.
  • There are illustrated instructions for basic as well as special stitches throughout the book.
  • There are joining suggestions for each project.
  • There is a large, well lit photograph of each stitch, as well as full project photos of each rug.
  • Stitch multiples are included so that you can easily adapt the stitches for a project of a different width.
  • There aren’t many English language stitch guides available for Tunisian or double-ended crochet crochet, so it’s mere existence is something I enjoy.

What I don’t like (or what’s missing):

  • The “classic” sampler is made in an off white color, so it is hard to see some of the stitch detail in the photographs.
  • The pattern difficulty rating is only listed for each sampler project, rather than for each stitch, and is so vague (e.g., “average to advanced”) that it is almost meaningless.
  • The binding doesn’t lay flat, so it is difficult to crochet and read the pattern at the same time.

Type: Softcover book

Overall rating (out of 5 stars): 4

Crochet the Complete Guide
by Jane Davis

Summary: A crochet reference guide including over 150 stitch patterns.

What I like:

  • The stitches are organized into 19 sections (Basic Stitches & Stitch Combinations; Shell Stitches & Shell Stitch Combinations; Chevrons, Ripples, & Waves; Stretched Stitches; Post Stitches; Clusters, Bobbles, & Popcorns; Ruffles & Cords; Leaves & Flowers; Blocks; Color Changing Rows; Colorwork; Bead Crochet; Edgings and Insertions; Lace Backgrounds; Filet; Irish Crochet; Snowflakes; Tunisian Crochet; CroKnit), making it easier to find stitches.
  • Stitch multiples are included so that you can easily adapt the stitches for a project of a different width.
  • This guide includes many types of crochet not generally included in English language stitch guides (e.g., Tunisian crochet, double-ended crochet or CroKnit, bead crochet).
  • There is a photograph of each stitch on the same page as the pattern.
  • Each stitch includes both pattern abbreviations and stitch symbols.
  • The book has a spiral binding, allowing it to lay flat so you can read and crochet at the same time.
  • The book also includes other reference information and patterns.

What I don’t like (or what’s missing):

  • Some of the stitches are made in an off white color, so it is hard to see stitch detail in the photographs.
  • Many of the stitches are pretty standard, so if you have any other stitch guides, there is likely to be a lot of overlap.
  • There is no pattern difficulty rating listed.

Type: Hardcover book with spiral binding

Overall rating (out of 5 stars): 3 (as a stitch guide), 4 (as an overall crochet reference book)

Crocheting for Pleasure
by Mildred Graves Ryan

Summary: A crochet reference guide with more than 50 stitch patterns plus sections on Tunisian crochet, hairpin lace, broomstick lace, Irish crochet, filet crochet, woven crochet, and medallions (motifs).  (Side note: This is a sentimental favorite for me, since I inherited it from my grandmother.  It is also the book that taught me how to do broomstick lace!)

What I like:

  • This book has the clearest illustrations I have ever seen.  Each stitch is illustrated and there are also many “how-to” illustrations.
  • Stitch multiples are included so that you can easily adapt the stitches for a project of a different width.
  • This guide includes many types of crochet not generally included in English language stitch guides (e.g., Tunisian crochet, hairpin lace, and broomstick lace).
  • The book includes a range of interesting information for crocheters at all levels on fit, materials, reading patterns, construction, and blocking.
  • There is a section at the beginning for left-handers.

What I don’t like (or what’s missing):

  • There are only 13 color pictures in the book (of projects).
  • Most of the projects are stylistically very dated, since the book was published in 1983.
  • There is no pattern difficulty rating.
  • The binding doesn’t lay flat, so it is difficult to crochet and read the pattern at the same time.
  • There are no stitch symbols, only pattern abbreviations.

Type: Hardcover book

Overall rating (out of 5 stars): 3 (as a stitch guide), 5 (as an awesome crochet book with great information, if you can handle the dated patterns!)

Donna Kooler’s Encyclopedia of Crochet (Leisure Arts #15906) (Donna Kooler’s Series)

by Donna Kooler

Summary: A crochet reference guide with over 150 stitch patterns.  (You can read my full review of the book here.)

