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!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Granny Meets Filet

The other day the bookmobile left two books for me which I thought I'd share with you today.

The first is When Granny Meets Filet: Home and Fashion Designs, Plus 50 Granny Squares and 91 Filet Stitches by Bendy Carter.

I brought this book to bed with me that night and I was itching to get at some yarn and start making some of the squares in this book. It's not just square patterns though. This is a thin book, but it packs a lot in a few pages.

There ARE patterns - 50 granny squares and 91 filet stitches. There is also a scarf, hat, cardigan, pillow, gloves, neck warmer and an afghan all made of squares.

The thing about the patterns that got my attention was the notation that EACH and EVERY granny square  has 15 stitches along each side and has 3 stitches in every corner. That will be very helpful when making squares one hopes to join together. Generally I have to do the counting and such to make sure squares lie flat and join together well. I can't imagine the work it took to get 50 squares to all come out that way.

The designs are great, but wait until you get to the filet section.

Of course you know I've been doing a lot of filet work lately so this section pulled my eyes to it. There are 25 small filet charts and 22 larger filet charts. The small are all the same size and just general designs, just to add character to your piece. The large ones are also all the same size and interesting patterns. Those particularly got my interest.

Then there are half squares and filet rectangles. I've never done a half square so I am interested in that. The rectangles have lacets which I've also not done yet.

Then there is filet fringe. Say what?  Yep. Filet fringe. And lastly filet working in the round. That section has me a little confused, but there is so much else for me to do first, I'm sure I'll get to it eventually.

In any case, I can't possibly do everything in there in 2 weeks so I guess I'll have to buy it! LOL

Well, I did run on about this one, didn't I? Well, it's 88 pages of wonder published by Annie's Attic!

I will talk about the other book tomorrow.

Happy crocheting!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I have finished the one-of-a-kind name afghan I've been working on for some time now. Using Paint Shop Pro, I deleted the actual names to protect privacy  (and also the mess on our nightstands LOL) but wanted to at least give you a glimpse of the afghan I've been talking about.

Here is the full afghan. Finished size is approx 56" x 89". I made 2 of each name which made it quite long. Because of that I had to get the width in line with the length. The names are in the center in blues and pinks.

The squares on either side spell out the family surname. Then there is a plain outer strip in two of the colors used within the afghan. There is more blue because there are more guys in the family. LOL The daughter's favorite color is pink so I used pink for the gals and blue for the guys.

Here is one of the names just so you can see how they are worked. Each name is the same width and height, as was each single letter on the side blocks. That took a little figuring and finagling, but worked out okay in the end. I enjoyed the challenge! 

The names themselves were different lengths, the shortest being 3 and the longest being 6 letters. There are different ways I could have handled that, but I decided to put one space between the letters of the longer name rather than two. Should you decide to do a name afghan, you can do that or you could make all the names wider to get in line with the longest one. 

The yarns used were I Love This Yarn Turquoise, Red Heart Super Saver Aruba Sea, Vanna's Choice pink, Bernat Giggles Tickled Pink (my favorite), Red Heart Super Saver Petal Pink, Vanna's Choice Baby Pink Poodle.

Guess I should make a name afghan for my family now, huh? I did learn a lot as I always do when I make an afghan. I wish I could make each afghan twice, incorporating what I learned the first go round in the second. I suppose then I would learn more with the second and need to make a third. LOL Well, they say the Amish incorporate a mistake in their work purposely. I don't recall if there were any actual mistakes left in the afghan, but I know there were a few that I ripped back and fixed.

This afghan, however, is certainly a one-of-a-kind! Think it will be worth a lot when I'm gone?? LOL Whether it is monetarily worth a lot, I hope the family at least enjoys it.

Happy crocheting!