Saturday, August 18, 2012

Ultimate Crochet Bible

The  book I want to tell you about today is Ultimate Crochet Bible: A Complete Reference with Step-by-Step Techniques (C&B Crafts)

First off, the pictures in this book are HUGE. Even my old eyes had no problem seeing exactly what was being shown.

The book is an oversized hardcover which does make it a little cumbersome to hold for those who have gotten used to holding a Nook or ipad but well worth the trouble. :-)

I admit it. I look at the pictures. I don't read a lot of the text. LOL

It starts right off with a history of crochet. Text. So while that's nice, basically we have no idea where crochet started so I think all the histories are guesswork based on a few archeological finds. Interesting, but I skipped that part.

The next section was on hooks with plenty of pictures :-) and gave a good bit of information on the different types of hooks. There is a page on hook and needle gauges but does not include the new style one that I bought recently and which I found more accurate than the knitting needle gauges. I have not found the knitting needle gauges to work well for crochet hooks. If you can get the hook part in the hole, then the size will be too large from what I can see.

There is information on yarn which is good with charts, which are almost like pictures ;-) Then a section on how to read a symbol chart. Very nice! Small pictures but good. I don't use symbol charts yet, but I'm interested in doing that so I had a good look at that page.

There were many instructional pages on stitches and several patterns.

One thing I noticed that was interesting was the calculating yarn amounts. I was confused at first when I saw more than one of these until I realized it was for the particular stitch being demonstrated. Duh. For example if talking about single crochet it said "for every row of stitches you will use between five and six times the length of the row in yarn". That meant when working a single crochet row. When I went to double crochet, there it was again but this time it said 13 to 14 times and for triple 20 to 21 times.

I've done calculations like this in the past. I use them for making yo-yos with the calculation being how many times around a 12" ruler. (Hey, we all have our methods. LOL) So she would have had to work a row, measure it, then rip back and measure how many lengths it took. Lot of work!

What does that mean to me in real life? Well, it means I need to do a lot of Math. LOL Let's say I wanted an afghan 36" wide, like for a baby afghan. If I am using double crochet I would say 36 x 14 = 504" which is 42 feet or 14 yards. Yards is a better measurement since many yarns note yardage on the label. That would be ONE row. So if I was working say 100 rows to make it easy. I would need 1400 yards of yarn by this calculation.

Let's put that into practical use. Vanna's Choice Baby yarn is 170 yards per 3.5 ounce skein (not all yarns are the same - you have to look at the particular yarn you're interested in). Going by this estimation, I would need about 8 skeins for this afghan. That's 28 ounces. Of course, that depends on pattern. I looked at one pattern at Lion Brand (Bright Stripes Baby Afghan) which was 29 x 37 and it uses 5 skeins but the stitch used is V stitch, which is an open stitch. I would always buy more yarn because running out of a dye lot is a bad thing. In this case, I would probably buy 2 of each color so I would be purchasing 10 skeins rather than the 5 recommended or the 8 suggested by the yardage. Heh. So it's all relative. And the book does say 13 or 14. The difference is 13 yards as opposed to 14. That would still come out to 8 skeins since you can't purchase 7.6 skeins. :-)

Anyway, I got sidetracked because well, I love this kind of math.

I noticed the word "penultimate" on several instructions and I had no clue what that meant so I looked it up. It means "next to last" in this context. It's a little sad I had to look up a word in a crochet book. I must increase my vocabulary! LOL

There is a section on left handed crochet with the same huge pictures so lefties are absolutely not left out!

She shows how to measure different shape blocks which is a very good thing as people often get confused about this. I have it on my site as well and even did a video that showed it but I only used a square, not hexagons and octagons as are shown here.

She also demonstrates working in the round, how to join new yarn, how to tell front from back, spirals, tubes, shapes, and lots and lots of stitch pattern instructions all with great pictures. There is a section on color, hairpin crochet, tunisian, broomstick lace, freeform, amigurumi, fringe, tassels, pompoms, seaming, buttons, sequins, and so much more. I'm sure I've missed some things, but I have to say it is a very nice range of topics, very comprehensive.

I have ordered both books and will soon be able to crochet at my leisure from them.

Happy crocheting!


  1. Thanks for the reviews. Once you master reading symbol charts, I hope you add a tutorial. I learned how to read and create symbol charts for tatting when I took a class, the teacher pointed out that you don't have to be able to read the language when a Japanese tatter charts their pattern. So I understand the benefit but I'm still struggling with following crochet charts.

    1. I know many of the symbols, but am still perplexed at the charts. I have a program to make them, but I must learn how they are used to fully understand the process.

  2. I so much appreciate this review and the hints about calculating yarn amount. Many thanks!