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Ultimate Guide to Crochet Books

Updated on April 1, 2011
This is an example of a crochet pattern book that focuses on a specific product - the crochet hat.
This is an example of a crochet pattern book that focuses on a specific product - the crochet hat.

Everyone who crochets should get assistance from crochet books at least some of the time. You can use them to look up the directions for crochet stitches that you’ve forgotten. You can use them to find patterns that you want to follow or simply to get inspiration for creating your own crochet designs. You may not want to keep an entire library of crochet books in your house (although a lot of crocheters do!) but you should at least check a few out of the library now and then to enhance your experience with crochet. This guide will help you figure out how to find and use crochet books.

Crochet Books: Stitch Dictionaries vs. Pattern Books

The first thing that you will need to know about crochet books is that there are two basic types of crochet books and they are very different from one another. Those two types are:

1.     Crochet Stitch Dictionaries. These are dictionaries or encyclopedias of different crochet stitches and techniques. They provide you with the basic instructions to complete all of the different stitches in the book. Many crochet stitch dictionaries also provide you with helpful information about yarn, hooks and other things but their real value lies in the fact that they show all of the crochet stitch types that you might need to use for any project. Most crocheters will keep at least one crochet stitch dictionary in their personal library to have on hand when a problem or question comes up with crochet. Of course, you can always Google that information but a crochet stitch dictionary will always have the answer with an easy-to-understand index to help you find the answer quickly.

Some examples of good crochet stitch dictionaries include:

o   Crochet Stitch Motifs: 250 Stitches to Crochet, which was edited by Erika Knight.

o   Crochet Books: 220 More Crochet Stitches. This is a Harmony Guide, one of several in a series.

o   200 Crochet Tips, Techniques and Trade Secrets by Jan Eaton. This one is a combination of a stitch dictionary and a helpful set of more detailed crochet instructions and is definitely a great resource for any crocheter!

2.     Crochet Pattern Books. The other type of crochet book is a book of patterns. People use these books when they are looking for specific projects to crochet or information on how to complete a project (such as a purse, in contrast to learning how to create a stitch, such as a treble crochet stitch).

Sometimes crochet pattern books are designed to show you how to make the same type of items in many different ways. An example of such a book is 100 Hats to Knit and Crochet by Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss. Another example is 100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet by Lesley Stanfield.

Other times a crochet pattern book will be designed for people looking for specific types of projects such as home décor items or wearable items or beginner’s crochet items. A really fun example of this type of crochet book is Vickie Howell’s Pop Goes Crochet, which is for people who are looking to replicate celebrity styles in crochet. It has many different types of projects (hats, dresses, swimsuits etc.) but all are themed around the celebrity inspiration.

Still other times there is less of a theme and you’ll get a variety of different types of projects. Typically these crochet books start with easy patterns and work up to more difficult patterns so following all of the patterns in a row can be a great way to develop your crochet skills. Hip to Crochet: 23 Contemporary Projects for Today’s Crocheter by Judith Swartz is a nice example of this type of crochet pattern book.

Every once in awhile you will see crochet books that combine both a stitch dictionary and a pattern book. A great example of this type of books is Crochet Techniques by Renate Kirkpatrick. It shows you how to make several sampler afghans so that you do have a pattern for an end product. However, each square of the afghan teaches you a different stitch so it does serve as a stitch dictionary as well.

What to Look for in a Crochet Book

After you have decided whether you are looking for a crochet stitch dictionary or a crochet pattern book, you can narrow down which books are right for you by looking at the following criteria:

o   How good are the pictures and drawings? This is important because these really tell you what the project is supposed to look like. You want to choose a book with images that really capture your attention and clearly show you what the product should be in the end.

o   How helpful are the instructions? Are they easy to read? Do they make sense to you? Do you understand the crochet abbreviations used in the book? Some books have more clear instructions than others. Also, if you are a crocheter who uses stitch diagrams a lot then you’ll want to see if the book has them since not all crochet books do.

o   Is the book up to date? This isn’t an issue with crochet stitch dictionaries since those tend to be timeless but it’s important when looking at crochet pattern books. Books created ten or twenty years ago may have pretty designs but the style might be out of date. If you want the items you crochet to be fashion forward then you’ll want to look for more up to date books. Of course there is value in making those vintage and retro crochet designs too!

o   Who is this book for? Is it designed for beginners or more advanced crocheters? Is it designed for trendy people or those who prefer a more classic look? Asking yourself who the book’s intended audience is will help you determine if it’s the crochet book that is right for you/

o   Are you inspired? The crochet books that you choose should make you feel excited about crocheting, causing you to want to launch right in to a new project. Go with your gut feeling on whether or not a crochet book is right for you!

Learn More About Crochet Books

I review a new crochet book once a week on my crochet blog. If you are interested in full-length crochet book reviews then visit here:


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