Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Crochet Stitches Visual Encyclopedia by Robyn Chachula

A person's books very often reveal her (or his) past, present and future, and if you were to look at my collection of books you would see just that. 

My past:
I majored in Math Education when I was in college and when I graduated I taught math in high school and college – so I buy math books. Not the type you would find in schools, but books about the magic and wonders and mystery of numbers. My minor was in English Education. I buy language books –books about the history of words, how to pick the right word to use, where popular sayings come from, etc. I also have an AA degree in Graphic Design – Advertising and Commercial Art, and taught graphic art and typography and calligraphy at the community college.  So - I buy books on layout, design, and fonts and typography. My next degree – a Masters of Arts in Liberal Studies, lets me collect books on almost anything that catches my interest – right now it's how we are influenced in our buying habits. My Ph.D. is in Education, Cultural Foundations –my books for this are on philosophy and psychology of education, and how culture contributes to education and everything else in our lives. My post-doctorate is in Women's Studies – I have books on women and education and opportunities for women throughout the 20th century. And, of course, from the time I was a little girl, I've been interested in crochet and the other needle arts. My book collection for that, though, didn't really begin until I was pregnant with my son. Too many years ago to count!!! These crochet books, I think, are taking over! I have way more of them than the others. But I can't give up any of them, and I keep collecting more. My crochet collection consists of old books, new books, foreign books, magazines, pamphlets, and on and on.  That's my past and my present. And some of my future. Here's the rest of it.
My future:
Many of my books I look to for inspiration for future projects. The one type of book that I like – no, I mean LOVE – for inspiration is a stitch dictionary. This can be in any form – it can be 50 pattern squares to crochet for an afghan. That's 50 patterns that I can use somewhere, for something. It can be a great garment book, with interesting stitches patterns in the garments. That gives me lots of stitch patterns to work with and incorporate in my own designs. It can be a vintage crochet book with older crochet stitch patterns. Or perhaps a book published in a foreign language, but using crochet stitch symbols. All of these books give me ideas. I love learning new stitch patterns, and my most favorite books are the ones that have stitch patterns, stitch diagrams, and clear pictures of the stitches. I haunt used bookstores for vintage stitch dictionaries. I haunt web sites that sell Japanese stitch dictionaries. I haunt new bookstores for new stitch dictionaries. I haunt craft stores for pamphlets with different stitch patterns. I haunt online bookstores for new stitch dictionaries that are getting published soon. I do a lot of haunting!!!

A while ago, when I saw the title of Robyn Chachula's book on – Crochet Stitches Visual Encyclopedia - with a publication date in the future, I started counting down the months, then the weeks, then the days! 300 stitch patterns! With diagrams! (And I know how good Robyn is with her diagrams!) Heaven on earth in the form of a stitch dictionary! I couldn't wait!
And then Robyn asked me to be on her blog tour! My dream come true! How could I say no to her – to this – the stitch dictionary to beat all stitch dictionaries?
I didn't say no. I said OF COURSE! I picked a date to post, and waited, impatiently, for my book! It was finally delivered on a rainy, cold day, but when I got it and opened up the package, my day turned warmer and brighter! I started looking through it, even though I should have been making dinner. Dinner just would have to wait a while. I finally put the book down, with a promise that after dinner I would spend some quality time looking through it. I had heard so much about it (I listened to the Getting Loopy podcast with Robyn that very morning, when I was pedaling on a recumbent bike at my gym, and crocheting.) I couldn't wait to see what her stitch patterns were like. She said that her purpose in writing this book was to create a "go-to" stitch dictionary for her own use. I wanted to see if it could be a "go-to" stitch dictionary for me, too. After dinner, and after the dishes were done, I sat down with a note pad, determined to write down the page numbers and the names of the patterns that I wanted to try first. Perhaps to make a few swatches for this blog post, to let you all see what they looked like up close and personal. And give you some ideas about what to expect when you made them. Pretty soon, the first page on the pad was full of swatch names and page numbers, then the second page was full. And then I realized that I was writing down just about every stitch pattern. Every stitch pattern was one I wanted to make! This looks like it's my "go-to" stitch dictionary, too!  
I guess I know what I'll be doing for the next 300 days!!! And longer!
Here are some of my favorite patterns, some straight from my hook, and some from the book. (When I crochet new stitch patterns, I like to use plain cotton yarn, in a solid, light color, so I can see the stitches and what they do. Robyn used various yarns and many different colors in her book.)
From my hook - interesting texture

From my hook - fun and easy circle motif

From my hook - love these popping flowers

From the book - Simple Wave pattern - great looking ripple!

From my hook - Stone Trellis - love the wavy look!

From the book - Wallpaper Cluster - love the cluster stitches
From my hook - tip about Linked Treble Crochet - love the effect!

What I found when I was crocheting the swatches, they inspired me to create other stitch patterns – similar but different from the ones I was making. I kept saying to myself – "I wonder what would happen if I did this, or that." And that's what a good stitch dictionary should do – give you ideas on how to create your own stitch patterns. And Robyn's book does just that! In fact, I had to force myself to stop crocheting these swatches and write this post!