What I like:

  • The stitches are organized into 14 sections (Simple Combinations; Fans & Shells; Lace Patterns; Waves, Ripples, & Chevrons; Angled Patterns; Spiked & Crossed; Post Stitches; Bobbles, Popcorns, & Puffs; Tapestry, Jacquard, & Mosaic; Net, Mesh, & Trellis; Motifs; Filet Crochet; Edges, Edgings, & Insertions; and Tunisian Crochet), making it easier to find stitches.
  • Stitch multiples are included so that you can easily adapt the stitches for a project of a different width.
  • Variants are included for many stitch patterns.
  • There is a large, color photo of each stitch.
  • This guide includes many types of crochet not generally included in English language stitch guides (e.g., Tunisian crochet and Jacquard).
  • Each stitch includes both pattern abbreviations and stitch symbols.
  • The book also includes other reference information and patterns.
  • There are illustrated instructions for left-handers at the beginning.

What I don’t like (or what’s missing):

  • There is no pattern difficulty rating.
  • The binding doesn’t lay flat, so it is difficult to crochet and read the pattern at the same time.

Type: Softcover book

Overall rating (out of 5 stars): 5

Encyclopedia of Tunisian Crochet

by Angela “ARNie” Grabowski

Summary: A Tunisian crochet reference guide with, according to the back cover, over 400 stitches.

What I like:

  • There aren’t many English language stitch guides available for Tunisian crochet, so it’s mere existence is something I enjoy.
  • The stitches are organized into 16 sections (Basic Foundations; Double & Treble Stitches; Front Crossed Stitches; Back Crossed Stitches; Open Work & Lace; Shells, Fans, & Stars; Three Dimensional [Relief] Stitches; Cables, Ropes, & Braids; ‘Honeycomb’ Combos; 2 Stitch Honeycomb Combos; Basket Weave Patterns; True Checkerboard Patterns; Vertical Stripe Patterns; Horizontal Stripe Patterns; Diagonal Stripe Patterns; Zig Zag Stripe Patterns; and High-Low Honeycomb Combos), making it easier to find stitches.
  • The book is spiral bound, so you can read and crochet at the same time.
  • There are many tips that would help a beginner to Tunisian crochet.
  • Stitch multiples are included so that you can easily adapt the stitches for a project of a different width.

What I don’t like (or what’s missing):

  • Most of the photos are grayscale and it is difficult to see stitch detail.
  • While there are photos of over 400 stitches, most of them are more like “recipes” than patterns (e.g., there will be pictures of 10 vertical stripes variations, and then on another page you will be given instructions about how to make a vertical stripe).
  • There is no discussion of finishing the final row of a Tunisian crochet project (sometimes called “binding off”).
  • While the stitch pattern section is well organized, it can be difficult to find information in the rest of the book and some sections appear unedited.
  • There is no pattern difficulty rating.
  • There are no stitch symbols, only pattern abbreviations.

Type: Spiral-bound book

Overall rating (out of 5 stars): 3

Good Housekeeping The Illustrated Book of Needlecrafts (Good Housekeeping Step-By-Step)
Edited by Cecelia K. Toth

Summary: A needlecrafts reference guide with over 50 crochet stitch patterns.

What I like:

  • Stitch multiples are included so that you can easily adapt the stitches for a project of a different width.
  • There is a well lit photograph of each stitch in a colorful yarn on the same page as the pattern.
  • The book also includes other reference information and patterns about crochet and seven other needlecrafts.
  • The introduction includes photographs to guide crochet beginners through the basic stitches and the different methods of hook placement.

What I don’t like (or what’s missing):

  • There is no pattern difficulty rating.
  • The binding doesn’t lay flat, so it is difficult to crochet and read the pattern at the same time.
  • There are no stitch symbols, only pattern abbreviations.
  • The stitches included are pretty standard, so if you own many stitch guides, there will be a lot of overlap.

Type: Paperback book

Overall rating (out of 5 stars): 3 (as a stitch guide), 5 (as an awesome needlecrafts reference book)

“Harmony” Guide to 100′s More Crochet Stitches (Harmony guides) and 300 Crochet Stitches (The Harmony Guides, V. 6)

vs.

The Ultimate Sourcebook of Knitting and Crochet Stitches


I had to list these three together, since there is so much overlap!  All three are fairly comprehensive stitch guides, but you can find virtually everything contained in the two Harmony guides in the Ultimate Sourcebook, down to the exact same (poorly lit) photographs!

