A short post this time as I am not really a crocheter, though I still do own a few reference guides for those odd times I feel inclined! The basic technique is so simple really and requires so few tools and yet stunning effects can be achieved, like the beautiful super-fine scarves designed by Sophie Digard. See: https://www.dncinternational.com.au/sophie-digard and https://www.lilypond.net.au/collections/frontpage.
I have bought a tiny crochet hook and crochet cotton to try and make something like her amazing creations, but have yet to master the basics, so this first book is very useful for a beginner like me!Crochet: 20 Simple and Stylish Designs To Wear by Jane Davis 2001
As with all good craft books, it starts with the basics:
Tools and Supplies: From the simple hook in a variety of sizes, stitch markers and tapestry needles to an enormous variety of wonderful yarns of different types, sizes and textures;Crochet Terminology and Abbreviations; Gauge; Crochet Hook Size; and US and European equivalents. It can all be a bit confusing to the beginner, as terminology varies between the US and Europe. This is an American book, the basic stitches listed below being the American forms, so I have put their European equivalents in brackets.
Basic Stitches: Holding the yarn and hook; Making a slip knot and chain; Slip stitch (Single Crochet); Single Crochet (Double Crochet); Half Double Crochet (Half Treble Crochet); Double Crochet (Treble Crochet); Half Triple Crochet; and Triple Crochet (Double Treble);
Basic Techniques: Crocheting in rows of stitches; Chain space; Joining into a ring or at the end of a round; Changing colours; and Variations and Advanced Stitches. I made a knitting/ crochet roll for all her hooks and needles for my daughter, who is a crocheter!The remainder of the book is devoted to projects, so the techniques can be learnt and mastered, from evening bags, granny squares and edgings to scarves, mittens and hats and larger vests and tank tops.In the back is a Stitch and Pattern Symbol Library, showing the picture symbols, which often accompany written instructions. While I am sure they are probably very straight-forward and easy, I have yet to master these!
The Harmony Guides:
Volume Six: 300 Crochet Stitches 1986/ 1998
Volume Seven: 220 More Crochet Stitches 1992/ 1998
While I do not own any of their knitting guides (Volumes One to Five), I do possess the last two volumes, which are both devoted to crochet. Published by Collins & Brown in London, they use the European terminology and abbreviations: Chain stitch (ch); Slip stitch (sl st); Double Crochet (dc); Half Treble (htr); Treble (tr); and Double Treble (dtr).
Volume Six covers all the basic stitches, as well as lace patterns; motifs; filet; clusters; shells; textured stitches; spikes, stars and relief stitches; puff stitches; knobbles and bobbles; loops; openwork and lace patterns; filet crochet; motifs, edgings and trimmings and an introduction to Tunisian crochet, while Volume Seven includes all-over patterns; more edgings and trimmings and motifs; and Irish style and Tunisian crochet.
In both books, the Introduction covers:
Making Crochet Fabric: Working in rows; Joining in new yarns; Fastening off; Changing colour; Working in rounds; and Joining motifs;
Stitch variations: Groups or shells; Clusters; Spikes and stars; Raised (Relief) stitches; Bobbles; Popcorns; Puff stitches; Picots; Lace loops; Corded crochet; and Crossed stitches and Linked stitches;
Techniques: Placement of stitches; Working into chain spaces; Working around the stem of a stitch; Working between stitches; ; Right side and wrong side rows; Starting chains and pattern repeats; Working in colour; Tension/ Gauge; Shaping; Joining seams; and Pressing and Finishing;
Following Crochet Patterns: Terminology and abbreviations; Working from a diagram; Filet crochet from charts; and Colour work with charts.
All the stitches are well described and supported by stitch diagrams and colour photographs.
99 Granny Squares To Crochet Published by Leisure Arts 1998
Granny squares are fun and a great way to practice your crochet skills, as well as having a wide application from vests to bay rugs and throws. While published by an American company, the stitch guide refers to treble rather than triple crochet, further confusing the beginner. My best advice is to use the terminology specified by the particular crochet book! But fortunately for me, all instructions are written with no fancy stitch diagrams! There are colour photos of all the motifs on the middle pages and the front and back covers.
200 Crochet Flowers, Embellishments and Trims: Fresh Looks For Roses, Daisies, Sunflowers and More by Claire Crompton 2011
Being a keen gardener and floral arranger, it was inevitable that I should be attracted to this book!! And it is certainly a lovely addition to the crochet library!
It starts by describing the wonderful variety of natural, blended and synthetic fibres available these days, as well as examining colour palettes and different yarn textures and weights, before discussing tools and equipment, including a crochet hook conversion chart; and gauge and swatches for fabrics, trims and motifs.
Basic stitches are illustrated and described, using US terminology, though again here, they use the term treble rather than triple, followed by more complex stitches including shells and fans; clusters; puff stitches; popcorns; and picots.There are sections on:
Following written crochet patterns (including abbreviations and US/UK equivalents) and crochet charts with symbols for fabrics, trims, and motifs and flowers;
Being creative with colour : Inspirations; Changing colours; and Working in stripes;
Making Crochet Fabrics: Foundation chain; Working into loops or chain stitches; and Working in rows;
Making Crochet Motifs: Inspirations; Motif centres; Shapes of motifs and flowers; Joining motifs; and Sewing or crocheting seams.
The book is then divided into four major parts: Flowers, Trims, Fabrics and Motifs, each introduced with inspirational ideas for their use and containing a large variety of patterns, each accompanied by colour photographs, keys and stitch diagrams. For example, flowers can be made into bunting like in the photo below, which is based on the pattern for Six-Petalled Flowers, as well as necklaces, corsages and decorative pieces to embellish bags or hats, while trims can be used to edge scarves, blouses and skirt hems. Crochet fabrics can be assembled into cushion panels, scarves and lavender sachets and motifs can be used for Christmas decorations; jewellery, decorative collars and embellishments for clothes and bags. In the back is a list of contemporary suppliers, complete with websites.
My final book completes both my knitting and crochet book posts, as it addresses both art forms.
Freeform: Serendipitous Design Techniques for Knitting and Crochet by Prudence Mapstone 2002/ 2004
Once all the basic techniques and principles are mastered and understood, experimentation is possible and the rules can be broken in the interests of promoting creativity! Any stitch or technique from either art form can be incorporated in the one work and the work grows organically, governed only by the moment or the availability of materials in your yarn stash, resulting in a truly unique and creative piece.
It is such a great way of using up all those odd balls of wool or spur-of-the-moment single purchases, because you were seduced by the colours or texture and couldn’t resist! Ply, gauge and dye lots are totally irrelevant with freeform artwork and fine lightweight yarns can be doubled, tripled or combined with another thread.
It is also a lovely way to explore colour combinations. Prudence provides detailed notes on colour and yarn choice and fabrication, as well as helpful hints for success, instructions for aftercare and an appendix of abbreviations, yarn equivalents (for Australia, UK and USA), knitting needle and crochet hook size conversions (Imperial or Old UK/ Metric and USA).She includes some patterns for elements that can be joined together, as well as lots of inspirational colour photographs of garments and goods made with her freeform techniques from hair bands, hats and bikinis to vests and jackets and footstools, cushions and bags. While you wouldn’t necessarily wear all of her garments, there are some colour combinations that are quite lovely and it certainly does show you the vast potential of the medium! Be adventurous and take risks and above all, have fun!!!!
Next week, we are off to Green Cape on the Far South Coast of New South Wales for our annual Winter pilgrimage for the Four Ws: Whales, Wombats, Wildflowers and Wild Woolly Weather!!!