Tag Archives: Books

Gifts for the Crocheter…

Jenkins Hooks from Stitch Diva

As fun as it is to make gifts for others, it’s also fun to recieve gifts! Now, for some reason when asked what we want for a gift we don’t say yarn, or hooks, or books. Maybe some of us remember to do so, but others like me forget to ask for specifics that relate to our beloved craft.

Now, my excuse is, I buy it anyway. But, I can tell you I wouldn’t say no to a gift certificate for my LYS, or some lovely wood hooks, or even some specific books that I will list out here (hint hint honey…).

Now you can request yarn, and if you have folks in your life that know what materials and colors you like then WHOO HOO…But I’ve heard a lot of stories by people who say that they’ve been gifted yarn that wasn’t to their taste and they hate to waste it or have to give it away. Yarn and hooks are materials and tools, and trust me just like when I buy things for my wood working husband, I try to make sure that the tools/materials are the right thing. He doesn’t need another Dremmel, know how I know? I bought him one when we first got together and it matches the other two he possessed just perfectly…Now I joke lovingly about getting him another Dremmel, but no I really ask what tool he wants needs in our budget and life’s good. Not like he hated the Dremmel, it wasn’t what he needed.

So here’s some fun crochet gift ideas for the crocheter in your life (and links to go with them!) this list is by no means complete…I can say I spent several hours composing the blog post and searching through websites and links etc…but if there are gift ideas or suggestions you have to offer please let me know!!

  • Gift Certificates to LYS (local yarn stores) or Michaels/Joannes/Hobby Lobby/AC Moore (what ever you have around in your area).  Many online vendors have gift certificates too!

 Stitch Diva has great crochet patterns and supplies! A gift certificate would not go unused from here!

  • Hook Sets: Interchangable hook sets are very popular, Tunisian Hooks are hard to find and popular, wonderful wood hook sets are also welcome. Good tools are always great 😀

        Lacis is an amazing textile arts store in Berkley, CA with a phenominal catalog with Free Shipping on orders!! Go check it out and make up your wish list! Every kind of hook you can think of can be had there!

       Laurell Hill 

Laurel Hill Hooks are fabulous wood hooks, beautifully crafted and smmmmmooooooth to work with, my personal favorites. I have a D tunisian hook in the Nam Oc wood and it is so nice to work with! It’s unusual to find the smaller sized tunisian hooks any where, and these are a great price for fabulous quality!

For larger sized Tunisian Hooks you can’t go wrong with Jenkins…One of my very favorite hooks in the world is my Jenkins S cabled hook…I love this hook, I have whipped out more stash busting projects and fashion crisises have been averted because of this hook…Did I say I love my S hook…(Pictured above)

  • Books! Do I have a list…In fact I gave away my copy of Edie Eckman’s Beyond the Square book and need a new copy (hint hint honey)… Here’s a list of some of the good offerings I’ve seen out there, or have copies of that will NOT leave my hot little hands…

 Another Edie Eckman Book:  Around the Corner Crochet Borders (Oooh I want this one :D), Edie takes you through turning the corner perfectly every time! 150 colorful, creative crocheted borders!

Complete Photo Guide To Crochet by Margaret Hubert! A must have for any library, beautifully written and photographed. Margaret is a master of the art of crochet, even if you are not a beginner this is a must have for your library! If you are a beginner you need to get this book, Margaret explains crochet both visually, and in easy to understand instructions!

Crochet It! Love It! Wear It! By Drew Emborsky ( The Crochet Dude) is another great offering! I hear the little black dress is adorable!

Doris Chan gave us a wonderful offering this year in her book, Crochet Lace Innovations this book covers techniques we have been begging for as only Doris Chan can offer…That means brilliant instructions, designs and charts in broomstick and hair pin lace, as well as tunisian …gorgeous! One of my favorite books!

Dora Ohrenstein helps us play with our yarn in Creating Crocheted Fabric! Learn more about yarns, textures, and stitching in her amazing creative symphonic crochet master piece!

We’ve had suggestions of giving Betty Hechtman’s mystery series which starts with Hooked on Murder. She was the 2009 Flamie Award Winner for Fiction.

Another MUST HAVE is Mary Beth Temple’s, Hooked For Life: Adventures of a Crochet Zealot…I have this book, I have re-read this book…I have laughed so hard I cried…I LOVE THIS BOOK! A must for any die-hard crochet fanatic!

What else can you give a crocheters?

Ooooh well there are pretty stitch markers…Please remember we can’t use the same kind as knitters, we use clasps or markers that can open…here are a few great deals and fun sets from sellers on Etsy.  These beautiful markers and others come to you from CLF Member AbbyNormal owner of In Stitches Emporium on Etsy.

