Friday, January 17, 2014


Hooks, Books, and Yarns

There are 3 things you pretty much need if you are going to crochet.
1: You need yarn. Or something like yarn. Something you can wrap around a crochet hook (the Number 2 thing – more about that later). Something like yarn can be string, material cut or torn in strips, leather strips, rope, shoe laces, twine, wire….. you get the idea. Something you can wrap around a crochet hook.
2: You need a crochet hook. Or something that looks like a crochet hook. It should have a shaft (which can be almost any shape, as long as you can hold it) and a hook at the end. You can use your finger bent at the last knuckle – that's called finger crochet – if you want to. That's how I taught my granddaughter how to crochet. By showing her how to use her finger instead of a hook. She was all of 6 years old. (She had her first pattern published in a national magazine when she was 11!)
3: You need books. Yes – something to teach you a stitch, or instruct you how to do something, or inspire you to create your own thing.
And, you can never have too much of 1, 2, or 3. In fact, the more the better.
So that's why I have a collection of books – old ones, new ones, ebooks, and paper books. I use them as references – how do I work a certain stitch? How did I design that pattern? (Sometimes it's easier to find my pattern in the book that published it than to search for it on my computer!) I use them as inspiration – what are some things that I could do with scrap yarns? And I use them for learning – mostly for stitch patterns, but also for crochet techniques. What are different ways to join motifs as you go? Or sew motifs together? Or work Tunisian Purl stitches? Or crochet that unique stitch pattern?
So books are good. And so are hooks. And so are yarns. That's the reason I named this post "Hooks, Books, and Yarns". You can't do without them!

I want to talk today about books – and all the new ones that have been published in the past few months (okay – maybe in the past year). I have been lucky to have been asked to review some of them, and so I will.

The first one is Mollie Makes CROCHET. This is one of a series of books, like Mollie Makes WOODLAND FRIENDS, Mollie Makes CHRISTMAS, and Molly Makes FEATHERED FRIENDS, these last ones being a mixture of crochet and other crafts. I want to tell you about Molly Makes CROCHET, though, which is all crochet! And cute and colorful crochet! From pot holders to blankets, from iPad cozies to Monster Gadget Covers, from flowers to doilies, you're sure to find many things you want to crochet in this book. There are step-by-step directions (of course), and great pictures to inspire you. And if you have problems reading crochet directions, there is a section specifically addressing that. The book starts with a section "Working from patterns: Reading a written pattern" and has a big section on techniques you need to know – from choosing your hook and yarn, to finishing off your work so it doesn't unravel. It also has a large section on different stitches and stitch patterns, so if you want to learn a new stitch or technique, it's all there, from the basic stitches to the Magic Loop method of starting a round.
Whether you are a new crocheter, or a more experienced one, this book is a good choice to add to your (necessary) crochet library! The other two books – Mollie Makes CHRISTMAS and Mollie Makes FEATHERED FRIENDS, are great books for creating homemade projects using many different crafts – crochet, knitting, sewing, felting, papercraft, etc. So if you're in to those crafts, or just want to learn more about them, I do recommend these two books. And if you just want to do crochet, they do have some cute crochet patterns!

The next one – Crochet At Home, edited by Brett Bara – is a great resource for all things "home". As the cover states: 25 clever projects for colorful living. And they are all colorful! From afghans, pillows and baby blankets, to cushions, tea cozies, dishcloths and pot holders, these projects are great, also, for scrap yarns, even though they do call for specific yarns. They also list the weight of the yarns, so you can use what you have. And the more color, the better.  Now that the "present-making" season is over, you can crochet some easy, colorful patterns for your living space. Or get a head start on the next "present-making" season. Try it – I know you'll like it!

The last book for now – Crochet Stitch Dictionary, by Sarah Hazell – is more than just a stitch dictionary. As stated on the back cover, it's a go-to resource. It has basic information, how to get started, good tips for any level crocheter, stitch diagrams, great photos of the stitches and stitch patterns, and step-by-step instructions for the stitches and stitch patterns.  I love looking through good stitch dictionaries. That's how I get my design ideas many times. I find a stitch pattern I like, I try it out, and I think about all the possibilities. What would it look good as? A scarf? A hat? A sweater? An afghan? A tote? I looked through this book again last night, and saw a stitch pattern that I want to try or maybe modify a bit for a new project I'm doing. I think it'll work. I can't wait until the yarn arrives so I can see what it will look like. If it doesn't work, I have another stitch pattern picked out that I will try. That's what I like about this book. 200 stitch patterns!!!! And, best of all, if you like to carry your books around with you, but don't want to schlep all of them everywhere, you'll like that this book, Crochet Stitch Dictionary, and the previous one, Crochet at Home, both come in ebook versions. So you can put them on your tablet, and take them everywhere! 

All of these books are published by Interweave Press, and are available through, or Amazon.

What do you use to get ideas?


Angela said...

Thanks, Marty. Saw two of the at BandN last time I was in there. I'll have to look for the stitch dictionary...I need a good one.

mario taylor said...

Believe me when I say that this is simply the best article I have ever had the privilege to read on this topic. It has taken my mind into a whole new arena of thought.

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