Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A Crochet Syllabus for Independent Study

In the tradition of my alma mater, where students design their own courses that are called "independent reading projects" (IRP's), "independent study projects" (ISP's), or tutorials, I've designed a "New Directions in 1970's Crochet" ISP that I'll work through for the next month or two (traditionally at New College the ISP is a special "interterm" required every January).

I invite anyone to join me at any point in the reading and hands-on experiments. I'll post here my thoughts about the readings as I go and I hope others add comments. If there's a book that you think should or should not be on the list, please comment also.

Working Syllabus

My Questions:

- A rash of crochet books were published in the 1970's with terms like "New", "Creative", "Discovery", "Adventures", etc. in the titles. What were the truly fresh ideas of the time? How have they matured?

- Are there stitches and techniques in these books that I think deserve rejuvenating for the 21st century?

- Which of these books will become essential classics for my own library?

The Reading List:
Most of the books I already own but haven't gotten around to reading. Some are on order from places like www.half.com or www.alibris.com . A few aren't available at all but I might locate a copy at a library later. I'd like to read them in fairly chronological order. On the Core list, I own the first book but the next 2 haven't arrived in the mail yet. I'm thinking I'll give myself until Jan 9 to read the first one, New Design in Crochet by Clinton MacKenzie. Then I expect to pick up speed with the rest. I don't know yet if I'll be making use of the supplementary books. Maybe to skim briefly and randomly.

The Core List so far:
(If the list doesn't display well, try here.)

1972MacKenzie, Clinton DNew design in crochet0442350694
1972Feldman, Del PittCrochet: discovery and design0385051336
1972Standing, DorothyNew Ways with Crochet

1974Brock, DeliaThe Adventurous Crocheter0671217550
1976Feldman, AnnetteCrochet and creative design0883653346
1978Dittrick, MarkHard Crochet0801532795
1978DittrickDesign Crochet0801520193
1978Hubert, MargaretOne-Piece Knits That Fit: How to Knit and Crochet One-Piece Garments0442235674

Supplementary Reading List:

1969Horne, CarolineFashion Crochet0263707369
1969Rathbone, IrisCrochet: a modern guide to an ancient craft;0707101611
1972Taylor, GertrudeAMERICA'S CROCHET BOOK
Vogue guide to crochet0812814339
1973Edson, Nicki HitzCreative crochet,0823010406
1973Rathbone, IrisMore crochet0877494312
1974Ventre, Mary TibbalsCrochet; a basic manual for creative construction (The Crafts series)0316899607
1975Feldman, AnnetteHandmade Lace and Patterns006011231X
1975Standing, DorothyUsing Crochet Motifs0263053660
1978Bonando, WandaStitches, patterns, and projects for crocheting (Harper colophon books)006091095X
1979Jacobs, ShanieShanie Jacobs' Crochet Book0672523817
1979Calder, LouisaLouisa Calder's Creative Crochet (Penguin Handbooks)0140463704
1979Parkinson, FrancescaKnit and crochet your own designs0668041269


  1. Anonymous11:14 AM

    What a fantastic idea!! Good job pulling together a comprehensive reading list! Oprah aint got nuthin' on you!

  2. Hi Drew, thank you! I ordered 10 of them from www.half.com and each averaged out to only $2 (not including shipping). When I saw the James Walters book for $20 on alibris.com, I had to grab it. I've seen it go for 4 times that amount!

  3. Anonymous5:16 PM

    I just found and ordered 14 of the books- it looks like quite a worthwhile endeavor. I aqmlooking forward to receiving the books quickly and reading a lot!!

    Carole Fitzgerald, Houston, TX

  4. Anonymous11:34 AM

    Hi Vashti!
    Great idea...I originally started with Mel's list (file on freeformers site) and am loving my growing collection of the older books! I may not be a designer but am interested in all things crochet.

  5. Hey Vashti! I love your 70s read along! I broke down and got the cheapest Modular Crochet I could find. With my new library card, I also found a Woman's Day crochet book which has cool stuff and New Look at Crochet which I also ordered for less than $5. Keep that list coming! I just ordered Crochet Design, too. These books are so much more interesting than the new ones. But, why hasn't American crochet caught up with New Zealand/Austrailia and Europe?

  6. Hi robbin12, please expand on your tantalizing statement, "why hasn't American crochet caught up with New Zealand/Australia and Europe?" How do you mean this? Style-wise? Technique-wise? Stitch-wise, I'd like to see American crochet catch up with (heck, surpass!) E. European/Russian and Chinese crochet.


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