If you want a sneak preview of the dictionary, along with a sample of what to expect in the way of stitch diagrams, look at Amazon.
If you don't yet know how to read stitch diagrams, this is a great way to learn. You can follow the written pattern and look at the diagram and the photo of the swatch, all at the same time.
And, if you write a comment on my blog, you may win a copy of Robyn's book. I have one copy to give away – and I will use a random number generator to determine who gets it. Just write a comment saying how you would use a stitch dictionary like this one. Make sure you post it by midnight, (eastern time zone), Sunday, October 30, 2011. On October 31, I will pick a lucky winner, and post the winner's name here on my blog – so be sure to check on Monday, October 31, to see if you have won. I'll need your email address then, so the publisher can get in touch with you.
Good luck, and happy stitching!
Oh - one more thing. If you want to read the other blogs on Robyn's blog tour, to learn more about her book, here are the sites:

Tour Schedule:
Oct 10- Getting Loopy,
Oct 12- Go Crochet,
Oct 13- Hook and I,

Oct 17- Vickie Howell,
Oct 18- Modeknit,
Oct 19- Knitgrrl,
Oct 20- NexStitch,

Oct 24- Styled by Kristin,
Oct 25- Yarn Craft,
Oct 26- Crochet Doctor,

Oct 31- Manhattan Craft Room,


Cheryl:) said...

This looks like it is going to be a great resource!!! Robyn is the greatest!

Yarn Twins said...

Of all the things you mentioned in life and about the book...I think you left of "coach". I really feel like you've pumped us up and got us ready to dive into this book and begin crocheting...something from the book or something totally new. I feel like I can crochet anything! Great review!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the book, and the crochet sttitches are great. I would love to incorporate these stitches along with some knitting projects. Thanks so much.

Sarah said...

Oh, the stitch dictionary to end all stitch dictionaries! I like it. Especially all the pictures, I love flipping through books like that for inspiration :)

Derek, Jenna, Wyatt, & Emma. said...

I used stitch dictonary in google. Thank you for give away. :)

Deborah said...

I, too, did many stitch patterns from a crochet dictionary and wondered what would happen if I altered the pattern this way or that! This looks like a great book to have in one's library. Thanks for the opportunity!

Margo said...

I like playing around with different stitch combinations. This book should give me plenty of options.

Kate said...

I have never used a stitch dictionary but I am very excited about this one! I always love to learn something new and I LOVE the way Robyn puts together her patterns and her diagrams are so helpful! Can't wait to see the book! Thanks for the review and a chance to win!

Kacy said...

I like to use stitch dictionaries to learn new techniques. Basically I make swatches which I later use for dishcloths or add to my ongoing "crazy afghan" project, depending on my mood.

KinnicChick said...

Wow, Marty! You really know how to review a book! Yeehaw, this book is going on my wish list for the holidays immediately! LOVE love love! your swatches. Those popping flowers are fabulous, for sure! What a fun stitch dictionary.

Can't wait to try it out for myself! Congratulations on another wonderful book, Robyn!

yarner said...

I looked at this book on Amazon and already LOVE it. What an awesome resource! I would use this book as inspiration when I am creating something new. This would also help me to increase my knowledge of stitches, and allow me to try things I've never tried before! Thank you for the chance to win!

VickiT said...

Wow. You really have created some beautiful pieces for us to see. I am new and just learning to crochet so I'm hoping to win this book to help me see how the things I might be trying are supposed to look so I can help myself learn more. I'm a visual learner so seeing pictures will definitely help.

jmo said...

Seriously loving all the reviews of this stitch dictionary! Can't wait!

Gina P said...

I would love to win a copy of this looks amazing and I love the stitch patterns you showed us.

Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

Best wishes,
Rav ID:KnitbyMoonbeams

Shorty said...

Robyn is such a great crochet teacher and designer. I had the pleasure of attending one of her classes earlier this year and refer to her instructions on a regular basis. Thanks for the chance to win her new book!

lorraine said...

awesome book! robyn is the best! i love to use stitch dictionaries to transform simple patterns into intricate one of a kind pieces :)

tammystreasures said...

I love your example of a persons book collection being a reflection of who they are. That is so true. This is great review of a fantastic book Marty! I would love to have this in my library. Congratulations to Robyn on yet another amazing work of art!

Kara said...

I would really love a copy of that book! It would be my first crochet stitch dictionary, and it looks great enough to be the only one I need!

Ng said...

Having this book will be great for me as I am visual person. I would be able to find the perfect stitch pattern for my projects. Thanks for the chance.

theresay said...

Robyn's books are the best! I'd love to add it to my collection.

Gophergirl Crochet said...

What a neat book I would love to win it! Good luck to everyone

Krocheter said...

Stitch dictionaries are great...if I had to downsize my libraries they would have to stay.

froggy (D'Ann Gayler) said...

I love to watch Robyn on Knit and Crochet Today on PBS. She is so cute.
Thanks for the review of her book.

Tammy said...

ooooh...this looks wonderful! Id love to have a copy of this book. The review is great!

Tammy said... this book review! Wish I had this it would definitely be handy!

Shorty said...

Thanks again, Marty!

ahmed MOLY said...

i loved it i will got it soon thanks