So having listed crochet as one of my favourite hobbies, having even gone to the extent of naming my blog after it, I thought it was high time I actually wrote a crochet-related post. Today I’d like to tell you about possibly the most essential item on my craft shelf, the one thing I’d never wish to lose. It’s not my collection of hooks, projects-in-progress or gradually accumulated sackload of wools and yarns. It’s a book by Sally Harding called Crochet Step by Step. I bought it through the Book People, and the day it arrived I opened it immediately, becoming so engrossed I actually resented the train journey to my boyfriend’s ending so soon! (We’ve now been delightedly married two years and counting, so I assure you that’s a reflection on the book, not the relationship!)
What I love about this book is how comprehensive and easy to follow it is. I’d liked crochet for years by the time I first came across it, but hit a brick wall every time I tried to get past the basics – and by basics I mean making small, not-very-useful, unicolour rectangles in the easiest of plain stitches. The therapeutic, satisfying nature of stitching itself meant I had almost ‘caught the bug,’ but that was all threatening to become unravelled (sorry, I couldn’t resist) by the frustration of not being able to actually produce anything worthwhile. Granted, the resources I had at my disposal for trying to learn tended to be little booklets and leaflets that were older than me, but surely one of them should have been possible to decipher? I couldn’t work out what was going on in the (usually hand-drawn) pictures, or match the instructions to what I was doing.
This book was different. For a start it has, in my admittedly non-expert opinion, an excellent layout, with clean, colourful images that inspire confidence and foster a desire to experiment with the various wools and tools showcased. More importantly, the instructional images are photos, which actually look like the crochet you produce, allowing you to compare and identify what’s going on in your own work (and what should be, when the two are not the same).
It deals with many of the questions you’d have on a beginner-intermediate crochet journey, saving many a fruitless google session when you want to find out how to go about changing colour, blocking, seaming or casting off, how to read different pattern types, or a reminder of the stitches themselves. There are a variety of things to try out, from twenty generally appealing projects to many different stitches, stitch patterns and techniques. Whether getting into crochet from scratch, using as a reference book while working on different projects, or looking for a resource to add new skills and try out techniques, this book has something for everyone. I come back to it time and time again.
If I’ve convinced anyone this book might be for you, try Amazon, where you can look inside to help seal the decision, Hobbycraft which has screenshots of a couple of extra pages for good measure, or Waterstone’s where, at time of writing, it was the cheapest.
Some of my projects from the book (the fact that these are all for babies is coincidence, promise!)