  • The Harmony guides include both pattern abbreviations and stich symbols, while the Ultimate Sourcebook uses only pattern abbreviations.
  • The Ultimate Sourcebook lists a pattern difficulty level for each stitch, as well as a rating of the drape produced.  This feature makes it my ultimate favorite stitch guide for teaching and designing, since it gives is an objective opinion about whether a certain stitch is, for example, intermediate or beginner.
  • All three books include a photo of the stitch and the pattern instructions on the same page and have an illustrated introduction to basic stitches in the beginning.
  • All three books divide the stitches into sections, so it is easy to find stitches.
  • None of the books lays complete flat (for reading and crocheting), but The Ultimate Sourcebook comes closest since it is a hardcover book.
  • If you had both Harmony guides, or The Ultimate Sourcebook, you would probably be in possession of every “standard” crochet stitch and motif out there.
  • The Ultimate Sourcebook has the added benefit of including a knitting stitch guide.

Type: Harmony Guides are paperback booklets and the Ultimate Sourcebook is a hardcover book

Overall rating (out of 5 stars): 5 each for 300 Crochet Stitches and The Ultimate Sourcebook; 4 for 100′s More Crochet Stitches

Interlocking Crochet: 80 Original Stitch Patterns Plus Techniques and Projects
by Tanis Galik


Summary: A reference guide to interlocking crochet (also known as intermeshing or interlock filet crochet) with 80 stitch patterns.

What I like:

  • I don’t know of any other stitch guide focused on interlocking crochet, so it’s mere existence is something I enjoy.
  • Color photographs show the front and the back of each stitch.  The pictures use high contrast yarns so the designs are really clear.
  • There are many really interesting geometric patterns.

What I don’t like (or what’s missing):

  • There is an error in the basic instructions which can make the process quite confusing.  (Corrections for the book can be found on the author’s web site.)
  • Most of the stitches are done in the same yarns, which can make looking through the book a bit dull.
  • There is no pattern difficulty rating.
  • The binding doesn’t lay flat, so it is difficult to crochet and read the pattern at the same time.
  • There are no stitch symbols, only pattern abbreviations.
  • The colors used in the finished project patterns didn’t much appeal to me.

Type: Paperback book

Overall rating (out of 5 stars): 4

Complete Guide to Needlework
(1979 edition)

Summary: A needlecrafts reference guide with over 70 crochet stitch patterns.  (Side note: You can tell this one is a classic because I inherited it twice – once from my grandmother and once through MC’s mother.)

What I like:

  • Stitch multiples are included so that you can easily adapt the stitches for a project of a different width.
  • There is a clear photograph of each stitch on the same page as the pattern.
  • The book also includes other reference information and patterns about crochet and nine other needlecrafts.
  • The introduction includes illustrations to guide crochet beginners through the basic stitches and the different methods of hook placement.
  • The book more or less lays flat so you can read while crocheting.

What I don’t like (or what’s missing):

  • There is no pattern difficulty rating.
  • There are no stitch symbols, only pattern abbreviations.
  • The stitches included are pretty standard, so if you own many stitch guides, there will be a lot of overlap.

Type: Hardcover book

Overall rating (out of 5 stars): 3 (as a stitch guide), 4.5 (as an awesome needlecrafts reference guide)

Textured Crochet More Than 70 Designs With Easy-to-follow Charts – 2007 publication.
by Helen Jordan

Summary: A stitch guide with more than 70 textured stitch patterns.

What I like:

  • There is a well lit photograph of each stitch in colorful yarn.  (This booklet is fun to flip through!)
  • A great range of stitch designs using textured stitches.  (This is the only stitch guide I have which has a whole section on “three-fold fabrics” to use “the unique three-loop top of the half double crochet…”)
  • Each stitch includes both pattern abbreviations and stitch symbols.
  • There is a stitch symbol key on each page with any special stitches used so you don’t have to do a lot of flipping to the back of the booklet.
  • The book is spiral bound and lays flat, so you can easily read and crochet at the same time.
  • Stitch multiples are included so that you can easily adapt the stitches for a project of a different width.
  • The book is small and portable.

What I don’t like (or what’s missing):

  • There is no pattern difficulty listed.
  • The stitches are so fun that I wish there were more!

Type: Spiral-bound hardcover book

Overall rating (out of 5 stars): 5

Tricot Crochet The Complete Book
by Rebecca Jones

Summary: A quirky Tunisian crochet (also known as tricot or Afghan crochet) reference guide with over 50 stitches.