I thought these Reindeer Stitch Markers were too cute, perfect stocking stuffers! These come to you from Etsian Deelicious Discordia

More marker sets yet…

These Drink, Hook, Hook markers made me chuckle thinking of the last night of the retreat! I don’t know if this person is a CLF member or not, but if not they should be! Hook Raised, CLF Salute! You can find these from Paper and Yarn on Etsy.

Ok…not into stitch markers…Don’t need no STEENKIN’ MARKERS…what about shawl pins? My mother in law is the Queen of Gifting, I thought I was good until I met her…She doesn’t craft but she pays attention to what I do and make and one year for Christmas she bought me a beautifully hand crafted bronze shawl pin! I love that pin! She bought hers from a local artists/crafters coop in Port Townsend, WA. But not everyone has access to such fine artisan work…in that case check out these great sellers…

 I thought this twisted copper shawl pin was just too pretty and very reasonably priced, this is brought to you by Ruby Vegas on Etsy.

Another pretty I found…gosh my list is getting longer…

 A copper beaded shawl pin from Bebes Baubles on Etsy. I thought this was very simple and elegant.

This Celtic Twist shawl pin is so nicely made! You can find this from Nicholas and Felice on Etsy.

There are pages and pages and pages of items like this on Etsy.com and Artfire.com. Support other handworkers when you purchase or have gifts purchased from you!

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Happy Birthday Crochet Kharma!

Yesturday was my birthday, my gift from husband was a trip out to my favorite bookstores, which is a long drive through pretty country side.

This one book store has all manner of treasures, I know if I’m looking for something funky, out of the ordinary, or a subject that has little information on it, this used book store will have it at some point. Today I scored crochet gold!

I found two older crochet books, one from 1948, hardbound even, entitled  “The Complete Book of Crochet” by Elizabeth L. Mathieson. It’s a fabulous book for the crochet historian to possess. I’m honored to be it’s latest keeper!

The second book I found is PROOF of all that I have been requesting in books on crochet!! It’s entitled, “America’s Crochet Book”, by Gertrude Taylor. Published in 1972 by Charles Scribner & Sons. This book has it all from how to learn crochet with some of the best written instructions I’ve ever seen, (Lefties beware though, the antiquated view on left handedism is present but the other information is so worth skipping that vingnette).

Chapter One includes:

  1. General :  Types of hooks and hook sizes: Steel hooks, Aluminum or plastic hooks, wood hooks, afghan hooks
  2. Description of Beginning Stitches: Chain stitch, Single, Half Double, Double, Treble, Double Treble, Triple Treble, Slip Stitch
  3. Shaping of Crochet Pieces:  Decreases (in each of the stitches by the way), Increases, Bind off.
  4. Pracice stitches with yarn: Joining new thread

From starting your first project, to learning how to fit garments and finish them correctly (to make them as polished as anything anyone else purchases!) to instructions for Tunisian Crochet and hairpin lace…this book is an amazing amazing tribute to our craft.

The information on fitting garments and how to alter a pattern to fit YOUR body is EXACTLY what we have been asking for, and when publishers say it can’t be done we can now point at this book and blow them big raspberries!

It can be done! It has been done! And where was this book in my life 20 years ago!!! It’s fabulous! Written in plain Engligh with the beginning garment maker in mind I love this book.

Here’s a sample of some of the encouraging text!

“So many people think that they need only purchase yarn, hooks, and a pattern book to create gorgeous garments. This is not so. You must develop a new skill and start your way at the bottom of the ladder and work your way up rung by rung. If you have crocheted for years, making doilies, edgings, or tablecloths, you have a little head start on the brand new beginner, but still you must learn how to fit, block, and finish garments made of yarn.”

Have I been channeling her? Is she still around? Does anyone know her or did know her in real life, because I want to make sure some one hugs her on my behalf! I love, love, love this book and it is now my brand new favorite of all time!

Did I mention it’s in mint condition, dust jacket and all? Oh yes, it shall have a hallowed place in my home.

I want to thank all the wonderful folks on the CLF message board on Ravelry, and on Facebook for the birthday wishes!  How lovely to be thought of!

A reminder to you all the Crochet Liberation Front’s 3rd birthday is July 27th, what do you want to do to celebrate?

Market Watch: Crochet Book Sales

That was quite a discussion we had in this post, when I asked you, the crocheters to explain what makes you buy or not buy books.

Your comments were about what I expected to hear. Beyond not being able to afford books, what I heard was the following:

1) Cannot find them at bookstores, yarn stores etc.

2) Tired of the same kinds of books (Ala “One more book about granny squares”)

3) Tired of the beginning material rehashed over and over.

 So, part of it is: We can not find the books. Often by the time we have heard about a book it’s out of print, after a short print run. The internet has certainly helped matters with Amazon.com being a go to for our publishing needs. But, still we prefer to look through the books, unless it is by a designer/company we know that creates patterns/designs/works with techniques that we can trust.

