Stitch n Bitch Crochet: the Happy Hooker
by Debbie Stoller
Despite the slightly dubious title, this is easily the best book for teaching crochet I have ever seen. The instructions are clear and non-patronising and they take you from the basics to doing more fancy stuff like crocheting with several colours at once. There’s a glut of patterns to try too, with hats, men’s and women’s clothing, accessories, toys and home decor. I will say that some of the patterns have dated a bit since the book was published in 2006. A crochet bikini might have sounded like a good idea at the time, but now? Not so much.
However, I’d buy this book for the instructions alone. When my old boss was learning to crochet, I lent her the Happy Hooker and I haven’t seen it since. If that’s not the sign of a good book, I don’t know what is.
200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws and Afghans by Jan Eaton
This is probably the most used crochet book I own. Not only is it a veritable treasure trove of patterns to mix and match for blankets that take you beyond the granny square, it’s also just the right thickness to sort out the wobble on my ironing board. That aside, it’s a great book. The patterns vary in difficulty so there’s something to test every skill level, and Jan Eaton also takes you through using colours – making suggestions for block pairings for each pattern. She also gives instructions for edging your blanket.
My only real criticism of this book is that the title is misleading. There are actually only around 100 crochet blocks – she instead uses different colour ways to bump the total up to 200. That’s a bit of a disappointment, but there’s plenty in there to keep you busy.
Little Crochet by Linda Permann
I’m at that age where if my friends aren’t getting married, they’re having babies. This book was a great investment. Little Crochet is chock-full of patterns for babies and toddlers, including clothes, toys and blankets. The wonderful thing about making stuff for kids is that the patterns work up really quickly and often give you a chance to test out new skills on a small project.
The Swingset Cardigan is a perennial favourite for gifts (I’ve made at least five) and if you’re after something super-fast, there are some appliqué patterns you can stitch to RTW babygros. What I like about the patterns, though, is the notation – they’re written and graphical so if you get lost there’s a few options to help you stay on track.