Quick Stitch Chart Book Review

This month as been the CGOA Virtual Chain Link Conference, and as you saw earlier this summer, I taught 4 classes. The final class I am teaching is July 23, 2021, “Stitch Chart Bootcamp”. I wanted to share on here some of my favorite books from my library that have stitch charts in them. I thought all my readers might enjoy learning about these books as well, especially if you are already comfortable with reading stitch charts.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. Each of the individual photographs are links to where you can see the purchase options for these books on Amazon.com. Some of the titles shown here are also available in Amazon Kindle editions. I personally prefer to have hard copies of my craft books, but if you are on the go a lot, you might want to get the Kindle version. I have not reviewed the Kindle version, so can’t speak to how easy it is to use for the various titles.

English Language Published Books

All of Edie Eckman’s books written for Storey Publishing are fabulous investments for your crafting shelf. Each one contains both written instructions and detailed stitch charts for all the components.

“Around the Corner Crochet Borders” by Edie Eckman is one of my favorites because of how Edie really explains fitting your crocheted border around the corners of projects like afghans. This is especially nice if you like to crochet edgings on fleece blankets. The book contains clear stitch charts and written directions for each border. The start of the book has great tips and tricks for successfully using the patterns in it.

“Every Which Way Crochet Borders, 139 Patterns for Customized Edgings” by Edie Eckman is like taking a master design class with Edie. If you can only purchase one border book, this is the one I would recommend. Once you have read and worked thru the design ideas that appeal to you, you will feel confident creating borders and edgings on all your crochet projects.

“Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs” by Edie Eckman was my first Edie book and my copy is showing how well loved it is. One of my favorite aspects of the book is in the Appendix there are 3 graphs to help you design your own motifs, I use those all the time to help me draw motifs that I want to use in a design. If you are interested in designing your own motifs this is a super book to learn from.

“Connect the Shapes Crochet Motifs, Creative Techniques for Joining Motifs of All Shapes” by Edie Eckman is another master class with Edie. This time she is introducing you to the multitude of ways to make and join motifs. The “Getting Started” and “Getting it Together” chapters at the beginning of the book are an amazing workshop on creating motif based crochet fabric. The chapters following with different motifs and how to join them together have some old friends I recognized from “Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs”. The breakdown about how different shapes are created in each stitch style is marvelous. At the end of the book are actual patterns using motifs from the book. Detailed diagrams and schematics help you understand how to put the motifs and joins you learned earlier in the book to work.

“The Complete Photo Guide to Crochet; 2nd Edition” by Margaret Hubert. Honestly, Margaret has probably forgotten more about crochet than most of us will ever learn. In this book she shares a wealth of crochet knowledge. There are great stitch charts for the various stitch patterns and motifs, but even more than that. If you are a new crocheter or teaching beginning crochet this is a fabulous resource to have in your library.

“The Granny Square Book; Timeless Techniques & Fresh Ideas for Crocheting Square by Square” by Margaret Hubert. This book is a lovely spiral bound volume from Creative Publishing International that is beautifully photographed and illustrated with clear stitch charts for each square. Margaret doesn’t just provide 75 square patterns, the last third of the book explains clearly and with multiple examples how to put those squares together into a variety of designs.

“The Hamony Guides 220 more Crochet Stitches Volume 7” was one of the first stitch dictionaries I purchased. It is packed with a variety of stitch diagrams for All-over stitch patterns, Filet crochet, Motifs, Irish-style crochet and Edgings. Each page is filled to capacity, yet the stitch charts are clear and well illustrated.

“The Crochet Stitch Bible; The essential illustrated reference: over 200 traditional and contemporary stitches with easy-to-follow charts” Betty Barnden. This was my second stitch dictionary to add to my library. The photo link above is for a newer edition that came out in 2013, so may have additional information and editing changes to the version I have. It is a good solid stitch reference that can help you when you are puzzling out stitch charts from non-english language sources. It doesn’t follow all the same conventions of Japanese stitch diagrams, but having the text to refer to helps clarify.

“The new Crochet Stitch dictionary; 440 Patterns for Textures, Shells, Bobbles, Lace, Cables, Chevrons, Edgings, Granny Squares, and MORE” Nele Braas and Eveline Hetty-Burkart. This is my newest stitch dictionary. It is from Stackpole Books and written by 2 German designers. I have been delighted by the content and the quality of the overall book. Each page in the various stitch chapters has a combination of written instructions, stitch charts and a key for the symbols used in the chart. There is even more detailed information for the more complicated stitch symbols used, which is super helpful. The version I have uses US Crochet Terminology, so that is also very handy.