So, publishers here’s the rub, if you are advertising in print media that we do not read, aka knitting magazines (not that knitting mags are bad, but many crocheters do not buy them any more than they buy wood turning magazines if they don’t wood turn.) then we will not find out about them. If you advertise in a crochet magazine, or the book is reviewed in the magazine or on line then you have a better chance of us knowing about it, and buying it.

Yarn stores: If you do carry a book, stock up on technique books. Stitch dictionaries, motif dictionaries and construction orientated books are great buys for the crocheter. It is very true that crochet’s history is not one of pattern devotees. It isn’t that we are reengineering, its that we often prefer pictures due to the fact that many very proficient crocheters are not proficient pattern readers. So, for those who want to expand their skills a good stitch or motif dictionary is a great way to feed our crochet addiction.

I know I bought pattern books, long before I read patterns; but they had to have a few things in them before I would make my purchase:

a) Not just good, but excellent photography. Not from an artistic standpoint,but from a clarity standpoint. I needed to see the stitches and as much as the garment/item in question.

b) Lots of diagrams or schematics. Dimension are very important when making things, I want schematics.

c) Something upbeat and relevant to the time of life I was in, which has nothing to do with the publisher but had everything to do with me personally. When I had young children that’s what I wanted, patterns for young children, I made some things fo rmyself, but most of what I made was for them. Now that they are older I’m looking for trendy adult sized patterns, but there are young people in my life now having their own babies and I am making a ton of gifts! So, back to baby things we go.

d) Don’t stereotype your audience. Crocheters make a variety of things in a variety of yarns.

I would say over all, the biggest problem is getting the word out about books and where they are sold, where we can buy them, where we can see, touch, and emmerse ourselves in them.

Advertise to us, and you’ll see a rise in sales. I think since there are 10x’s (if not more) the publications for knitting, and outlets for knitters that you see the sales of crochet books askew from the reality. Of course the books with stick techniques will out sell the crochet books, you are marketing those other books in more venues to a bigger audience.

It’s a numbers game, think about it! So, how to get to us? Well, I always encourge authors/designers to self promote on the CLF message board. We WANT to know what’s new, who’s doing what and where we can buy things! Use your facebook and twitter accounts, and if you want me to review a book, just ask, I love reading books and giving thoughtful reviews!!

Here are some favorites from CLF Members:

Teach Yourself Visually: Crochet by Kim P. Werker and Cecily Keim

Lily Chin’s Crochet Tips, Hints & Tricks: Shortcuts and Techniques Every Crochet Should Know  by Lily Chin

The Crochet Answer Book by Edie Eckman

Beyond the Square by Edie Eckman

Blueprint Crochet: Modern Designs for the Visual Crocheter by Robyn Chachula

Everyday Crochet: Wearable Designs Just for You by Doris Chan

Plus Size Crochet: Fashions That Fit & Flatter by Margaret Hubert

Crocheting For Dummies by Karen Manthey, Susan Brittain, and Julie Holetz

The Complete Photo Guide to Crochet: *All You Need to Know to Crochet *The Essential Reference for Novice and Expert Crocheters *Comprehensive Guide to … 200 Stitch Patterns (Complete Photo Guides) by Margaret Hubert

Design It Yourself Afghans w/CD (Leisure Arts #4750) – Paperback (June 1, 2009) by Mary Beth Temple and Leisure Arts

Creating Crochet Fabric: Experimenting with Hook, Yarn & Stitch by Dora Ohrenstein

The Harmony Guides: Basic Crochet Stitches: 250 Stitches to Crochet by Erika Knight

The Crochet Dude’s Designs for Guys: 30 Projects Men Will Love by Drew Emborsky

Tunisian Crochet: The Look of Knitting with the Ease of Crocheting by Sharon Hernes Silverman,

Learn to Do Tunisian Stitches: With Interactive DVD by Kim Guzman

Crochet Lace Innovations: 20 Dazzling Designs in Broomstick, Hairpin, Tunisian, and Exploded Lace by Doris Chan

Now this is not a complete list, or even a partial list of all the crochet books to be had out there, these are ones I know, have or have been suggested on the CLF message board! There are many more, you can do a quick search on amazon.com, or through our message board on Ravelry.com to see many more suggestions.

So, I’ve given my advice to the publishers, now to the crocheters, if you see a book you like, get it when you can, because we really do go out of print quickly. Until the industry realizes that we are an independant market we won’t jump sales high. We’re working on spreading the word, why? Is it because I like giving free promotions? Hell no! It’s because I want the materials too! If I can not find them, or they are not published I will not have them. I’m a book collector’s book collector, I wants me crochet books, and I wants them now!

The Challenge: Sales of Crochet Books.

