Monday, October 31, 2011

Winner of the Crochet Stitches Visual Encyclopedia

I wish everyone could have won a copy of this book, but the winner of Robyn Chachula's book Crochet Stitches VIsual Encyclopedia is Shorty!
Thanks to all of you for participating. I hope you had fun reading all the blogs and the comments. And look for the book at your local book store or yarn shop, or on-line at Amazon. It's really a great resource.

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,