Saturday, November 7, 2015


As I've mentioned before, my favorite type of crochet book is a stitch dictionary. I like to go through the pages, stitch pattern by stitch pattern, and think what each stitch pattern would be good for. Sometimes, I decide that the stitch pattern is not one that I want to bother with. Maybe it's too complicated, or there are too many rows to remember. But, sometimes, I think that the stitch pattern may become one of my favorites. And, that happens more often than not. I look at the stitch pattern and think – Hmmm, good afghan, or good scarf, or good sweater. Or good shawl, or good tote, or….. I go through all the types of designs I like to design and crochet, and I realize that I can use that stitch pattern for many of them. And sometimes, looking at one stitch pattern will make me think about ways I can subtly change it, to make another stitch pattern. So a good stitch dictionary is like gold to me.
And the Crochet Stitch Dictionary by Sarah Hazell, published by Interweave, a division of F+W Media, Inc., is one of these golden stitch dictionaries. Let me tell you why.
First, there are 200 stitches and stitch patterns in the book. And each of them has a very clear picture of the finished stitch or stitch pattern, a description of the stitch or stitch pattern, what it would be good for, one or more stitch diagrams, step by step clear photos that are easy to follow, and good directions so you can crochet it yourself. There's an index with all the stitches and stitch patterns at the end of the book; in the front of the book, the table of contents has a Directory of Stitches, divided into 9 families of stitches: 1.Basic Stitches, 2.Fans and Shells, 3.Puffs and Bobbles, 4.Spikes, 5.Relief Stitches, 6.Mesh, Filet and Trellis Stitches, 7.Crossed and Interlocking Stitches, 8.Waves and Chevrons, and finally 9.Decorative Stitches. Each stitch in this Directory has the page number where you can find the stitch or stitch pattern, AND it also has a picture of the stitch. So you can look at the Directory to search for a certain stitch to learn, or just pick a section of types of stitches you would like to learn, and work the stitches in that section. Also, the stitch diagrams with the patterns are in the same color as the yarn that's used in that stitch. If more than one color yarn is used, the stitch diagrams for that stitch are printed in the yarn colors. That makes it much easier to use the diagrams.
In the front of the book is a good explanation of all this and more – how to read the diagrams, how to read the patterns, what you need to know about hook sizes and yarns, and basic crochet skills. If you haven't crocheted in a while, or perhaps are just starting out, the book also gives you a lot of tips and hints to make your crochet easier. Even if you are an avid crocheter, these are tips that are very useful.
Oh, one more thing. Each stitch and stitch pattern has the stitch multiple that you would need to start the stitch. So you can work the stitch to any width. And you don't have to figure out for yourself how to do that. 
And one more thing - the yarn used for the swatches makes the stitches and stitch patterns easy to see. And the photography is great!
When I went through this book  I saw many stitches that I wanted to try. I thought I would crochet a few of them in one long swatch, instead of making each swatch separate. And that way it would be easier to compare them to similar stitches. I marked the stitches that I wanted to use in this swatch. Some were just simple ones – like extended hdc – not much thought involved. 

Some, I had to pay attention to – like Herringbone dc. I had previously designed a scarf for Crochet Today! using that stitch, but I haven't used it since. So I had to pay attention. 

And I also wanted to compare it to the Herringbone hdc, which I had played around with when I was doing the scarf, but didn't do anything more with it then.  

I also liked the idea of the Corded Ridge, 

and the Aligned Double Clusters, 

so I wanted to see what they would look like.
This is a picture of my swatch.

 From bottom to top, these are the stitches: (there are 4 rows of each) - Aligned Double Clusters, Corded Ridge, Herringbone HDC, Herringbone DC, Extended HDC. The last rows I worked in Extended SC and Extended DC, two stitches that weren't in the book, but easy to figure out if you know how to do the Extended HDC. 

When I saw the way the Aligned Double Clusters ruffled, even though I tried to keep the stitch counts the same, I thought wouldn't it be great to crochet a scarf, using whatever stitches and stitch patterns intrigued me, starting out and ending with the Aligned Double Clusters, so I would have a ruffle at each end. I wouldn't have to work the same number of rows for each stitch pattern.  And when I was finished with the scarf, I would have more stitches in my vocabulary.  And a unique scarf to wear!

If you think this is a good idea, and you try it, I would love to hear from you. Please comment below!

So if you're looking for a good book that you will get a lot of use out of, or are looking for a Sparkle Season present for a friend (or yourself), this is a great choice!

Here's the link to the book:
Interweave/F+W; $22.95

No comments: