This is a book review of Crochet Stitch Dictionary: 200 Essential Stitches With Step-by-Step Photos.
Pictured at Right Is a Swatch of the Zig-Zag Lozenge Stitch, Which is One of 200 Different Crochet Stitches Included in Sarah Hazell’s Crochet Stitch Dictionary.
The “Zig-Zag Lozenge Stitch” is classified in with the crochet cluster, puff and bobble stitches. It’s an enjoyable crochet stitch that is fairly easy to do, as well as satisfying to crochet. It has many possible uses. Can you envision using it in any of your upcoming projects? I’m thinking of different ways I could incorporate it into mine…
The Author of This Book: Sarah Hazell, knitting and crochet designer, author, crochet workshop instructor, textile tutor and self-described “fantatical knitter”.
This Book Was Published By: Interweave Press
Year of Copyright: 2013
Number of Pages: 192
Skill Level: These instructions range from the basic beginner-level crochet stitches on up through stitches suitable for intermediate and advanced crocheters. This book includes content suitable for crocheters at every level of expertise.
The Focus of This Book:
With this book, Sarah Hazell intends to teach you the basic fundamentals of crochet, and to give you complete instructions for crocheting a variety of 200 different stitches.
She begins at the beginning, covering topics such as foundation chains, working in rows, and measuring gauge. She also teaches you how to work the basic stitches such as the chain, single crochet and slip stitch.
From there, you learn about stitch variations and other such important topics: working into loops, working into chain spaces, how to form puffs, clusters, bobbles, popcorns, etc.
Next comes the directory of 200 stitches. This section of the book includes the following types of stitches:
Basic crochet stitches, including all the usual beginner-level stitches plus variations of them. Examples include herringbone half double, herringbone double, linked half double, and many others.
Fan stitches and shell stitches such as fantail stitch, linked shell stitch, interlocking shell stitch, boxed shell stitch, diagonal shell stitch, fan and v stitch, Catherine wheel, and many others.
Cluster stitches, puff stitches and bobble stitches, including forked clusters, twin clusters, lace clusters, honeycomb stitch, ball stitch, pineapple cluster, raised pineapple, bead stitch, boxed beads, bullion stitch, raised popcorns, zigzag popcorn, aligned puff stitch, blackberry salad stitch, popcorn waffle stitch, marguerite stitch, five-star marguerite, and more.
Spike stitches, including alternate spikes, basket stitch, spiked boxes, brick stitch, outline squares, birdsfoot spike, spiked squares, and more. Many of these are attractive, eye-catching multicolored stitches.
Relief stitches, including front raised double, back raised double, raised double ridges, raised double rib, basketweave, raised brick, crossed ripple, chain loop and others.
Mesh, filet and trellis stitches: examples include small mesh, large mesh, firm mesh, arch mesh, crazy picot mesh, ladder stitch, ridged string network, honeycomb mesh, block trellis, shell trellis, Solomon’s knot stitch, Solomon’s grid stitch, and others.
Crossed and interlocking stitches: cable stitch, crossed double stitch, woven shell stitch, crosshatch stitch, sidesaddle shell stitch and others.
Ripple stitches and chevron stitches: many examples, including ridged chevron, ribbed chevron, raised chevron, peephole chevron, bobble chevron, granny chevron, and puff stitch wave.
Decorative types of stitches such as beadwork, sequins, ruffles and surface crochet
Many of the stitches are solid colored, but some incorporate colorwork.
Each stitch in the directory is featured in multiple color photographs. You get a detailed description of each stitch, step-by-step written instructions for crocheting it, symbol crochet charts, and step-by-step symbol crochet diagrams.
Towards the end of the book, there is a section explaining the abbreviations and symbol crochet charts used throughout the text. There is also a helpful index included.
We Highly Recommend This Book!
This book is a valuable resource that I would heartily recommend to any crochet enthusiast. I think it will be particularly helpful to new crocheters who don’t already own any stitch dictionaries. If you’re new to crochet, and you’re thinking of buying just one stitch dictionary that covers all the basics, this one is definitely worth considering; it’s a worthwhile purchase, and an excellent value for the money you’d need to spend on it.
The pictures in this book are colorful and exceptionally helpful. I find them to be engaging and inspiring.
This Stitch Dictionary vs Other Crochet Stitch Dictionaries
Thumbing through the Hazell book, I see quite a few stitches that I’m already familiar with, after having been introduced to them by other publications.
I have owned a bunch of other crochet stitch dictionaries, most of which are much older than this one. Some of them are practically ancient in comparison; for example, a Fleisher’s manual dated 1919 comes to mind, and I also love Mon Tricot manuals from the 1970s and 1980s.
Most of the time, my trusted Harmony Guide is my go-to resource when I need to consult a stitch dictionary. However, I never met a stitch dictionary I didn’t find useful and inspiring.
In some capacities, Hazell’s stitch dictionary improves on the others that are already available. For example, if you would appreciate having work-in-progress pictures and stepped-out instructions, including stepped-out symbol crochet charts, Sarah Hazell’s stitch dictionary is clearly superior to many of the other alternatives out there.
However, if you don’t need multiple photos of each stitch, and you’d prefer to work from a smaller / more concise manual, Hazell’s book could be be overkill for what you need.
Comparing Hazell’s newer stitch dictionary against the classic 1986 Harmony Guide, Volume 1, by James Walters and Sylvia Cosh: Hazell’s book, on average, features 1-2 stitches per page, whereas the Walters and Cosh book, on average, features 3-7 stitches per page.
I like both approaches, and use both books often. While I find Hazell’s fresher volume a more visually inspiring choice, it includes excess info beyond what I really need — and it usually gets left behind when I pack my design work into a bag and take it on the go with me. Instead I tend to reach for my Cosh and Walters Harmony Guide, or one of Darla Sims’ stitch dictionaries such as Triple Play Pattern Stitches.
Obviously, this is a moot issue if you’d prefer to download a digital copy of the book, as you can read it from whichever device you like to bring with you when you travel. The availability of digital versions is yet another advantage the Hazell book has over some of its classic older counterparts — many of which are not available digitally, although there’s always hope that perhaps someday they will be.
Downsides to This Book
I really haven’t found any major downsides, or anything substantial that detracts from this book’s usefulness overall. It isn’t flawless; if my hero Mark Twain had edited this book, he would likely have removed the word “very” from the text in several places. The layout occasionally includes minor fragments of wasted space. But really, those are nit-picky criticisms of a clear-cut winner of a book. Bottom line, this is definitely a recommended purchase.