Tag Archives: crochet books

A must have, must read!

Normally I worry about books with titles that have the words “Everything” or “Complete”…those are very broad concepts, and whereas it is indeed never possible to have EVERYTHING or a COMPLETE work in any tome of knowledge, I have to say I was more than happy to get my mitts on a copy of Margaret Hubert’s book, The Complete Photo Guide toCrochet… By the way check out her website too!

It is completely wonderful that’s for certain. First of all there is a wonderful article by crochet expert Nancy Nehring that I didn’t know was included! It’s worth having just for that wonderful piece of history and understanding of our art/craft! I did know that anything Margaret Hubert does will be well done, and explained well. I have had the pleasure of meeting Margaret on several occaisions and she is a very creative and thorough person! Her book expresses this through out, fabulous directions both written and charted, excellent examples of crochet stitches and the photography and design of the book is beyond the pale.

I am by no means a beginner and yet I want to own this book because a) it is a great teaching reference and b) there are techniques in there I have yet to master! Some tunisian stitches I haven’t tried, and some advanced techniques that I really want to try now that I’ve seen the photos!

Margaret had the cream of the crochet crop help her with samples for the book and there are BEAUTIFUL examples and patterns that help you master the techniques…This is a MUST have no matter what level you are at, definately destined to be one of those crochet classics long into the future!

Margaret has been twice awarded our CLF Flamie Award as Best Free Former! She is a talented, classy woman and I hope to be her when I grow up!



Book Review: Crochet Adorned

 A few weeks ago I was delighted to find a review copy of Crochet Adorned in my mailbox. Linda Permann’s wonderful book dedicated to quick and easy projects designed to truly adorn your garments, snazz up your wardrobe, or make quick gifts for family and friends is a joy to read.

Have a blouse that you love, but it’s seen better days? Give it a trim, or do some inset lace into the sleeves! Do you have some cute canvas shoes? Add an edging! Earrings and belts, lace trims and solid borders fill this book with fabulously fashionable ways to upgrade your existing wardrobe!

In today’s economy we need more books like this! In today’s ecology we need more books like this! Learning to refresh rather than to throw out, learning to spruce up instead of spend, brings back some of the good aspects of the old days.

The photography in the book is excellent as are the instructions. I did a test on my daughter and her best friend, and both of them (very picky people too, and very into what’s hot and what’s not) gave the book a thumb’s up! In fact, my daughter and I are going to be applying some of the ideas and techniques to some of her oldie but goody clothes to spruce them up for the new school year!

The stitch dictionary at the end of the book is worth having all on its own, great instructions and again very well photographed! It’s both artful and clear, yay for being able to see the stitches.

I give this a five out of five flaming hook review! You can buy it at your local bookstore or find it on Amazon.com.

Also, just a reminder that time is running out on the Early Bird Retreat Special! Go to the CLF Website to register for Crochet @ Cama for only $75! Great classes and workshops, activities and fun!

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.

2nd Annual Crochet Awards Tonight!!

The day has come! The Flamies are here! The Flamies are here! I can now unveil the award and what it looks like!! I’m sooooo excited! 

Huge thanks to the talented Darlisa Riggs for her graphic arts contribution!


 Tune into the Getting Loopy Podcast with Mary Beth Temple, our beloved Josh McKiernan (who knows what antics he’ll help provide on the show) and myself Laurie Wheeler as we award the crochet public’s favorites for design, patterns, books, hooks, yarn and more! Don’t miss out, and you’ll find out who I’ve awarded the Fearless Leader Award and who won the Flaming Hook of Justice award!!

So don’t forget, TONIGHT at 9-11 Eastern/6-9pm Pacific the 2010 Crochet Awards are LIVE on Getting Loopy!!

Huge thanks to Darlisa Riggs of Crochet Uncut for her most beautiful 3-D design work on the Flamie Award this year! It’s gorgeous!

CLF News: Fearless Leader activities & Sightings…

If you haven’t already heard, I recently had a pattern published in Crochet Today! I know, I know, what happened to my indie spirit? What happened to my wanting to go it alone? Hey, I found out that I can indeed work on a contract, and it turn out great! LOL, I still have my indie self out there, and I don’t mind working for “the fuzzy man” (or woman as the case may be)…

In the Jan/Feb 2010 issue of Crochet Today! my Hiking Socks are featured. Huges thanks to the patience of the tech editor and to the editing staff at Crochet Today! What a cutie that model is! To see this pattern online go to Crochet Today’s website.

I actually really enjoyed the process of working with someone else, especially since it entailed a lot less work to just write the pattern up and mail off the socks. Normally, that’s only my beginning, then I have photography, and editing photos, and laying out pattern, and making sure it’s correct and blah blah blah…and then I publish it 🙂 This time I just got to be the paid “crochet sock monkey”…that worked for me! I look forward to more pattern writing for others in the future, but for now?

I’m still working on the book, I’ve found some little niggly things that I’m tweaking, the book will most likely max out at 80 pages. So why is it taking longer? Um…so I don’t have to redo it three times like I did the first book 🙂 That’s why!

The good news is that it’s looking great, I love the patterns, and I’ve enjoyed designing the book. It’s a little more “traditional”, but the content is too much fun! The book looks like it will max out at maybe 80 pages (doing the dividers now etc and some filler) which will make it considerably cheaper, while still being full color! YAY

Thanks for all of your patience!