A Simple Guide to Grading Crochet – Book Review
What?! You mean there are grades in crocheting? I practice all the time, so I’m ready! Grade me!
Slow down, slow down. No, there aren’t grades in crocheting; but, there is a term called Grading.
Well, what is it? Grading is a technique that involves numbers and math. Wait, wait a minute… math is involved in crochet?! I just want to crochet!
Hear me out. When I first started crocheting, all I knew was yarn, hook, stitch, and something called a pattern. Those were all my focuses and I just wanted to crochet, like you. I started crocheting simple shapes such as rectangles and squares for scarves, cowls, and washcloths. A complicated pattern for me was a hat, I mean how did designers know to write a pattern to fit different sized heads.
For a long time, that’s all I did… crochet. I even tested a few pieces that are designed to fit different sizes. I was on my a-game by this point. I was a pro, or so I felt.
**Before I continue, this post does contain an affiliate link to purchase the e-book.**
I’m getting to the review, bare with me for a few…
Then I started designing, again, just with simple shapes and projects that required little to no sizing. In my head, I thought a shawl was a shawl and that’s that. For the most part it is. But see, I’m 5′ tall so a shawl crocheted to fit me, might be short on a person who is taller than me. Then I started compensating for that and made shawls that were longer than my liking to fit all heights. Yet, that’s still not too complicated and doesn’t really require Pattern Grading, just increasing stitch counts. But, I thought I was balling! I thought I was doing this pattern designing thing right!
Fast forward about 5 years into my designing journey. While I’m content designing simple designs that are easy and require just yarn, hook, and an idea, I want to branch out into designing pieces that fit different sizes. Remember, I had an inclination of what it took since I’ve tested garments before.
Enter my first graded piece *drum roll please* a ruana! What?! Ruana’s don’t require sizing! Perhaps not, but don’t forget, I’m 5′ tall I want my ruana to fit all sizes. This piece has yet to be released, so there’s no pattern for it. You’ll just have to be patient. 😉
Now, remember when I said I would test pieces that were sized? Well, I had a notion of what it would take to “grade” a pattern for different sizes, and it involved two very important pieces: Gauge and Math! Yes, that dreaded word gauge. It’s so important and so vital to crocheted pieces that are sized to fit.
For my ruana, I got my gauge, calculator and got to working on some math. It almost broke my brain… I jest, I jest. It really isn’t that hard once you understand what you’re doing. However, I still wasn’t confident. I mean, I thought I knew what I was doing, but, because this is my first sized design, I needed that reassurance.
Finally, the review!
Oh my goodness! When I say serendipity, I mean serendipity! I was in the middle of getting my numbers for the sized ruana when Emily of Fiat Fiber Arts announced that she was releasing A Simple Guide to Grading Crochet in e-book format soon. She had posted her announcement and had a pre-release sale going on. I immediately jumped at the opportunity to get the book on pre-order, eyes closed, hands down! I didn’t think about it. I didn’t contemplate it. Nothing! I just bought it.
See, Emily is an amazing tech editor. We’ve both been in the same pattern testing group and have tested the same designs for Lorene of Cre8tion Crochet. She would always catch little things that others wouldn’t, and they usually involved numbers. I knew that in getting A Simple Guide to Grading Crochet I would be getting an invaluable resource that I could use over and over again in my crochet designing venture.
Once the e-book was released, I cracked it open, on my iPad that is, and got to reading. Emily gives us a back ground into pattern grading, sizes, schematics, and gauge – I told you gauge is super crucial. Without it, Pattern Grading won’t work. Anyway, so Emily breaks things down in a simple way that I could understand. I had to force myself to read through because I just wanted to know how it worked and if what I had done with my ruana was correct.
Are you just as anxious as me to know?
Finally! Finally I got the part where Emily talks about the numbers and all the magic behind Pattern Grading. Emily’s method involves using a spreadsheet. Yes, even spreadsheets are involved! See, I used the old fashioned calculator, paper and pen – cause I’m a rebel and don’t use pencils in math; my number are “always” right.
The Who, the What, and the Huh? Are we reading a military report here?
Emily breaks down the technical jargons of spi/rpi/ips/ipr where I felt like I was reading a military paper with all their abbreviations and alpha bravo stuff. But, I wasn’t, these are technical abbreviations for what you need to come up with how many stitches you’ll need per inch and how many rows you’ll need per inch. Pretty simple once you start reading it and doing the math, honestly. Chances are every time you crochet a fitted piece, be it a hat or garment, you’re working those spi’s and rpi’s like a pro!
I eagerly got started on my spreadsheet…ooh I was using a spreadsheet for more than just making columns, I was getting technical.. and following Emily’s directions, I plugged my numbers away.
Let me stop here and say this: I absolutely love that Emily shares how she uses her spreadsheet, what formulas she plugs in, and how she uses that spreadsheet to get a pattern graded. While she didn’t give this away for free, she freely shared her knowledge with us. That is amazing, to me!
Okay, back to the review. Once I got my numbers all plugged in following Emily’s directions, which are super easy. I magically – it still seems like magic but it’s not – got the same numbers in the spreadsheet that I got using my good old fashioned calculator, paper, and pen. Needless to say I was ecstatic! I felt great knowing that how I understood the numbers and the formulas it took to get my numbers were correct. However, Emily’s method is far easier than mine.
During this time, I was messaging with Emily and sharing my excitement with her. We’re also Facebook friends who only know each other through the crochet world and from the same testing group. Side note: Though we are Facebook friends, my opinion of her book is completely unbiased. We don’t know each other on a personal level for my relationship with her to affect my review. I was telling her how happy I was the what I did before getting her e-book was on point though my arrival there was different to hers. In a pinch, I’d probably still use my method, but for more accurate and professional grading, I’d definitely use her spreadsheet method. The chances of making a mathematical mistake are slim.
All this to say what, Dianne?
All this to say…
- If you are a crocheter and want to understand more about pattern grading;
- If you are a designer looking to aspire to make sized garments;
- If you are a seasoned designer and want a refresher on pattern grading or resource material
You should definitely consider adding A Simple Guide to Grading Crochet as part of your crochet library and resources. You won’t be disappointed. It is proven invaluable to me and I’m extremely happy that I got it.
Do I recommend this book? You bet your bottom dollar I do! Get it! If you decide to buy the e-book, let me know your thoughts!