Sunday, August 17, 2008

Review: The Crochet Bible

Do you know the crochet basics and want to try something more complex? Want to learn how to finish your work? The Crochet Bible: The Complete Handbook for Creative Crochet by Sue Whiting is a great handbook for learning how to make your project look handcrafted instead of homemade. Whether you want to use more complex patterns or create your own design, The Crochet Bible is a good resource.

The Crochet Bible was first published in the United Kingdom and then "Americanized" and published in the US. I think the Americanization is slightly incomplete in a couple of spots. If you aren’t familiar with the differences in UK vs. US crochet terms, Crochet 'N' More has a Stitch Conversion Chart. The one glaring translation failure is the terms "relief front" and "relief back" stitches. In the US, we call these "front post" and "back post" stitches.

After a brief introduction to hooks, other equipment and yarn types, The Crochet Bible is split into 3 sections: Techniques, Stitch Library, and Projects. I found the 72 page technique section the most useful and informative. The stitch library has 36 stitch patterns in 18 pages, including 6 edging and 4 motif patterns. This is a basic sampling of the many, many possible stitch patterns. The projects (patterns) are a practical application of many of the techniques presented. The stitch library and the patterns describe the stitch pattern in words/abbreviations and illustrate it in symbols.

The techniques section begins with an overview of basic stitches (by the way, there are other acceptable ways to hold the yarn and hook). "Crochet craft" sidebars give added details and insight on the technique being discussed. Technique topics include:

  • Placing the crochet stitches – both or one loop of previous stitch, between stitches, etc.
  • Making crochet fabric – working in rows and rounds
  • Gauge – why and how to make and measure a gauge swatch, including fancy stitch patterns, motifs, and circular patterns
  • Combination stitches – shells, clusters, bobbles, puff stitches, popcorns
  • Relief (a.k.a. post) stitches
  • Picots, bullion stitches and clones knots
  • Linked and crossed stitches, fur stitch, solomon’s knot
  • Branched stitches – make an X, Y or upside down Y
  • Joining new yarn and changing colors - I especially liked the discussion and illustrations explaining why you use the new color of yarn to complete the last stitch in the old color
  • Multicolored designs
  • Shaping – increases and decreases (4½ pages)
  • Following a pattern
  • Filet crochet
  • Seams (3 pages)
  • Making and joining motifs
  • Borders and edgings (5 pages)
  • Decorative details – extra crocheted embellishments, working with beads, embroidery
  • Tartan effects – create plaid fabric
  • Fringes, tassels and pompoms

The patterns in the Projects section give a generic description of the yarn used (number of balls, ball weight, fiber). Yarn details, including brand name and yardage, are given in an appendix immediately after the last pattern. The patterns include:

  • A bunny in 4 sizes
  • Striped, ruffled, and lacy baby clothes and accessories
  • Child’s coat
  • Corsage
  • Scarves
  • Multicolor bag
  • Solomon’s knot wrap
  • Hat and mittens featuring circular motifs
  • Hat, bag, and belt set in mercerized cotton
  • 2 tops, a cardigan and a jacket
  • Pullover sweater in child and adult sizes
  • A fluffy, heart shaped rug
  • A baby blanket and a throw, both in multiple colors
  • Textured pillow covers
  • Heirloom bedspread, an exquisite challenging project

This is not a beginner book, but a crocheter with at least a little experience will find something of interest in the techniques and possibly the patterns. If you’re looking to expand your crochet skills, check it out. If you want a wide variety of crochet stitch patterns, look elsewhere.


  1. I have just purchased the book and am in the process of working on the granny square shrug...only with the shell mesh stitch all the way across. I am finding myself confused about the size that it is supposed to be. In the Project notes, it shows the measurement to be 72 in. by 12.5 in. I have completed this and it just isn't working-any ideas on what I might be doing wrong?

  2. Danielle, Much as I love to help others, it is very difficult to help someone over the Internet with little information. I've never made the shrug you mention and I don't have the book to look at.

    Most shrugs are based on a rectangle. Frequently the rectangle is folded the long way, making a skinnier rectangle, and the sides sewn together partway to create the sleeves.