Dear CLF members, we have a chicken and the egg scenario in front of us. We, the crochet public ask the question, “Why aren’t there as many crochet books as knitting books?” and the industry says, “Well, we publish them but they don’t sell as well, so we don’t want to publish them.”

How is this chicken and the egg? Well, first of all if they don’t publish them we can’t buy them, and if we don’t buy the books they won’t publish them. Nice cycle, eh?

So, I ask you the crocheting public, why don’t you buy the crochet books? I realise that times are hard, but times have been hard for a decade for many (regardless of what the talking heads have to say about it), and I know many of my cohorts are like myself and buy any crochet book they can get their hands on. So, BESIDES you can’t afford it, why else do you not buy books? Conversely, if you are like me and sitting there shaking your head thinking, ‘But I DO buy books”, do you have a hard time finding out about the books?

See I know I’ve had that problem, I have to scour the internet (and finally having the CLF is great because we talk shop all day every day and we find out about books, magazines, websites etc), in order to find out what new or old materials I’m lacking in my crochet library.

I have my own theories about why we may buy less books and I’ll write about those later. But, I want to ask you to tell me, what’s the deal? Why don’t you buy them (again not the can’t afford argument because that’s a no brainer)? Or if you want to but can’t find them, let me know too.

Leave your comments, because I want to see what people have to say. Again, I have my own theories on the subject and I will post about those in a few days.

News and more on Drape Competition!

First Iwould love to share the great news that Mary Beth Temple’s Hooked for LIfe is going into it’s second printing! Hah, we kept saying the crocheters could read! Congratulatoins to Mary Beth Temple on that brilliant good news, and I have to admit that after the review here on the CLF Blog; I have read and read the book at least five times 🙂 Love it!

I WANT MORE LIKE THIS!  

By the way, it’s Monday and that means Mary Beth Temple’s LIVE podcast happens at 9pm Eastern/6 Pacific at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/mary-beth-temple! Don’t miss her show!

And more information about the competition!

Someone posed this thought/question “Is it not unfair to have lace entered or open work because they automatically drape?”

Nope. It’s not unfair, and one reason is that they do not always automatically drape. I make lace so tight I don’t need starch. And, if you use worsted weight yarn and a g hook you get stiff no matter what, you may end up with a “drapier” fabric that way, but it will not necessarily produce drape.

We want every kind of drape you can think of in crochet: Solid fabric, open work, lace, swatches of all of those…what ever. Send in your photos PLEASE!

The more PROOF we have the better, and I promise a WHOLE BLOG PAGE to the results!

Remember the competition ends August 9th! I want pictures!

Change of Plans & Choices & Books

Ok, CLFers don’t hate on me, cause I’ve had a change of plans for August. Yes, I said I was going to Buffalo, I wanted to go to Buffalo. I love my CGOA brothers and sisters. I wanted to take my hooks and yarns, and buy more hooks and yarns, and play play play! However, I had a few decisions to make and I will spell them out just so my loyal minions and ring leaders know why. I believe in transparency.

If you noticed I haven’t been talking up book 2 too much. That’s because, as with book one, the problem was my computer was running sooooooooooooooo slow.  Now as I wrote in the last post, the CLF has finally made enough to oover a few basic expenses. (Certainly not enough for me to fly to Buffalo AND stay in a hotel, let alone do silly things like eat and stay in the black). So, I made an executive decision to buy new memory for the lap top.

It was a good decision. For you technophiles, envision this. I pulled off a 198 page full color book will a laptop with 2  512K memory sticks installed. Today I got 2 1GB cards put in, I’d have loved to put more, BUT my laptop can’t handle more. Now I should have less freezing, and my c omputer should be able to handle the load of the books.

There is no inspiration for working on a book when your program decides not to respond and you have to recover files and pray you saved the last bit, because it may or may not be able to recover the page.

So, no Buffalo. But, I will be mailing a few things to a few dedicated CLF minions and ring leaders to pass out to all and sundry. And, I will be doing a little subversion here on the left coast. Stay tuned for those details.

The other reason, I chose this, is that my local community fair is the week before Buffalo, and I am the Department Head of the Hand spinning and Fleece division. All of my normal help are elderly, and some of them have been quite ill this year. I will not have the help preceeding the event as normal, and that means for 2 weeks in July (not to mention the actually 3 days of the fair) I will be running my buns off doing my job here locally. I know how exhausted I get those weeks before the fair, and after the event itself, and as a measure of self care, part of my decision to spend the airplane ticket money on the computer (and the other subversive activity) was made knowing I would end up zombie like if I pushed myself.

Thank you for understanding that my will to go cannot meet my physical ability to do so, and I am sad I will miss out on the fun and  seeing and meeting you! BUT next year is the retreat for the CLF, AND I’m thinking of doing a SE USA tour…more details to come when I figure it out !

Hooks Raised! CLF SALUTE!