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73 of 75 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful design possibilities for intermediate through advanced crocheter
(Full disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from Wiley to review on my blog.)

I was very excited when I received my review copy of Crochet Stitches VISUAL Encyclopedia: 300 Stitch Patterns, Edgings, and More by Robyn Chachula from Wiley. Robyn is a structural engineer by training and is known for using stitch symbols with her designs. I'm a stitch...
Published on November 8, 2011 by Underground Crafter

versus
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Okay for ideas, but hard to follow instructions
The encyclopedia part is okay for ideas if you are intermediate to advanced, and can figure out how to create the pattern without instruction. The instructions themselves are confusing. The Visual Encyclopedia might be compared to a cookbook for chefs know how to cook and just need a little inspiration, however the comparison breaks down because the book contains few...
Published on July 24, 2012 by pamela


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73 of 75 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful design possibilities for intermediate through advanced crocheter, November 8, 2011
This review is from: Crochet Stitches VISUAL Encyclopedia (Hardcover)
(Full disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from Wiley to review on my blog.)

I was very excited when I received my review copy of Crochet Stitches VISUAL Encyclopedia: 300 Stitch Patterns, Edgings, and More by Robyn Chachula from Wiley. Robyn is a structural engineer by training and is known for using stitch symbols with her designs. I'm a stitch guide junkie (I have reviews of over 20 stitch guides on my blog and Amazon), and had really high expectations of this Encyclopedia. I fully expected the book to include the stitch symbols Robyn is known for as well as the detailed photos that you always find in books published by Wiley's VISUAL imprint. My excitement about the book kept building during the 14 stop blog tour which ended last week.

Summary
The Encyclopedia is organized into nine chapters, which are further subdivided into different types of stitches:
Chapter 1: Simple Stitch Patterns includes Slip Stitch Patterns, Single Crochet Patterns, Half Double Crochet Patterns, Double Crochet Patterns, Treble Crochet Patterns, and Combined Stitch Patterns,
Chapter 2: Textured Stitch Patterns includes Simple Texture Patterns, Bobble Texture Patterns, and Cable Stitch Patterns,
Chapter 3: Lace Stitch Patterns includes Chain Space Stitch Patterns, Shell Stitch Patterns, Cluster Stitch Patterns, Wave Stitch Patterns, and Pineapple Stitch Patterns,
Chapter 4: Unique Lace Stitch Patterns includes Filet Stitch Patterns, Short Row Stitch Patterns, Brussels Stitch Patterns, Loop Stitch Patterns, and Partial Motif Stitch Patterns,
Chapter 5: Colorwork Stitch Patterns includes Mosaic Stitch Patterns, Embroidery Stitch Patterns, and Charted Color Stitch Patterns,
Chapter 6: Tunisian Stitch Patterns includes Simple Stitch Patterns, Textured Stitch Patterns, Lace Stitch Patterns, and Color Stitch Patterns,
Chapter 7: Square and Hexagonal Granny Squares includes Classic Granny Squares, Hexagon Motifs, and Lacy Motifs,
Chapter 8: Flower, Snowflake, and Joining Motifs includes Flower Motifs, Circular Motifs, Snowflake Motifs, and Joining Motifs, and
Chapter 9: Edgings includes Simple Edgings, Shell Edgings, and Special Edgings.
There is also an Appendix which includes a key to the standard crochet pattern abbreviations and symbols, and written descriptions of different standard stitches.

What I liked about the book
Each stitch includes both pattern abbreviations and stitch symbols.

Robyn made an effort to include stitches that are less common in U.S. crochet stitch guides, including Brussels (Bruges) stitches, Tunisian crochet, and joining motifs. If you are interested in one of these techniques, there are stitches here that you are unlikely to already have in your collection.

There is a close-up picture of the swatch for each stitch. The swatches are made using a variety of yarn colors, which makes the book "eye candy."

The book is highly organized, making it easy to find a stitch you liked again after closing the book.

The book is a hardcover. This is great because stitch guides tend to see a lot of wear, so it makes the book more durable. It also makes it easier to hold the book open while you are crocheting.

What I didn't like (or what's missing)
There are no photo or illustrated tutorials in this book. I was quite surprised by this, especially since Wiley's VISUAL imprint is known for great step-by-step photos. Most stitch guides I own include a small section with illustrations or photos of forming the basic stitches and/or less common techniques (e.g., Tunisian crochet, working in the round, etc.). This means that you essentially can't use this book unless you already know all of the basic stitch techniques, are quite adventurous and don't mind many stitch failures, or you have the ability to learn from written technique descriptions. Alternatively, you could use other sources to find out how to do Tunisian crochet, for example, and then come back to this book for stitches - but that means this book isn't a "one stop shop" of stitches.

I find Robyn's way of describing some of the less common stitches confusing. This is probably not her fault, but due to the fact that there isn't a common language for these stitches. For example, I worked on a swatch using a Brussels crochet stitch for yesterday's post, and had to rework it several times before the meaning was clear. I think if there was a small tutorial (see point above) introducing new techniques, these stitches would be much easier to follow.

It is not always clear where the hook is inserted from the stitch symbols. I use several Japanese stitch guides, and I am fairly comfortable with stitch symbols. However, at times the stitch symbols in this book are sort of floating and it isn't clear if the stitches are worked into the previous row or a space between stitches. I think using a larger size for the stitch symbols would help. In many cases, there was a lot of "white space" on the page, so a larger size for the symbols would have been possible.

The stitch symbols don't have a "start" and "end" symbol. This is challenging in some sections with more complicated symbol charts since every row isn't numbered during a pattern repeat.