“Crochet Stitch Dictionary; 200 Essential Stitches with Step-by-Step Photos” Sarah Hazel, published by Interweave Press. This is a nice solid dictionary and a good starter book for your crafting shelf. It has excellent information for those starting out crocheting, or those that might need a refresher on some of the stitches. The step-by-step illustrations are really helpful for figuring out how to crochet stitches you may be unfamiliar with, and the step-by-step stitch charts that go along with them are great. Answers that age old question, “Where do I put my hook”. The photos are crisp and clear, so it is easy to see what the finished texture of the fabric should look like.

Japanese Stitch Chart books

“Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts; Lacy Crochet” this slim volume is a great introduction to Japanese pattern styles. There are extensive stitch diagrams and construction illustrations. Since this is a translation of the original Japanese book all the instructions are written in English, making it easier to follow the patterns. It is full of fun small projects crocheted in size 10 thread, but many could be adapted to work in yarn with some ingenuity.

This Japanese book has an English subtitle of “Knitwear with Pineapple Pattern”, but it is all crochet not knitting. It is a really lovely book showing elaborate diagrams of stitches for crocheting various pineapple garments. Included is a large fold out of full pieces of the garments. Unless you can read Japanese Kanji though, you will have to figure out sizing changes and shaping on your own.

This is another Japanese pattern book. It is full of patterns using motifs to crochet all sorts of projects. The construction diagrams and stitch diagrams are ingenious and so fun. It is fully accessible even if you can’t read the Kanji symbols. Between great photos of the finished items and the diagrams you can easily complete the projects.

This Japanese Craft Book has the English subtitle of “262 Crochet Patterns” and is one of my favorite Japanese stitch dictionaries. I was excited to see that this book is available on Amazon. These books tend to be a bit pricey, but you will be guaranteed years of crocheting fun. As a designer I find inspiration in the pages of my Japanese stitch dictionaries whenever I’m hitting a slump.

Another wonderful Japanese Craft Book “Crochet Patterns Book 300” that I use frequently. This one is currently showing at around $26 on Amazon, which is a great price.

This Japanese Craft Book has the English subtitle of “Crochet Patterns Book, Motifs and Edgings”. It really is full of so many motif patterns. All are shown worked in yarn as a single motif and in a joined group. There are stitch charts for the individual motifs and a more complex schematic diagram showing how to join the motifs. Some even include a stitch chart for a “filler” motif when joining the larger motifs.

This Japanese craft book has the English subtitle of “Crochet Lace Doily”. It is full of a variety of doily patterns. Many of the doilies use filet crochet and the stitch diagrams are shown using the traditional graph style for filet, but there are also a large percentage of the stitch diagrams are shown using stitch symbols. Nearly all the Filet crochet patterns use a combination of stitch symbol illustrations to clarify the graphs. Some of the larger round doilies show a “pie wedge” of the stitch symbols to work from the center out.

Thanks for browsing thru these books with me. You can discover more about all of them by clicking on the photographs to go to Amazon. Some of the Amazon listings even show you a few of the inside pages.

Braided Ribs Neck Cozy – Crochet Pattern

I’m excited to share with you that I’m participating in the Christmas in July Make Along with Underground Crafter. Be sure to join the fun! 28 bloggers have teamed up to bring you a month full of free patterns to kick start the handmade holiday season — including crochet, knitting, sewing, and crafting projects. There’s something new to make every day in July. Each week will have a theme.

Week 1 (July 1-7): Babies, Kids, and Teens
Week 2 (July 8-14): Women
Week 3 (July 15-21): Gifts for Anyone
Week 4 (July 22-28): Home
Week 5 (July 29-31): Pets

My Braided Ribs Neck Cozy pattern is a fun to crochet and quick gift for anyone on your gift making list. Just use an appropriate color for the person you are giving it to. As a neck cozy it uses approximately 200 yards of worsted weight yarn. Or add another skein of yarn to make it longer, leave off the button holes and you have a warm scarf.

Buttoned along front edge

You can style your finished cozy 2 different ways. 1) Bring the button end over the left shoulder and button along opposite end, or…

Overlapped ends and buttoned

2) Bring the button end over right shoulder and overlap ends to button.

Braided Ribs Neck Cozy by Andee Graves

Skill Level: Intermediate

Finished size: 6.75 inches (16.8 cm) wide x 30 inches (75 cm) long

Stitches used:  Foundation Single Crochet (fsc), Chain (ch), Single Crochet (sc), Double Crochet (dc)

Materials:

Yarn – Berroco “Ultra Wool” worsted weight, 100% superwash wool, 219 yds/200 m, 3.5 oz/100 g

1 skein Color #3318

Hook – I-9 (5.5 mm) or size needed to obtain gauge

Notions – yarn/tapestry needle, 5 – 1/2” Buttons

Gauge: In X-stitch pattern 15 stitches and 8.25 rows = 4” Gauge is not critical, you want a soft fabric.

