I was at the bookstore yesterday looking at the crochet books and found two that look really good. (I was actually there looking for cookbooks for crock-pots [elegantly re-branded as "slow cookers," but I still cheerily call them crock-pots, conjuring a sort of lazy Winnie the Pooh–ish yummy-in-my tummy-ness] and became immediately overwhelmed — who knew there would be an entire shelf-and-a-half of them? Eeek. Any recommendations welcome. I had no idea which one to get.) If you are new to crocheting, or even if you just need a refresher course, The Crochet Answer Book seems very helpful. It's tiny, about four by six inches, and I'm going to keep it in my yarn basket indefinitely. It's very comprehensive and concise and a great general resource — just what I needed.
I also got Teach Yourself Visually: Knitting Design, not because I'm a knitter, but because one of the most challenging things I encounter when designing things in crochet is determining standard measurements for things like armhole lengths, ease, sleeve-cap shape, and stuff like that. YarnStandards.com has general info, but this book gives schematics and detailed measurements for all sorts of potential design options. It even tells you how many stitches and rows you need to decrease/increase based on gauge to achieve certain shapes. I don't know why this is the first time I've seen this book. I told you I was slow. Talk about unnecessarily reinventing the wheel, as I've been doing.
This is a little crocheted puff-sleeved baby cardi I designed last week, inspired by this poufy gathered blossom from the nursery day. The cardi's for an upcoming book by my lovely friend Susan, who owns the delectable yarn store Loop in London (remember when I went mental when she called me?). I can't wait for this book. Knowing Susan, it's going to be gorgeous and understated and bright. Books take a long time to happen and this one's a ways away, but I'll keep you posted.