Overall rating
In some ways, I held this book to a higher standard than most stitch guides based on the author and the publisher. My expectations weren't entirely met. In particular, I was disappointed by the lack of tutorials/illustrations and the issues described above with the stitch symbols. I think a newbie to stitch symbols would find this book very challenging.

On the other hand, the book is beautiful to look at and has a very thorough approach to a range of stitches. I was pleased to see many new (to me) stitches, and I own more than 20 stitch guides! If you've been following my blog, you know that I usually host a giveaway for my review copy when it is provided by the publisher. In this case, I kept my review copy - so I was generally pleased with the book obviously.

I think an intermediate through advanced crocheter would love this book for the design possibilities. A beginner through intermediate crocheter, or a stitch symbol or pattern reading newbie, would probably find this book much more challenging than the other comprehensive stitch guides on the market.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kindle Fire version, April 2, 2012
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I got this for my kindle fire, and it is amazing. The book itself is very useful and has tons of patterns, with the diagrams and steps. Very clear and descriptive with pictures. This on the Kindle fire is an absolute 5 Star. I can book mark them on my kindle and its really easy for me to read and the photos are beautiful. Definitely recommend it.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! What beautiful stitches, October 2, 2011
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This review is from: Crochet Stitches VISUAL Encyclopedia (Hardcover)
I got to preview this book at my crochet group. Everyone in the group was amazed and delighted at the huge range of beautiful stitches. Many of us are ordering the book. I am a novice at crochet, but have trouble finding patterns I like. I will use this to design afghans that I like. Also, some of the patterns will be suitable to make snowflakes for Christmas tree decorations. I will add more comments when I find out how easy the patterns are to follow.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Did I need another book of crochet stitches?, November 28, 2011
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This review is from: Crochet Stitches VISUAL Encyclopedia (Hardcover)
Did I need another book of crochet stitches?

I kept asking myself as I looked over my wish list. I became acquainted with author Robyn Chachula's style through a video course and her designs. I've bought a few digital editions of crochet books but they are not as satisfactory (to this gray haired granny) as a paper and ink book. The reasonable price for the hardcover decided me.

Robyn's collection of stitches contains some of the old standbys but many more that were not already in the books that I have. There's a variety of lace, Tunisian, many many motifs with tips on joining as well as edgings. And don't forget the colorwork section.

Pictures of each pattern are usually in color. Besides the written-out directions there's also a chart for each pattern. And an occasional "tip", too.

I'd say yes, I needed this book. Even if only for the pleasure of browsing through it. But I've already used several stitch patterns and been inspired to pick out yarn for more.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Many New Stitch Patterns, October 5, 2011
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This review is from: Crochet Stitches VISUAL Encyclopedia (Hardcover)
Robyn Chachula's Encyclopedia offers many new stitch patterns that are unique. Plus there are helpful little pieces of information not usually given in stitch dictionaries.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully Inspiring!!, November 10, 2011
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This review is from: Crochet Stitches VISUAL Encyclopedia (Hardcover)
As a beginner, I can't say enough great things about this book (but I will say this is not the book for the absolute beginner.) The explanations of the symbols and abbreviations used throughout the book are explained in a glossary, the photos of each pattern are clear and bright and the diagrams are accurate and easy to follow, so much so that I feel like I could attempt some of the advanced patterns, even though I know I can't yet. =D The patterns themselves in the book are lovely - many the lace stitches and motifs are stunning.

I love having this book; I find it wildly inspiring! Not only can I learn new stitches that are around my skill level that will help me progress, but I can preview tougher, higher level stitches that will help keep me motivated to crochet. The only bad thing I can say about this book is that some of the stitches and patterns are also found in the old standby The Harmony Guide To Crocheting: Techniques and Stitches under slightly different names.

*It's worth noting as well that the Look Inside preview is (purposely?) missing the 'multiples X plus Y' information in the patterns, but this information is in the actual book.*
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Okay for ideas, but hard to follow instructions, July 24, 2012
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This review is from: Crochet Stitches VISUAL Encyclopedia (Hardcover)
The encyclopedia part is okay for ideas if you are intermediate to advanced, and can figure out how to create the pattern without instruction. The instructions themselves are confusing. The Visual Encyclopedia might be compared to a cookbook for chefs know how to cook and just need a little inspiration, however the comparison breaks down because the book contains few innovative "recipes," rather it mostly catalogs relatively common patterns. I purchased based on all the excellent reviews. However, I am disappointed with the book and would not recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the greatest, October 4, 2013
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This review is from: Crochet Stitches VISUAL Encyclopedia (Hardcover)
Beautiful book with lots of stitches--but desperately in need of proofreading. I think an errata book needs to be provided to all purchasers. Directions are not really clear, and of the 10-12 stitches I have tried, I have found 5-6 mistakes. I have been crocheting for 50 years, and was looking for a stitch encyclopedia for reference when creating designs. I found the written directions ambiguous and unclear, and often wrong! I would not recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great value for beautiful book, January 5, 2012
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Wow! Unbelievable amount of information in this book. Beautiful color photos. So MANY stitch patterns! Lovely to enjoy on iPad Kindle app or Kindle Fire. And 9.99 Kindle edition for all of this when some single patterns are 7.50? Yes, please. Highly recommend!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great book, but wished i would have bought the hard copy, June 29, 2013
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it's very in depth, lovely written. The only gripe I have is that I should have bought the hard copy, It's too hard to read on your kindle. I like to be able to go back and forth easily and write in my crochet books. Maybe I'll come back and purchase the printed version.
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Crochet Stitches VISUAL Encyclopedia
Crochet Stitches VISUAL Encyclopedia by Robyn Chachula (Hardcover - October 3, 2011)
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