Top critical review
10 people found this helpful
Avoid: this book was not helpful
on 28 June 2015
I bought this book a few weeks ago to teach myself how to crochet. I wouldn't recommend this book for a beginner - it got me off to a completely false start. After trying to learn the basic stitches (with illustrations rather than photographs, which were difficult to follow) I had lots of questions about the stitches and what yarn to use that a few beginner tips would have helped with, but they weren't in this book.
It then gives you a list of projects to work through. The project pages were really light on information (little embellishments on the pictures, like a bow etc, were not explained in the text). The projects also varied greatly in yarn size with some odd choices of small hook sizes for the chunky projects that I think were errors, because when I tried them out it was clear I was going to run out of yarn before finishing the project to the right size. It's also a really thin book that goes into no detail or depth - there's no sense of how you'd progress beyond the basics. I felt really lost at sea with this book.
In the end my partner bought me the book Crochet by Katy Bevan to see if it would help to have a different book. It's much better. I'm getting on really well with it, in combination with how-to videos online. Since crochet stitches & hook sizes etc are called different things in the UK and the US, I'd recommend getting a UK book like the Bevan and cross-referencing it with all the great free American how-to videos online (google 'craftyminx crochet school', it's brilliant). Note: I can't comment on how good the patterns in the Bevan book are; I've just finished the stage of learning all the stitches & techniques properly now that I have the information I need.
I wish I'd started out with the Bevan book or similar (I think Crochet Step By Step by Harding and Crochet From Start To Finish by Hirst also look good, based on a quick flick through them). Two other things I wish I'd known to do a few weeks ago:
Instead of buying a big pack of cheap yarn that is difficult to crochet with, just get a ball or two of decent budget aran (in a pale colour so you can see your stitches). I got Sirdar Supersoft Aran, which is a cheap, usable 100% acrylic.
Instead of buying a big pack of cheap hooks, get a decent 5mm hook to work with your ball of aran yarn then sit and have a lovely time going through the book & videos. I was really surprised at the difference between hooks - I bought a pack of cheap ones but also a 5mm KnitPro Waves one and the difference is massive. The metal on the cheap ones somehow have much more friction than the decent ones, so the yarn clings to the hook and it makes it much more difficult & less pleasurable to crochet. Also, the handles are put together cheaply so they sort of creak in your hands. The KnitPro one glides really easily and feels solid.