Special Stitches/Abbreviations:

X-st – Cross Stitch: Skip 1 st, dc in next st, working around the first dc made dc in the previous skipped st. if you need help making this stitch I have a tutorial on my blog post: The Secrets to Crocheting the X-stitch.

Pattern Notes:

All double crochet rows start with a modified turning chain. Turn and work a single crochet in first stitch, chain 2. Counts as first double crochet of the row.

Instructions

Row 1 (RS):  Work 26 fsc.

Row 2: Turn, (sc, ch 2) in first st {counts as first dc here and thru-out pattern}, [X-st using next 2 sts] 12 times, dc in last st. (12 X-sts, 2 dc)

Row 3: Turn, (sc, ch 2) in first st, dc in next st, [X-st using next 2 sts] 11 times, dc in last 2 sts. (11 X-sts, 4 dc)

Rows 4 – 63: Alternate repeating Rows 2 and 3.

Row 64: Ch 1, turn, sc in first 2 sts, [ch 2, skip 2 sts, sc in next 3 sts] 4 times, ch 2, skip 2 sts, sc in last 2 sts.

Buttonholes created in Row 64 and 65.

Row 65: Ch 1, turn, sc in first 2 sts, [2 sc in next ch-2 sp, sc in next 3 sts] 4 times, 2 sc in next ch-2 sp, sc in last 2 sts. Fasten off. (26 sc)

Finishing

Button placement.

Gently Block and weave in ends. Sew buttons on Right side of fabric at beginning of neck cozy along righthand edge of fabric to align with buttonholes from Row 64.

I hope you enjoy this pattern, feel free to tag me @andee.graves on Instagram with photos of your finished projects. Make sure you check out all the other fun designs from the 28 other crafty bloggers thru the rest of July. We’ve also partnered with some of our favorite companies to get some great prizes for you, scroll on down for more information.

Learn more about participating designers, the schedule, and how to enter to win the prizes on Underground Crafter. The deadline for entering the giveaway is Wednesday, August 4, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern.

How To Join the 2021 Christmas in July Make Along

  • You can join in by crocheting, knitting, sewing, or making the projects as you have time.
  • Share your progress and post pictures of your finished projects. Tag your projects and posts #CIJMakeAlong2021 on all social media.
  • If you’d like to chat with other crafters, join the Underground Crafters Facebook group
  • By the end of the Make Along, you’ll have up to 31 awesome projects. Get ready for the handmade holiday season while having fun with us!

Visit Underground Crafter to learn more about the prizes, enter the giveaway, and to get links to each Christmas in July Make Along post as it is released.

Skinny Post Stitch Ribbing

It has been super hot even here in Colorado, so I am looking for small projects to work on and hats are one of my favorites. I’m teaching a class next week “Spiraling Stripes Hat” that is a great way to add stripes to your hats without any seams. You can still register for this class until 8 a.m. Central time this Sunday, July 18, 2021.

I like the look of ribbed brims in knit hats, but since I crochet much faster than I knit, I wanted a version for when I was wielding my hook. After a lot of experimenting over the past 15 years I have settled on using “skinny” half double crochet post stitches as my all time favorite method.  You will see this ribbing in a lot of my hat patterns (like the Spiraling Stripes Hat).

For those of you that have never worked post stitches, their name comes from the fact that they are worked around the “post” of a stitch instead of under the top 2 strands of a stitch. This gives them much more of a textured look and changes how the fabric behaves.

With a taller stitch like the double crochet it is quite easy to see the “post” of the stitch and to work around the center of this post when working post stitches. For a stitch like the Half Double or Single crochet that becomes a bit more fiddly to find.

The first time I tried using post stitches for my ribbing I decided to do what I call “skinny” post stitches. Instead of working down into the stitch, I use the very top of the post just under the “v” that makes the top of the stitch (the bit of brown yarn the arrow is pointing to in the photograph above). This creates a slimmer looking stitch because the base of the post stitch isn’t stretched around the thickest part of the other stitch.

By the way this tutorial is showing the post stitches and finished work for right-handed crocheters. If you are left-handed and crochet with your hook in the left-hand, then reverse what I’m doing here.

For the ribbing affect I alternate my post stitches, so I needed an even number of stitches. I generally start with a FPhdc, and end the round with a BPhdc. The first round of ribbing is the trickiest.

Once you have finished that round it just becomes a matter of working FP stitches into FP stitches and BP into BP. In the photo above you can see both the appearance of the ribbing from the front and back.