What I like:

  • There aren’t many English language stitch guides available for Tunisian crochet, so it’s mere existence is something I enjoy.
  • The stitches are organized into 5 sections (Plain Tricot Patterns; Textured Patterns; Lace Patterns; Trebles & Cables; and Patterns Using Two or More Colors), making it easier to find stitches.  There are also several methods for Tunisian in the round.
  • The book is hardcover, and it lays flat so you can read and crochet at the same time.
  • There are many tips that would help a beginner to Tunisian crochet.
  • Stitch multiples are included so that you can easily adapt the stitches for a project of a different width.
  • There are some great vintage yarn advertisements (late 1800s to early 1900s) in the “Coffee Break” section.
  • What the book lacks in production values, it makes up in character.  There are many cute drawings in the “stick figure” style throughout.

What I don’t like (or what’s missing):

  • Most of the photos are grayscale and it is difficult to see stitch detail.
  • There is no pattern difficulty rating.
  • There are no stitch symbols, only pattern abbreviations.

Type: Hardcover book

Overall rating (out of 5 stars): 4 (4.5 if you are a Tunisian crochet “junkie”)

Tunisian Crochet Patterns 100 (Japanese)

from Nihon Vogue

Summary: Tunisian crochet stitch guide.

What I like:

  • There is a large, well lit photograph of each stitch.  (This booklet is fun to flip through!)
  • The stitches are organized into several sections.  I don’t read Japanese, but the sections are defined enough (e.g., dimensional stitches) that you can easily find specific stitches.
  • Each pattern is shown using large stitch symbols.
  • There is an illustrated guide to special stitch symbols in the back.
  • Stitch multiples are included so that you can easily adapt the stitches for a project of a different width.
  • There are many stitches you are unlikely to have in your other stitch guides.

What I don’t like (or what’s missing):

  • There is no pattern difficulty rating listed.
  • The binding doesn’t lay flat, so it is difficult to crochet and read the pattern at the same time.
  • The text is all in Japanese, so if you have difficulty understanding an illustration for a special stitch, you are pretty much out of luck.
  • Because the booklet is imported, it can be costly to order and ship.

Type: Paperback book

Overall rating (out of 5 stars): 4.5

If you’d like more reviews on stitch guides from the pros, check out this article about stitch dictionaries from Crochet Insider.

The Giveaway

I’m giving away my almost new copy of 101 Stitches to Crochet (reviewed above).  I bought it on sale at Home Goods and since it was sealed in plastic, I didn’t realize that I have most of the stitches in my stitch guide collection already :(.  I have unwrapped the plastic and looked through each stitch, but it looks brand new otherwise.

To enter,

  • Leave a comment on this post with your favorite crochet stitch guide (or if you don’t have any stitch guides, how you might use one) by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Saturday, July 30.  Be sure to include your email address (which won’t be displayed) so I can contact you if you win.  (Please note that my comments are moderated, so if you are a new visitor, it will not appear immediately.)
  • For a second chance to win, like the Underground Crafter Facebook page.  Then you can either post a comment on Facebook or here again so I will give you another entry.  (If you already like my Facebook page, you can still post a comment for another chance to win.)
  • I will add another awesome stitch guide (two prizes) if I get up to 100 fans on Facebook, so please spread the word!
  • I am willing to ship to the U.S., Mexico, or Canada, so please feel free to enter from any of these locations.  (Sorry folks, it is too heavy for long distance shipping.)

Good luck to everyone!

 

Underground Crafter is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.  (In other words, if you plan to buy one of these awesome stitch guides on Amazon.com, click through from my site!)

Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class – Freeform finale

(This post is part of my Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class series.  You can find my first three posts on freeform crochet herehere, and here.)

This is my first Sunday post for Year of Projects.  I have been posting my updates on Monday, but since I have finished (!) my first project, I thought I’d post early.

In last week’s Year of Projects update, I was debating how long I would continue to participate in the Crochet Liberation Front’s freeform CAL.  I continued along in the CAL for a few more days this week, until my cat blanket seemed to be telling me it was finished :).

Day 18 (instructions)

Mmmm, cables.

I picked up another stitch guide to find something appropriate for my Day 18 crocheting.

I settled on stitch #2 (Baby Cables) and chose my Days 4, 5, 9, 12, & 15 piece.  I decided to use the same yarn (Red Heart 9522 Leaf) that I had used to border my previous day’s piece.

Here's a detail of my Day 18 work.

Day 19 (instructions) and Day 20 (instructions)

I read the instructions for Day 19 and Day 20 and looked at my pieces.  They were nearing the size I needed for my cat blanket.  I finally decided I wanted to start joining the blanket pieces, and ignored the instructions.

I picked up the smallest piece and another stitch guide.

