Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Road Maps - Review of Big Book of Crochet Stitches

Since I normally record the podcast in the car, I do not have the convenience of having a copy of the book I am reviewing or extensive notes in front of me for reference.  Therefore, I have decided to take a different approach with my review process by moving to written posts here on the blog to give you additional information, and to ensure that I have covered all that I want to mention.  I will still give an overview of the titles, products, or other review items within the podcast episodes, but I want to be sure to give these items proper attention as they are often provided to me from the companies free of charge.  As always, all opinions are my own.  I hope you find this new review format useful.

Up for review today is Big Book of Crochet Stitches by the late Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss.  An electronic sample copy of this book was graciously provided by Martingale for my review.  The book is available through ShopMartingle.com in print + eBook for $19.99 or eBook only for $14.99.

Image used with permission from Martingale
Photographer Brent Kane
As a beginner crocheter, I find this book to be very approachable as I am expanding my crochet skills beyond double crochet granny squares.  It is a true stitch dictionary, without any specific patterns for projects, and gives you over 350 stitches that can be adapted for any gauge.  The book begins with a table of contents with the stitches grouped by style: Bobbles, Chevrons, Clusters, Cross Stitches, Easy Stitches, Fans, Loop Stitches, Multicolor, Picots, Popcorns, Puff, Raised, Shells, Special Stitches, and V Stitches.  There is a sample photo provided in the Table of Contents to give an example for each group.

Following the TOC is a section with Special Instructions, explaining the abbreviations and symbols used in the patterns, as well as a helpful chart converting US and International terms. For those uninitiated, did you know that a double crochet here in the US is a treble crochet elsewhere?  Something I already knew, but a reminder is always helpful.

Moving into the stitch patterns themselves, each one contains a color photo showing the stitch pattern crocheted in (mostly) brightly colored yarn.  There are a few that are worked up in darker colors, which makes it a bit more difficult to see the stitches, but for the most part light, bright colored yarns were used in the photos.  The instructions begin with the chain multiple needed to execute that particular stitch, a stitch guide for any special stitches used, and then the row-by-row written instructions.  Including this stitch guide on the same page with the instructions is very helpful so you do not have to flip to another section of the book to find out what a particular stitch means.  In the example shown here, both the Puffy Blocks and Diamonds have specific stitches - Block stitch and Petal respectively - with those special instructions laid out ahead of the stitch pattern.
Image used with permission from Martingale
Photographer Brent Kane


As you can see in the sample page, there is a bit of white space around the instructions, which makes the page easy on the eyes and allows for a place where you can write notes if necessary.  While I am not one to write notes in a physical book, I am finding that I am annotating eBooks more and more - whether highlighting sizes, noting changes to patterns, or jotting down ideas within a stitch dictionary.

One of my crafting goals for 2014 was to expand my crochet skills, and this stitch dictionary will be a resource for me to practice some of these more complex stitches.  Perhaps it is time for me to break out my kitchen cotton and make dishcloths using some of these patterns.  What do you think?


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