Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Crocheting in Plain English by Maggie Righetti

book cover

Crocheting in Plain English, Second Edition
by Maggie Righetti

ISBN-13: 9780312353544
Trade Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Released: Dec. 2008

Source: Borrowed from the library.

Book Description from Back Cover:
The definitive classic on crocheting for years, the first edition of Crocheting in Plain English equipped readers with easy-to-follow, friendly advice on creating their dream crochets. A lifelong crocheting teacher and designer, Maggie Righetti offered both basic principles and step-by-step instructions to get crocheters started and to perfect their techniques.

In this latest edition, completely updated and revised for today’s crocheter, Righetti dispenses more of her invaluable wisdom, covering virtually everything you need to know about crochet, including:

* Selecting threads and yarns
* Determining gauge
* Working with the right tools
* How to interpret patterns and instructions
* Increasing and decreasing stitches
* How to fix mistakes
* Basic stitches (chain, double, treble, slip)
* Sixteen different fabric pattern stitches
* Assembling the finished product
* How to block, clean, and care for crocheted articles
* And much, much more!

Each technique is illustrated with clear drawings, charts, or photos. Complete with a new introduction and a detailed glossary of crochet terms, Crocheting in Plain English is one sourcebook no crocheter should do without.

My Review:
Crocheting in Plain English gives in-depth instruction on how to crochet. The author assumes you're an absolute beginner, but this book is also useful for beginners in general and people who have taught themselves to crochet.

Actually, this book almost has too much information for the absolute beginner. When I read the first few chapters, I had never bought yarn or any of the equipment. I was hoping to save time and money by getting it right the first time. I was almost overwhelmed by the depth of information she gave. Yet she sometimes didn't give enough information when I really wanted more (like she said she found one general type of hook better than another, but she didn't really say why). After working with several types of yarns and hooks, I understood that whole section, but it wasn't clear until then. And I did end up having to buy another set of hooks (Susan Bates hooks) to replace the Boye hooks I'd initially bought.

I also found it a bit ironic that she (very poetically) stated that you must hold the hook and yarn in a certain way--and I already knew from watching a few YouTube videos that not everyone did it that way--yet later, when teaching stitches, she was very "do whatever works for you" in attitude.

Overall, though, I found this book to be very useful and instructive. I think it's main strengths are teaching you to read patterns, teaching you to understand how various "fancy stitches" are put together so you can "mix and match" to make your own, and helping you understand how to create your own project patterns. I had problems figuring out three of the non-basic stitches (due to either a poor illustration, an error in the pattern diagram, or her using a term that she usually used to mean something else), but I did eventually figure them all out.

The book covered:
Chapter 1 - The history of crochet.

Chapter 2 - Being honest with yourself when picking projects.

Chapter 3 - Choosing threads and yarns (sizing, quality, finishes, and color & dye lot).

Chapter 4 - Choosing crochet hooks (parts of, shapes, material made of, and sizes).

Chapter 5 - How to determine gauge for a printed-instruction project.

Chapter 6 - Introduction to reading patterns.

Chapter 7 - Other supplies (bag, scissors, yarn needles, tape measure, ring markers, etc.).

Chapter 8 - Basics: how to hold the hook, make a slip loop, and crochet left- or right-handed.

Chapter 9 - Chain Stitch (how to do it and the pattern abbreviation)

Chapter 10 - Single Crochet Stitch (American) (how to do it, what it's good for, and the pattern abbreviation)

Chapter 11 - Half-Double Crochet Stitch

Chapter 12 - Double Crochet Stitch

Chapter 13 - Treble Crochet Stitch & longer stitches

Chapter 14 - Slip Stitch

Chapter 15 - Several ways to add new yarn/change colors.

Chapter 16 - Increasing (several methods)

Chapter 17 - Decreasing (several methods), Puff Stitch

Chapter 18 - You don't have to work through both loops, you don't have to put your hook in the next stitch, and several other variations. Making a circle. Crab stitch. Crossed stitches. Picots. Popcorn stitch.

Chapter 19 - How to improvise and invent.

Chapter 20 - Several ways to fix mistakes.

Chapter 21 - Fancy stitches: mesh fabrics, filet crochet, open V, simple double crochet shells (2 ways), combining a shell and V (2 ways), ripple afghan stitch, fishnet, arch stitch, herringbone, diagonal popcorns, lover's knots, spiderweb, up-and-down stitch, my lady's fan, and Queen Anne's lace.

Chapter 22 - Making medallions and Motifs: Black-Eyed Susans, Granny Squares, Spiral Pinwheel Hexagon, Irish Rose Square with Picots, Pineapple in Square, and circular flower motif.

Chapter 23 - How to add lace edgings to linens. Edging patterns: picoted double crochet shells, morning sunrise, handmade rickrack, lovely lace, festive fans, pineapples, and violets.

Chapter 24 - Crocheted decorations: cabbage rose, pansy, double daisy, chrysanthemum, 5-point star, 4-leafed clover, and butterfly.

Chapter 25 - How to do multicolor jacquard crochet patterns. Patterns: balloons, never-ending triangles, and plaids.

Chapter 26 - Several methods of joining several-piece projects together.

Chapter 27 - Decorative finishing touches: how to make fringe, tassels, pom-poms, twisted monk's cord, crocheted cord, and yarn buttons (round or flat).

Chapter 28 - How to store and wash crocheted objects.

Chapter 29 - Project: Sampler Scarf

Chapter 30 - Project: Easiest Sweater

Chapter 31 - Projects: Table/Tray Mat, Treble Crocheted Striped Afghan, Raglan Baby Sweater, and Baby Bonnet.

Glossary, Common Symbols chart, Suggested Websites, Index

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

1 comment:

Susie Moten said...

I loved this book! I also checked it out from the library! I had already taken classes on crochet, so some of the issues mentioned in your review did not bother me. Made the sampler scarf in 2010 and loved it! I recommend this book for anyone who already has some crochet experience-I agree it is almost info overload for a true beginner.