I decided to use #82 Outline to add some length to the small piece.

There were four yarns which I had already used in two of the pieces.  I decided that I would finish my cat blanket with these four colors, to tie the various colors in the three pieces together.  I used the Loops and Threads Impeccable 01243 Forest and 01013 Chocolate for the Outline stitch, which added some width to the piece.

Detail of my Outline stitch, added to my Days 1-3, 6, 13, & 15 piece.

I increased the length of the piece using some Red Heart Super Saver 0971 Camouflage.  I went back to the Leaf yarn, and joined all three pieces together using single crochet.  I then added a simple double crochet border all around in Loops and Threads Impeccable 108920 Soft Taupe.

Now that the pieces were joined, the blanket was the width I was looking for, but lacked the length.  So I picked up the stitch guide and tried #99 Wavelets… but soon realized that this was actually the same stitch I used last week (called the Interlocking Shell Stitch in the The Ultimate Sourcebook of Knitting and Crochet Stitches).  Rather than rip it out, I switched to another stitch in Forest.

The stitch I used is called Hourglass II.

Once the piece was close to the size I wanted, I stopped and switched to the Chocolate yarn.  I straightened out the piece with a row of crossed double crochet.

My completed cat blanket.

Thoughts on freeform

I’m glad that I finally experimented with freeform, inspired by my Crochet Master Class: Lessons and Projects from Today’s Top Crocheters project.  I love my new cat blanket and it is definitely more interesting than anything I would have designed if I sat down and planned it.  I especially like these details…

Day 3
Day 8

I’m not sure when I will pick up freeform again, but I know I would like to try a motif project next.  A few times during the CAL, I considered adding some motifs but I wanted my cat blanket to be very thick, durable, and sturdy without a lot of seams that my cat would try to eat or openwork that he would destroy.  I love Prudence Mapstone‘s motif project in Crochet Master Class, and definitely think there is a freeform clothing project in my future…

Another satisfied customer.
Resting on his new freeform blanket after a long day of mischief.

Thursday craft goals update, week 12

Here’s my weekly update on my craft goals!

Personal crafting goals

2. Work my way through Crochet Master Class.

My latest update on my adventures in freeform was posted on Monday.  I’m considering moving on to another chapter for my next update…

Professional crafting goals

1. Read Producing Video Podcasts. and 2. Create and post at least three videos (tutorials or projects/patterns) on my blog or website.

I’m almost done with the book.  I have created a schedule for about a year’s worth of videos.  My plan is for a year long CAL (crochet-a-long) with a new crochet stitch posted each week.  I have scripted the first few and hope to have filming done for my first batch by the end of August.  More details to come!

4. Blog at least twice a week.

Since last week, I’ve had three posts, including an interview with Gwen Blakley Kinsler.

5. Teach in at least two conferences/festivals.

This week, I spoke to the organizer at the North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival, and I will be teaching three classes on Friday.  If you are in the area on September 30, please register for one of my classes, or at least stop by and say hi!

6. Complete the Pet Product Design and Marketing certificate at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

I finished my fourth class on Monday, and am now 57% of my way through the program!

Until next week’s update… ;)!

 

WIP Wednesday: In search of my quilting mojo, part 2 and Return of the hexagon baby blanket

(Apologies to my subscribers who received a draft of this post on Monday by accident!)

For more WIP Wednesday posts, visit Tami’s Amis for crochet and knitting and Freshly Pieced for quilting.

 

 

 

Two weeks ago, I mentioned that I was taking some classes at my LQS, the City Quilter, in an effort to find my long lost quilting mojo.

Last Friday, my friend JS and I headed back for our third Dear Jane class.  (For those unfamiliar with the Dear Jane phenomenon, Brenda Papadakis was a math teacher/quilter who became fascinated with the 1863 quilt made by Jane A. Stickle.  She began teaching the blocks, which were not “traditional quilt blocks.”  Eventually, she wrote a book with her letters to Jane – hence the name, Dear Jane – with her version of templates for each of the 225 unique 4-1/2″ blocks.  Now there are tons of Dear Jane blogs and even devotees who call themselves Janiacs.  And people say Star Wars fans are weird…)

We brought our trusty DJ books to class, along with various other supplies.

Friday’s lesson was on foundation piecing.  This is a technique I was always interested in, but for some reason never got around to learning.

I must admit, I came to class a little grumpy.  I had made no blocks since the last class and was not too hopeful that I would leave with even one block completed.  The block we were working on in class was C-1, Trooper Green’s Badge.

