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Crochet News,
Views & How-tos

Crochet Every Way Stitch Dictionary by Dora Ohrenstein

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I loved Dora's new book the moment I opened it. It's an outstanding book that packs a huge punch of information! Before I dive into the actual stitch dictionary part of the book, I'd really like to encourage you to read the introduction Dora wrote. Her history is just as interesting and unique as she is. She's a fantastic designer who has led an adventurous life! You'll really be missing out if you skip over her story. It gives us a beautiful backdrop of where her creativity flows. I have also always loved how she writes her books. Dora has the rare gift of connecting with the reader and drawing us in -- even in stitch dictionaries!

I am one of those crocheters who completely geeks out over any and all stitch dictionaries. Most books I own are stitch dictionaries in one form or another. I've even bought patterns just so I could learn a new stitch or technique. So, you know Dora had me at 125 stitches to crochet in three different ways! There is no doubt I'll die long before I get a chance to make everything I have tagged for swatching and stitching in future designs. This is also the reason I have a "studio" versus an "office." An office implies order; a studio is creative chaos with a lock on the door. Stitch dictionaries easily turn into glorious swatching binges that produce (hopefully!) future designs that you will be able to enjoy at a later date. My studio turns into an explosion of color, and more often than I'd like, yarn is everywhere.

Dora's newest book, Crochet Every Way Stitch Dictionary, is the book many of us have been searching for, literally, for years! What makes Dora's book so unique is that she teaches us how to increase and decrease our stitches without messing up the stitch pattern! That is not nearly as easy as it sounds. It's not a one-stitch-fits-all situation. Repeats have to be plotted out to ensure the stitches are complete. It's mental gymnastics at its best -- or worst, depending on your point of view.

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Now, at first glance, you might wonder why on earth any of these things matter and why is it so hard for many of us. Math! Math is why it matters! So many crocheters (myself included) struggle with the numbers. The numbers have to add up to the right size or the whole project is off. That's why technical editors are worth their weight in gold! They make sure that the way the pattern is written will make what you want it to. Math makes that all possible. Math gets messy though, especially when you are in the middle of an intricate lace pattern that needs either increases or decreases. Keeping the structure of the stitch intact can be very hard, most notably when creating garments. Dora's book takes the guesswork out of so many stitches!

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I also love that this book is written for everyone. Even if you don't design, this book will enable you to create anything that needs shaping. Dora explains in very clear terms the how and the why. If making fitted items baffles you, this book should help clear up any confusion you might have. If increases or decreases cause you to stumble, this is the book for you! Dora is a brilliant teacher and this book doesn't disappoint!

Dora provides beautifully written instructions and photographs and also includes charts. Most of us like to use both, so it's very helpful that she included them together. If you don't understand something in the instructions, a quick glance at the chart will usually clear that right up.

This is a book every crocheter needs in their library. I really don't think I'm overstating it when I say it will be a go-to book for future generations. It's a revolutionary book that will surely change the crochet landscape for years to come. Hurry and order your copy today!

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