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'Tis the season to crochet

Originally published in the Ketchikan Daily News, September 2019; written by Pat Tully

My grandmother taught me to crochet when I was eight. The first item I finished was a salt-and-pepper shaker cozy--in the shape of a rooster. I was hooked!

Fall is the perfect time to break out your yarn and start crafting gifts and décor for the holidays. At the Public Library we have dozens of books to inspire you. The go-to call number for crochet is 746.434.

If you are just starting out, ‘Crochet 101’, by Deborah Burger is the book for you. It explains everything from hook sizes and yarn weights all the way to finishing and blocking your project. Photographs and sketches illustrate the proper way to hold your hook and yarn, make common stitches, and read a stitch symbol diagram (to be honest, not my favorite way to follow a pattern). If you prefer to learn by watching rather than reading, check out the DVD ‘I Can’t Believe I’m Crocheting!’ with Melissa Leapman showing you how to crochet stitch by stitch.

No matter how much of an expert you are, disasters happen. ‘When Bad Things Happen to Good Crocheters’, by Beth Wolfensberger Singer can get you out of a jam—or prevent you from getting into one. I recently ran into a problem with a pattern I found on the Internet. The instructions seemed clear, but my piece looked nothing like the picture online. It was not until I stumbled on a note about the difference between British and American stitch names that I realized what I was doing wrong. What in America is a single crochet stitch is called a double crochet in Britain; an American double crochet stitch is a British treble crochet; and so on. This book gives you the lowdown on this and other tips to save you from crocheting catastrophes.

Granny squares were very popular when I started crocheting. I remember making a fringed granny square vest in shades of purple, and a multi-colored handbag. (My creations did not age well.) In ’10 Granny Squares, 20 Blankets’, Margaret Hubert offers a modern take on granny squares, with colorful patterns that range from classic to complex to whimsical. It is a great book for crocheters with a large yarn stash. Speaking of using up extra yarn, ‘Crochet One-Skein Wonders’, edited by Judith Durant and Edie Eckman, has over 100 patterns for hats, shawls, doll clothes and stuffed animals, all requiring one skein or less of yarn.

In ‘Creepy Cute Crochet’, author Christen Haden provides patterns and detailed instructions for crocheting zombies, robots, aliens and other spooky creatures. Get ready for Halloween by making your own Grim Reaper! Or, crochet unique ornaments as holiday presents or gift toppers, using ‘100 Snowflakes to Crochet’, by Caitlin Sainio.

Fall is crochet season, and the Ketchikan Public Library is the perfect place to start!

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