Top view, photographed by my dear MC.

I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.  (My Dear Jane blocks for this class are being made using batiks.)  I accidentally cut one of the outer strips too short, so I had to do a repair job.

You can see the repair more clearly in this picture, if you look at the bottom strip. (Photo by MC.)

I almost had time to make another block, but my machine at the store went bonkers (perhaps trying to get me out before closing time).  I’m looking forward to getting at least one other Dear Jane block done :) using foundation piecing.

According to our teacher, Carol Doak is really the person to read if you are interested in learning to foundation piece.  Bonnie Hunter, whose Quiltville website was a weekly stop on my to do list when I was quilting regularly, has a Foundation Piecing tips page for Dear Jane blocks, if you are interested in giving it a try yourself.

Now on to my crocheting.  It has been over a month since I last posted about the hexagon baby blanket I’m making for a friend’s first child.  I just picked it up again yesterday and have made a little bit of progress.  Even though it is a join-as-you-go project, I decided to work the hexagons in batches up until the last row because it is too darn hot in NYC right now to be carrying around even a partial baby blanket on my commute.

Here's the view from the top.

I’m a bit disappointed to say that I’ve only finished 9 blocks so far, but I don’t expect that anyone is missing out on a blanket in D.C. this summer.

I took these pictures in a local school yard while rushing to get cat food after work. People around here must think I'm bonkers.

Not too shabby for a week’s work!

Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class – Freeform, part 3

(This post is part of my Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class series.  You can find my first two posts on freeform crochet here and here.)

This posts describes my progression through Days 11 through 17 of the Crochet Liberation Front’s Freeform CAL.

This week, I took more detours from the instructions than in previous weeks.  This was partially because I am working on a cat blanket instead of a wearable, so I didn’t want to use beads (because I would end up pulling them out of the litter box ;)) or very lacy stitches (that would get snagged on his claws).

Days 11 (instructions), 12 (instructions), and 13 (instructions)

I was a bit off track at the beginning of the week since I was busy with school and work and am reading a book on the commute rather than crocheting.

I sat down on Wednesday (Day 13) with the instructions from all three days and my bag of yarn.  I decided to continue my theme of working with a different stitch guide every few days.

This is one of my favorite stitch guides. I purchased my copy on Yesasia.com.

For Day 11, I used my Days 7, 8, & 10 swatch, which was very textured and used the most diverse range of yarn weights and types of my three pieces.  I decided to somewhat follow directions by adding 10 rows to the piece.  For the three colors on the first addition, I used Caron Simply Soft 9707 Dark Sage, Red Heart Soft 9522 Leaf, and Loops and Threads Impeccable 01013 Chocolate.  I worked 8 rows in the pattern in the back loops of a slightly modified version of the pattern.  I then added a half double crochet corner (bringing it up to 10 rows) in Loops and Threads Impeccable 01011 Soft Taupe.  I used a Boye K hook.

Days 7, 8, 10, & 11.
I really like the stitch pattern (#259) I chose for my Day 11 piece.

For Day 12, I picked up my Days, 4, 5, & 9 swatch.  For some reason, Catherine Wheel called out to me, so I basically disregarded the instructions all together and went to work with a Boye J hook and Loops and Threads Impeccable in 01243 Forest and 01013 Chocolate. I didn’t work the full 10 rows since this piece was rapidly outgrowing my other two pieces and I wanted to try to bring them to a similar size.

Days 4, 5, 9, & 12.
Detail of my Day 12 work, using stitch #268 with a row of single crochet at the beginning and end.

For Day 13, I picked up my Days 1-3 & 6 swatch, which was by far the smallest piece.  Fearless Leader posted pics of her work, and since she was also deviating from her own instructions, I decided to skip them all together for the day.  (Besides, charms/beads and cat blanket don’t go together in my mind!)

I had one ball of yarn in the bag that hadn’t been used on anything yet, so I decided to pick it up even though it didn’t really “go” with the rest of the piece.  This yarn ball is one that I got from my grandmother years ago when she was destashing.  It feels a lot like Red Heart Super Saver (i.e., a very stiff acrylic), and I know she used to buy Super Saver a lot at Woolworth’s (the “five and dime”).  It is a green color but the tone sets it apart from the other greens in my project.  I decided to add a border around the entire piece in single crochet, including some bobbles (3 repeat bobbles, to be specific) on one side.  Then I jumped into my chosen stitch pattern.

