Review: Crochet Workshop

cover47734-mediumI recently had the honor of reviewing Crochet Workshop by James Walters for free in exchange for an honest review, and that is exactly what I intend to do.  First, this book is not a piece of eye candy. There are no bright, vibrant colors and the illustrations are kind of crude hand drawings. However, the information that is in this little gem of a book is pretty invaluable. While reading through this book I saw a few techniques pointed out that brought to light some issues I have been having with my work. Notice I said “technique” because these outcomes are purposefully sought after, however I created the effect by accident. With the information of this book I will be able to keep from making the same mistakes.



Where my stitches at?!

I want to start a series that will probably last for the next few weeks to highlight some basic and not so basic crochet stitches. I also want to talk about some of the different types of fabrics that can be made by combining these stitches. One thing I hear a lot is that some crocheters can’t seem to get the hang of working from pattern. I can seem how a pattern, when looked at as a whole, can seem intimidating and difficult. What I find to be the best way to look at even the most advanced of patterns is to just take it a row at a time (or round) and just follow the stitch. Trying to work from this perspective helps break down to pattern process.
The first stitch I want to show how to accomplish is the half double crochet (or HDC). This is my favorite stitch, especially for hats, because for me I can work it faster. I don’t know why that is, it’s just always had the best flow when working HDC in the round especially.

The first step to complete a HDC is to begin with the loop on your hook from the previous stitch or the chain from the previous row and yarn over once.

Next you will insert your hook through the stitch you are working in.

The third step is to pull a loop back through the stitch you are working in which leaves you with three loops on your hook.

The final step is to yarn over one last time and pull through all three loops on your hook.

You have now completed your half double crochet stitch.


The one thing to remember is that all of those fancy patterns and techniques are really just a combination of the basic stitches of crochet. Don’t let any pattern intimidate you. Happy crocheting!

Granny Squares

There are lots of books out there with wide arrays of crochet patterns and tips and tricks that, to be honest, can be found free of charge most the time. I find myself to be hard pressed to find a good crochet book that is really useful to me. One such book that I have managed to find is The Granny Square Book by Margaret Hubert. This book is full of nothing but beautifully delicious granny squares.
The granny square has been around for as long as our grannies have been, pun intended. In the 70’s they were plentiful in the form of shorts, vests, and all other forms of clothing. The beauty of the granny square is that, while you can make them as large as you like, you can also make them smaller, more traditional in size. Because of this traditionally small size, it makes the perfect scrap stash buster! All of those little balls of yarn floating around all lonely and feeling unneeded in the bottom of your stash or project bag can see the light of day again, or at least the light of the reading lamp by your bed.
Granny squares can be sewn together to make just about anything from pillows to blankets to bathing suits to wash cloths to purses and so on. The Granny Square Book provides its readers with so many granny squares to choose from in bright attractive colors that the possibilities are endless.


Crochet Boutique review

As I have said in my previous post, it is difficult to find a book of crochet patterns that you can find more than on or two patterns you actually like and will make. The unfortunate issue with this is that most crochet books cost upward of $20 and one or two patterns just isn’t work that kind of money, especially when you can find so many free patterns online or so many patterns for $3 or $5 that meet your specification.

On book that I have in my personal library is Crochet Boutique by Rachael Oglesby. This book is filled with gorgeous and cute patterns that range from hats to bags to lamp shade covers. Each and every pattern is usable and feasible (meaning I would actually wear or use them). I highly recommend picking up this great crochet book and checking it out, it is definitely worth your time and money.

The picture below is a bag I made from a pattern in this book. It is super cute and since I made it with 100% cotton it will make a great tote for the pool or beach.