Today I’m happy to share with you Melissa Leapman’s Indispensable Stitch Collection for Crocheters: 200 Stitch Patterns in Words and Symbols. This is a crochet stitch dictionary that shows you how to work with simple and advanced crochet stitches in combination with one another to create beautiful textures and fabrics.
The bulk of this book is in section one, which is comprised of the collection of all of the stitches. Section two is for people who aren’t as familiar with crochet and who need additional instruction in the abbreviations, symbols and techniques used throughout the first part of the book. It’s a handy reference. But section one is where the meat is at; the patterns are organized there into chapters: simple solids, shells and fans, openwork and lace, texture, colorwork and edgings. Within each chapter is a great wealth of stitch information!
Each stitch pattern is laid out in the same easy-to-read manner. First, you get a detailed close-up photo of what the stitch looks like. Below that is a symbol chart. And below that you’ll find the written instructions for the stitch. There are no frills, no flowy language, no unnecessary bits of information. This is a dictionary of stitches and it reads as such. It’s great for people who don’t yet have this kind of guide in their craft library.
Stitch dictionaries are great for a few reasons. First, they provide a simple dictionary of stitch patterns that you can look up whenever you see them referenced in other patterns. Just head to the index, find the stitch you want to learn more about and head to that page to see exactly how it is made. Sometimes a crochet pattern isn’t written with quite enough detail and this kind of stitch dictionary helps with that. But more than this, stitch dictionaries are great for when you want to try new things or even design your own crochet pattern. Melissa Leapman has provided the chain multiple information so that you can make any of these stitch patterns in any size that suits you. You could make a sampler of different stitches to practice the ones that appeal to you most.
There are, of course, other stitch dictionaries. A few that come to mind are The Complete Photo Guide to Crochet, Crochet Stitch Motifs, and The Harmony Guides Stitch Dictionaries. There is also Around the Corner Crochet Borders, which is specifically for edgings. So what sets Melissa Leapman’s guide apart from the others? One of the things I love about it is that it’s a 2016 book so it’s informed by a lot of the latest popular trends in crochet and uses the stitch pattern names that we are most familiar with today. There is a lot of good detail in this book. For example, it begins with a look at all of the things you can do with single crochet stitch (back loop, front loop, alternating, crossed). You’ll find all of the stitch patterns you are seeking here; but you’ll also find some new ones that are from Leapman’s own mind so it’s not just a repeat of other dictionaries. I especially appreciated the section on textured patterns, which includes common designs like waffle stitch and basketweave but also many unique designs I hadn’t seen before and am excited to use!
Oombawka Design has a thorough review of this book and points out the unique use of a symbol to indicate that a particular pattern looks great from both “right” and “wrong” sides. She also notes that the colors chosen for the samples are perfect because they show the types of stitches in each chapter perfectly and also make it easy to see, when flipping through, where one chapter has moved into the next.