Book Review: Stitch ‘n Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker

By Claire Ortega-Reyes – 12 Comments
Stitch ‘n Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker introduced me to the cool side of crochet. I learned crochet by making doilies, so seeing colorful crocheted items and cute crochet illustrations really got me hooked (literally). Reading it inspired me to go online and create my blog. There’s so much to love about this book, but it’s not perfect. Check out the book for yourself on Amazon (I just love the “Look Inside” feature). In the meantime,here’s my short review of this book.

Stitch ‘n Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker

Stitch ‘n Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker by Debbie Stoller


First Impressions: The Look

The cover will surely grab your attention! It’s not every day that you see the word “hooker” on a book (at least for most people). The title, combined with the bold colors and photogenic crochet projects are eye-catching. Leafing through the book shows that the illustrations and beautiful photos are not limited to the cover.

The only thing I don’t like is the binding. It’s not spiral bound, so you’ll have to prop open the book when you’re working on a pattern. Mine was so used that pages of it kept falling off. In time a whole chunk of it came off!

Writing Style

I love the way the book was written. I usually don’t like reading about history and basic crochet instructions, but I read the first parts of this book from beginning to end. Stoller has a way of making things sound funny and interesting, and it kept me reading. I also learned a lot of new techniques because her explanations are easy to understand, and never boring. I also like that each pattern has a background story, written by each of the pattern’s writers.

On the other hand, I don’t appreciate that some of her observations are written from a knitter’s point of view. I’ve never tried knitting before, so I couldn’t relate. She also pokes fun at the “rivalry” between knitters and crocheters, but in the end encourages both to try the other’s craft (which is good).

Crochet Instructions: How-To’s and Patterns

I like the number and variety of patterns they have. Of the 42 projects, everyone would want to make at least one. Accomplishing each would mean conquering various skills (also explained in the book): making lace, reading charts, making filet crochet, working in different colors, and more. I also like that a lot of the patterns would work for both men and women. There are patterns for children and babies, too. Some projects also have charted instructions, which is great for those who don’t do well with written instructions.

The instructions are so detailed, that I’d recommend this for crochet newbies. I’ve read, though, that left-handed crocheters (lefties) are left bewildered by the how-to’s. I must admit that I can’t relate (being right-handed), but I understand how frustrated you can get. I’ve also tried a few patterns only to find midway that the instructions don’t make sense–turns out a lot of the patterns in the book have errata. You’ll have to go online to check the errata, which might not occur to you if you think you’re the one having difficulty following the pattern.

The Long and Short of It

Overall, the book is great. I learned a lot of new things, and got to make some really cool projects.

 

My Cold Shoulders

My Cold Shoulders

My Short and Sweet

My Short and Sweet

That said, the book could have done with a little more editing to minimize confusion (particularly for pattern errata). They should also have made more of an effort in revising the reprints of the book, or at least included the published errata. On the whole, I think it’s a must-have for every crocheter. Despite the errors and faults, it’s a gem of a reference for basic crochet instructions and stitches. Stitch ‘n Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker by Debbie Stoller might just leave you feeling confused at times, but also very amused and inspired.

This isn’t exactly a new crochet book, so I know a lot of you have already checked this out! How about you, what do you think about the book? Do you agree with my opinions, or had a different experience with it?

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12 Comments

  1. Connie says:

    Love this book! I had put aside crocheting for many years, but this book brought me back last year in a big way. I’m not a crochet newbie, but made only simple pieces in my earlier years. The book brought a level of sophistication to my work without being confusing. It also introduced me to Omega’s La Espiga nylon thread for bags, which has been a life-changer. I have made several of the Happy Hooker bags and the pirate sweater and look forward to using it this fall for a few other pieces.

    • I know exactly what you mean, Connie. This book was instrumental to my new-found love for crochet, too. I wouldn’t be the crafter I am now if not for this book! So glad to hear I’m not the only one. Good luck with those future crochet projects.

  2. Jodiebodie says:

    I was given this book as a gift when I first began to crochet and it was so helpful. Loved the variety of projects of different sizes. There truly is something for everyone.

    I especially love the sense of humour in the book and the modern attitude. It was also great to be able to learn about each of the contributing designers and how they learned to crochet.

    Since then, I have read Debbie Stoller’sstitch’n’bitch knitting book, and am currently listening to it as an audio book. She manages to explain it in a way that I can understand, so I have become a fan.

    I agree with your comments about the binding – my version of the book is also falling apart! The version I have is the 2nd printing and the errata that I found online appear to have been corrected in that version. Thes days whenever I get a new book, I will look for the errata, print it out and stick it into the back of the book for future reference.

    Your review was excellent and a good reminder about an enduring title that I am sure will be a favourite for years to come.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience, Jodie. Good to know that later reprints of the book have corrected patterns. I’ve yet to check out her other books (I know she has a series on knitting), and a pattern book with both knit and crochet projects. I agree, this book is a classic that will stay on people’s bookshelves, and might even get handed down from generation to generation (if the binding survives!).

  3. Lisa says:

    I don’t have my own copy of this book, but one of the libraries I frequently visit does, and I am a frequent borrower of it and others. Some of the books they have are fairly old, not antiques, but in the world of people who want something “new” to crochet, they are. I have a copy of one of the other books they have that I purchased from a 2nd hand store, and it has a lot of techniques that I have yet to try, but that are beautiful and I look forward to doing them in the winter when I’m not out and about as much. I started crocheting during my first college years after I gave up on knitting – dropped stitches were too hard to fix – and I don’t have that much trouble with crocheting unless I don’t read the pattern correctly. However, I, too, would recommend the above book by Debbie Stoller: “Stitch ‘n Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker” as a book to get that gives the novice crocheter more than just stitches and patterns. It will give him or her a basis to start with and “wings to fly” away on their own!

  4. Jade says:

    This book is a pretty good book. It was one I carried around with me when I first learned how to crochet. I have made many blankets from the baby blanket pattern and hat set. It was a good reference book on how to do things.

  5. Katy says:

    I’ve not read all the other comments so someone else might have suggested this. I saw someone mention it on facebook last year and thought it is a swell idea. They were using it to keep a cookbook open while cooking. You take one of those hanger that have the metal clips on either side (to hold pants, skirts, etc). Put your pattern book in those clips and hang it on something so that you can see it. I don’t think this is the same site they were using but I found it just now on eHow:
    http://www.ehow.com/how_6665810_simple-instructions-make-cookbook-holder.html

  6. Jan says:

    just ordered the book for my nook, it won’t be available till Oct 31st. I’ll let you know how I like it then.

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