Days 1-3, 6, & 13.
This is a detail of #80 from Crochet Patterns Book 300.
Because of the stiffness of the yarn, I feel like these bobbles will hold up under my cat's claws!

Day 14 (instructions)

Here I faced a conundrum.  The instructions called for broomstick lace.  I actually really enjoy making broomstick lace, but I was concerned it would not survive my cat’s claws.  (After all, a bobble in my Days 4, 5, 9 & 12 swatch is already looking a bit damaged from him playing with the piece while I was working on another piece.)  I did a few experiments with different yarn weights and different knitting needle sizes, but I decided I couldn’t get a broomstick lace with a look that I liked that also had the sturdiness to survive incorporation into a cat blanket :(.

The stitch guides seem to have been bringing me luck, so I picked up another one.

This is one of the first stitch guides I ever owned. I'm glad I held on to it, especially now that I can knit, too.

This time, I decided on the Interlocking Shell Stitch (p. 233).  I started with a half double crochet border around my Days 7, 8, 10, & 11 swatch using the Red Heart Super Saver 0971 Camouflage.  I added Loops and Threads Impeccable 01243 Forest as my second color.

Days 7, 8, 10, 11, & 14.
Here's a detail of the Interlocking Shell Stitch from Day 14.

Day 15 (instructions)

Since the yarn bag I set up for this project only included one textured yarn (Loops and Thread Country Loom with a lost wrapper but probably the color Shale), I decided to use it again.  I added some borders to the two pieces without the textured yarn to even up the sides in preparation for joining my pieces.  (My days 15, 16, & 17 pictures are all taken at an angle and the actual pieces are more rectangular than trapezoidal.)

This is my Days 1-3, 6, 13, & 15 piece.
Days 4, 5, 9, 12, & 15.

Days 16 & 17 (instructions)

Our instructions for the weekend were to add length and width to our pieces.  My pieces are probably close to large enough for a cat blanket, once they are, er, um rectangularized, and I join them and add borders.  So I decided just to even out the one piece which had the most unusual shape.  I picked up my Red Heart Soft 9522 Leaf and went to work.

Days 7, 8, 10-11, 14, 16-17.

Dilemma

So now that I’ve passed the halfway point, I’m not sure how much further I will continue with the Crochet Liberation Front’s CAL.  I don’t need my pieces much larger to make my cat blanket.  I could actually just even them up and join them now, and be finished.  I’m glad I tried a freeform project but I’m not sure that working it through a CAL for 31 days is the right approach for me.

Also, there are 18 chapters in Crochet Master Class, so to work through the entire book in a year, I probably need to spend 2-3 weeks (rather than 4) on each technique.  What do you think?  Time for me to move on to another chapter, or keep on working through the CAL?

Putty is too busy sunbathing to worry about cat blankets.

An interview with crochet’s queen regnant, Gwen Blakley Kinsler

I’m excited to be joined today by Gwen Blakley Kinsler, founder of the Crochet Guild of America, as part of my ongoing series about teaching needlecrafts. I met Gwen (online, of course) in the Crochet Instructors Lounge group on Ravelry.  In addition to being a nationally known crochet teacher, Gwen is a designer, a crochet artist, author of Kids Can Do It! Crocheting, and the editor of DRG’s Talking Crochet newsletter.

Gwen, also known as Crochet Queen, can be found on her website, her blog, her Flickr photostream, her Facebook page, her Twitter page, or on Ravelry (as crochetkween or in her Rav group, Cro-Kween Designs).  She is a proud lifetime member of the Crochet Guild of America.  (All images in this post are viewable on Gwen’s Flickr photostream and are used with her permission.)

Gwen, the Crochet Queen (or Kween, as the setting dictates).

Underground Crafter (UC): What first inspired you to teach crochet?

Gwen: My passion for crochet got me started.  In 1982, I had two little children and decided to offer crochet classes at a local park district.  It was something I knew a lot about and cared about and it got me out of the house a little bit.

Gwen's "garden path rock."

 

UC: Has teaching crochet impacted your own personal crafting?

Gwen: Oh, most definitely!  I learn so much from my students.  I keep my ears open and listen to what they share.  There is often crossover in their interests in crochet and other crafts.  I think mixed-media work is the “hot” new thing right now and it is my new “frontier.”  (UC comment: Gwen has some very interesting mixed media work for sale on her website.  In particular, I was struck by her pieces incorporating photos of Frida Kahlo and prints of Kahlo’s paintings.)