For a Front Post half double crochet (FPhdc): Insert the hook from front to back to the right of the post you want to work around, then bring the hook from the back to the front under the top of the stitch to the left of the post (indicated by arrow in photo above).  Yarn over and pull up a loop thru all the stitches, yarn over and complete your hdc. The post of this new stitch will be sitting on the front of your fabric.

For a Back Post half double crochet (BPhdc): Insert the hook from back to front to the right of the post you want to work around, then bring the hook from the front to the back under the top of the stitch for the left of the post (indicated by arrow in photo above).

Yarn over and pull up a loop thru all the stitches, yarn over and complete your hdc. The post of this new stitch will be sitting on the back of your fabric.

Finished Back Post Half Double Crochet

This is how I make my “skinny” front post and back post half double crochet stitches. You can modify this technique with any crochet stitch, but the half double crochet is my favorite. Practice working your skinny post stitches with this quick and easy headband pattern.

Summer Stretch Headband

Designed by Andee Graves

Skill level: Intermediate

Special Stitches

Materials:

Yarn – Berroco “Ultra Wool” worsted weight, 100% superwash wool, 219 yds/200 m, 3.5 oz/100 g

Color A – #3346, Color B – #3312, Color C – #3315

Hook – H (5 mm) or size needed to obtain gauge

Notions – yarn/tapestry needle

Gauge: 8 FSC = 2”

Special Stitches/Abbreviations:

fsc (Foundation Single Crochet)

FPhdc (Skinny Front Post Half Double Crochet)The post stitch is worked under the top 2 strands of the stitch. YO, insert hook into top of previous st from front  to back, then bring hook from back to front thru top of next st (this is working around post of st), YO, pull up a loop thru both st tops, YO, pull thru all 3 loops on hook. 

BPhdc (Back Post Half Double Crochet)The post stitch is worked under the top 2 strands of the stitch. YO, insert hook into top of previous st from back to front, then bring hook from front to back thru top of next st (this is working around post of st), YO, pull up a loop thru both st tops, YO, pull thru all 3 loops on hook.

Picot – ch 3, insert hook thru front loop and top side loop of indicated st, YO, slip st tightly.

Cl (2 dc cluster) – (YO, insert hook in indicated place, YO, pull up a loop, YO, pull thru 2 loops) 2 times, YO pull thru remaining loops on hook.

Exdc (Extended double crochet) – YO, insert hook in indicated place, YO, pull up a loop, YO, pull thru 1 loop, [YO, pull thru 2 loops] twice.

PM (Place Marker)

Pattern Notes:

Headband is worked in a 1×1 rib using skinny front and back post half double crochet stitches, then flower is worked in 2 parts and sewn to headband.

Instructions

Headband

Rnd 1: With Color A, crochet 96 fsc, without twisting join with a sl st in first fsc.(96 fsc)

Rnd 2: Ch 2, FPhdc around post of first st, [BPhdc around post of next st, FPhdc around post of next st] 47 times, BPhdc around post of last st and base of beginning ch-2, sl st to top of first FPhdc. (48 FPhdc, 48 BPhdc)

Rnds 3 & 4: Repeat Rnd 2.

Rnd 5: Ch 1, sc in next 96 sts around, sl st to first sc to join. Fasten off. (96 sc)

Use beginning tail to close gap at beginning of Rnd 1, weave in all loose ends.

Flower 1

Rnd 1: With Color B, ch 2, 5 sc in 2nd ch from hook, tighten center of circle, join with sl st to first sc of Rnd. [5 sc]

Rnd 2: Ch 3, Cl in same sc as join, picot in Cl, ch 3 [(sl st, ch 3, Cl) in next sc, picot in Cl, ch 3,] 4 times, sl st in first sc again. Fasten off.

Flower 2

Rnd 1: With Color C, ch 2, 10 sc in 2nd ch from hook, tighten center of circle, join with sl st to first sc of Rnd. [10 sc]

Rnd 2: Ch 1, sc in same sc as join, [ch 2, sc in next st, ch 1, sc in next st] 4 times, ch 2, sc in next st, ch 1, join with sl st to first sc of Rnd. [10 sc, 5 ch-1 sp, 5 ch-3 sp]

Rnd 3: Ch 1, [(sc, dc, Exdc, picot, Exdc, dc, sc) in ch-2 sp, skip next st, sl st in ch-1 sp, skip to next ch-2 sp,] 5 times, join with sl st to beginning sc of Rnd. Fasten off

Finishing

Weave in tails on flowers, then use remaining tails to sew Flower 1 to Flower 2, then both flowers on headband. Best spot to sew them is over joining seam. When weaving in ends follow the “columns” of your post stitches so you don’t lose the stretchiness of your ribbing.