Friday, August 27, 2004

Crochet Book Recommendations for the Beginner

Today I thought I'd have fun answering a question from one of my readers:

in your opinion, what are good books for a beginner? Also, do those books contain something about the different yarns and how they are to work with and what sort of results one can expect to achieve? Thank you! Sheila

Great question, Sheila!

There are a number of great booklets out on the market today; they range in price of about $5 - $8 each. Inside they have diagrams on how to make the basic stitches, and have a few patterns to try. But I like to recommend books that are just a wee bit more expensive. The reason? Because they're books that you'll grow into instead of out of!

The first book, Crocheting in Plain EnglishMaggie Reghetti's, Crocheting in Plain English, is a great choice.  It's written in "plain English" so that it's easy to understand, offers common sense tips, and covers some topics that you won't find elsewhere ... like how to fix/repair crochet. 

She also discusses in her book about yarn wear -- meaning it's durability; how to do gauge measuring, about hook sizing ... even a diagram that discusses the various parts of the crochet hook. 

I like this book so much that I bought myself the Knitting version and I'm devouring it!

The next book on my list of recommendations for the Beginning Crocheter, is Pauline Turner's "How to Crochet."  I like this book because of the way she has it broken down into sections with projects to match the sections.  An example of this is the first section where the reader learns about the chain -- and the first project you do is make a bag using the chain stitch.  Then, as the skills increase, so does the difficulty level of the projects.

I enjoy using this book in some of my Workshops, and when yousee me walking into the class, there's a good chance you'll see the blue bag I made based on the pattern in this book. 

If you're in one of my Absolute Beginner classes, you'll hear me rave about those two books!

For children, I recommend the book, "Kids can Crochet" by Gwen Blakley Kinsler.  The projects are geared for youngsters ready to crochet up their own fashions from scrunchies to scarves.

The book is available in soft or hard cover.  I like the pictures; they're very bright and "fun."  (I went with the hard cover because I want it to last as I've found younger hands tend to be a bit "harder" on books.)

The last book I'd like to recommend is Donna Kooler's "encyclopedia of crochet."  (click onto the title to see the book.)  This is a book more geared for the crocheter that has a little more experience, but it covers topics such as fibers, history, and such.  It has patterns to try, and stitch variations too.

I own every book listed here, and they show wear for the amount of times I've used them!  If you're interested in finding out more about the books, just click onto the image and it will lead you to Barnes & Noble (I do a lot of shopping w/them!).

To learn more about books I enjoy in my "private library," then you may be interested in visiting my website at -- just visit the page called, "Dee's Book Review."

As far as learning about the different fibers -- how they feel, how they work up, books such as Maggie's that I mentioned earlier can tell you, but I recommend that you experience it.  Get one ball or skein of yarn that you're interested in, and work it up into two squares using the pattern's gauge instructions. 

One swatch will be abused by you ... wash it & dry it per the manufacturer's recommendation as many times as you can BEFORE working up your project.  Then compare it to the swatch that hasn't been washed.  Look to see if the color held up, the size, and the fiber.  This will tell you if it's worth your time to work with.  And if it doesn't meet your standards, look at it this way -- you'll only be out of the cost for the one skein, instead of the time, energy & money it took to create the entire item!!


Anonymous said...

Dee, those are great recommendations, but you forgot Donna Kooler's Encyclopedia of Crochet....I have her knitting one, and love it, and various looks at the crochet one make me think it's also worth the price....Love your blog...must chat and get tips from you on how to improve mine.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mel,
I did recommend Donna's book ... I just didn't include an image of it because I wanted to keep it separate from what I consider books more geared for beginners.  Donna's, IMHO, is a little more advanced.   I just purchased her knitting encyclopedia and am looking forward to utilizing it as my knitting skills increase.
Thank you for visiting!

Anonymous said...

I'm saving this entry Dee!  Thank you very very much for answering my questions!  :o)  Sheila  PS - You are just sooo awesome!!!

Anonymous said...

very interesting!