Gwen has a broad range of freeform work that you can view on her website or Flickr photostream. She will be teaching "No Rules Crochet," a freeform primer during the Market Sessions at Stitches Midwest in August.

UC: Do you have plans for expanding your teaching?  What goals do you have for the next year?

Gwen: I plan to search out a new venue, such as a fiber fest or sheep and wool fest.  I like teaching at venues that are bi-stitchural.  The students come with good handwork skills and also a sense of mystique about how to crochet.  I like to birth new crocheters into the world!  (UC comment: Note to self: Now I will have to find some sentences to use “bi-stitchural” in… here’s my first one:  In addition to Gwen’s classes at various regional and national venues, she teaches at her local bi-stitchural yarn shop, Fuzzy Wuzzy Yarns.  If you are in the Chicago area, stop by for one of Gwen’s bead crochet, flatwork bead crochet, symbol crochet, or crochet socks classes this fall.)

Gwen will also be teaching "Bead Crochet Basics" as a Market Session class at Stitches Midwest.

UC: What are your favorite things to teach?

Gwen: Bead crochet and freeform crochet.

Another example of Gwen's freeform work.

UC: What are you hoping no one will ask to learn? :)

Gwen: Fridgies!!  (UC comment: Gwen and I must be kindred spirits.  We both love to crochet, we appreciate the work of Frida Kahlo, and we are both, er, um, disinterested in fridgies.)

UC: You are a CYC certified crochet instructor.  What did you find most useful about the program and how did it prepare you to teach?

Gwen: I have been CYCA certified since 1996 and it is kind of hard to remember what was most useful.  Back then, the teacher came to us and it was a group class and 2-day session.  I think the manual and the practice teaching, plus the use of the certification beside my name, have been the most useful.

There is still work to be done, though.  No one ever asked me if I am certified or otherwise qualified in any way in all the places I have taught.  I think CYC needs to promote the importance of teachers who are certified and educate the venues to expect this level of quality in the teachers they hire.

UC: You founded the Crochet Guild of America (and, as a member, let me say thanks!).  Tell me about that.

Gwen: I was at the right place at the right time with a little entrepreneurial spirit and perseverance thrown in for good measure!  I wanted to be able to share and to be part of a group with other crocheters.  I wanted to learn from experts.  I had a crochet party and 90 crocheters came to the first conference (1994).  Those in attendance voted to create a national organization.  More details are at www.crochet.org.

Gwen's "Alan rock."

UC: What advice do you have for emerging crochet professional designers and teachers?

Gwen: Do your homework and don’t jump in before you are ready.  Hone your crochet skills and specialize in one aspect of crochet and strive to make a name for yourself in that arena.

Bead crochet is one of Gwen's teaching specialties.

Thanks so much for stopping by for an interview, Gwen!  In addition to the two Market Session classes mentioned above, Gwen will also be teaching Irish Crochet on Steroids and the Posh Post Stitch at STITCHES Midwest in August.  If you are in the area, you should check out one of these classes and support crochet at the STITCHES events.

Thursday craft goals update – Week 11

I’m keeping my weekly update of my craft goals brief today.

Personal crafting goals

2. Work my way through Crochet Master Class.  Instead of using the patterns, I’d like to create my own project (for myself and/or for teaching) for each technique/skill in the book.

I’m still working on my freeform project, a cat blanket made by loosely following the Crochet Liberation Front’s CAL.  (My last update post can be found here.) Now I’m thinking about which chapter to approach next…

Professional crafting goals

1. Read Producing Video Podcasts. and 2. Create and post at least three videos (tutorials or projects/patterns) on my blog or website.

I’m about 2/3 through the book.  I’m on the fence about whether I’m going to do an actual, serialized, video podcast, or just use tips from the book (and from my other book, Create Your Own Blog: 6 Easy Projects to Start Blogging Like a Pro) to make some instructional crochet videos.  I’ve decided that it is better to get started soon with the equipment I already have rather than to wait until I can afford new equipment but might not have the time to film.  The first video series is being scripted out right now – more to come soon!

4. Blog at least twice a week.

This week I met my goal with the aid of Sara from S2 Stationery & Design, who interviewed me to kick off her Women Entrepreneur Series.

On a related note, it was nice to see a new post from Cheryl Marie yesterday.  She was my original inspiration for posting my craft goals for the year.  If you aren’t already familiar with her blog, Cheryl Marie Knits, you may want to check it out – she has a lot of great (knitting) projects and wonderful pictures!