Often the second banana to the world of knitting, crochet is steadily gaining more followers thanks to just how easy it is to pick up the hobby. Instead of using two needles, all you need is a ball of yarn and a crochet hook to create everything from toys and toaster covers to sweaters and stylish accessories.
For the first book on our Top 5 Must-Have DIY Crochet Tomes list, most knitters will recognize Debbie Stoller as the editor-in-chief of Bust Magazine and the writer of all three Stitch ‘N Bitch books. Crafters were both surprised and delighted when she released Stitch ‘N Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker in 2006.
Similar to her first Stitch ‘N Bitch book about knitting, The Happy Hooker is an introduction to the history and process of crochet as well as a kick-ass pattern book. Whether you are an experienced knitter or new to fiber crafts all together, The Happy Hooker is the perfect first crochet book for everyone.
Crochet shares some similarities with knitting. One major likeness is that the more you know, the more likely you are to make a mistake. No crocheters’ bookshelf would be complete without The Crochet Answer Book: Solutions to Every Problem You’ll Ever Face; Answers to Every Question You’ll Ever Ask by Edie Eckman.
With line illustration, charts, details on tools, specific techniques, standard crochet abbreviations, common crochet terms and phrases, standard body measurements and sizing, suggested sizes for accessories and household items, and yarn care symbols; this is the only book you will need when your loops and hooks don’t look right.
Answers to detailed questions about all aspects of crochet is the feature element of the book, with chapters on gauge, circles, edges, and finishing. Thanks to Edie’s support, you will feel more confident to progress into more detailed crochet patterns and projects.
Still confused about crochet? Love to work on a small scale? Then the Japanese crochet style of amigurumi, the art of crocheting small stuff animals and anthropomorphic creatures, is for you! It used to be that you had to try and translate patterns from Asian countries to take part in this unspeakably cute craft, but not anymore.
The popularity of amigurumi is growing in leaps and bounds, with new books and websites coming out every few months. Chronicle Books’ Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts! Amigurumi! is a must-have thanks to its classic, easy-to-follow patterns and colorful photographs. Both a great introduction and indispensable reference for the art of amigurumi, Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts! Amigurumi! deserves a place on your bookshelf.
Knitting is often the first choice for crafters when it comes to creating fashionable clothing, but Teva Durham (pattern designer) and Adrian Buckmaster (photographer)’s book Loop-d-Loop Crochet: More than 25 Novel Designs for Crocheters (and Knitters Taking Up the Hook) will make any fiber fan think twice.
By her own admission, Teva Durham used to be a ‘knit snob.’ No longer. Now, the influential needlecraft guru has become a ‘two-timer,’ bringing the same ingenuity, innovative eye, and solid fashion sense that she’s always exhibited in her knitting design to the world of crochet,” says the book’s publisher. Loop-d-Loop Crochet has over 25 different patterns for women, kids and your home.
If the idea of old-school crocheting brings to mind your grandma’s afghans and pot holders, then Vintage Crochet: 30 Gorgeous Designs for Home, Garden, Fashion, Gifts belongs on your bookshelf. Should you find yourself in second-hand stores more often than major malls, this book is a good one for you as well.
Author Susan Cropper, originally from New York City, runs one of the top rated yarn shops in London called (ironically) Loop. Drawing on her exeperience with Loop, as well as an art director and designer for magazines, Susan also enlisted the help of international crochet artists like Bee Clinch, Alicia Paulson and Kristeen Griffin-Grimes to create patterns for the book.
Bonus! As a minorly morbid crafter, I couldn’t resist adding Christen Haden’s upcoming Creepy Cute Crochet book to the end of our list. Following along the style of amigurumi, Christen’s creations could “eat your typical amigurumi for breakfast.” Needless to say, you won’t be finding any fluffy bunnies or smiling pandas in this pattern book.
You probably won’t recognize the name Christen Haden, but you might have heard of her uber-popular NeedleNoodles site and Etsy store. Some of her previous creations and current online patterns available include donuts, sushi, a ninja, a zombie, ice cream, jellyfish, candy, brain slugs, dim sum, baby bibs, Christmas characters, a tea set … and still more! Which exact patterns will be in her June 2008 book have not been posted, but with a resume like that, I’ve already got a copy reserved.