I love my crocheting origin story. I didn’t learn to crochet from a book or a video. Instead, I learned on the playground, when a classmate had some string and showed me how to form a chain using just my fingers. When I got home from school that day and my mom asked me what I’d been up to, I demonstrated my newfound skill. Like a skilled sorceress witnessing wild magic in her child, my mom leapt into action, supplying me with a hook, yarn, and further instruction. Crochet has been a constant in my life ever since. A pastime to soothe worries, a skill to pass on to friends, a source of gifts for beloved people near and far. As an experienced crocheter, a crochet teacher, and a generally bookish person, I definitely collect books for beginning and advanced crocheting.
Many people hop to YouTube immediately when looking to learn a new skill, but honestly, books pair nicely with videos. Sometimes you want a still image of exactly where the hook should be in relation to the yarn. And videos can have a lot of filler content that makes it frustrating to find the clip you really want. Moreover, once you’ve got the skills, you need actual projects to work on, and books provide a lifetime’s worth of inspiration. Crochet is an incredibly fun textile art for the freedom and creativity it encourages. So whether you love a granny square, a cute amigurumi creature, or the idea of designing your own work of crocheted art, here are some books for beginning and advanced crocheting. Let’s get into it.
Teach Yourself VISUALLY: Crochet by Cecily Keim and Kim P. Werker
If you’re just starting out, you need a book with great pictures showing you just what to do. This book is considered the gold standard by many for new crocheters. It’s the only book you’ll need to get started, because its detailed instructions are paired with quick reference guides. Plus the variety of patterns will supply you with ideas for your first few projects. My advice: don’t start with a scarf. Scarves are way bigger than you think they are, and rectangles can get boring pretty fast.
Giving Back Crochet by Jonah Larson
Jonah Larson became something of a crochet celebrity in recent years. That big heart crammed into such a small person is undeniable! More than sharing his love of crochet as a craft, Jonah encourages sharing crocheted items as a way to care for people in need of warmth. His book provides simple, quick patterns that are ideal for giving away. His book also includes a small learn-to-crochet section. There are lots of organizations accepting crocheted donations, including two of my favorites, Knit the Rainbow (despite the name, they accept crochet!) and Wool Aid.
Granny Square Academy: Take your beginner crochet skills to the next level by Shelley Husband
Granny squares wax and wane in fashion and design trends, but if you’re a person with true style, you can always pull them off. They are incredibly fun and satisfying to make — like potato chips, you won’t want to stop at one. This book can mold a beginner crocheter into a granny master. This book also accommodates the two countries separated by a common language. It’s critical to know that the U.S. and the UK use different crochet terminology, and this book clarifies the differences.
3D Granny Squares: 100 crochet patterns for pop-up granny squares by Celine Semaan, Sharna Moore, and Caitie Moore
Crochet stands out among its peers for its unmatched sense of whimsy. So if you’ve already learned granny squares, it’s time to level up and make them really pop. This extraordinarily fun book has 100 different 3D designs for granny squares depicting everything from a rose to a jellyfish. With projects like blankets, cushions, and garlands included, you won’t be confused about how to deploy this weaponized cuteness.
Super Easy Amigurumi: Crochet Cute Animals by Mitsuki Hoshi
Even beginner crocheters can tackle the intricate art of amigurumi, the small-scale stuffed creations crochet is ideal for. One only needs to start with a beginner-friendly book like this. Crocheters begin with a simple pattern for a cute baby chick and add more complexity with each project. With adorable animals like parakeets and penguins, these patterns will make amigurumi your favorite way to crochet in no time. Amigurumi make great gifts; I especially treasure the tiny Baby Yoda I received in a pandemic porch drop-off in 2020.
Sweet Crochet Friends: 16 Amigurumi Creations from Khuc Cay by Hoang Thi Ngoc Anh
As with granny squares, more advanced crocheters can make truly stupendous amigurumi projects with their skills. Ingenious designers like Hoang Thi Ngoc Anh offer patterns for projects that have such character, such detail, that people will be amazed they came from your hands. Fun fact: unlike knitting and weaving, no machine has ever been built that can crochet, so any crochet you come across in the wild was made with hooks, yarn, and human hands.
The Tunisian Crochet Handbook: A Beginner’s Guide by Toni Lipsey
Among books for beginning and advanced crocheting, one exploring Tunisian crochet cuts across levels. With its unique technique that holds multiple stitches on a needle, similar to knitting, Tunisian crochet can fit into any era of a crocheter’s career. I didn’t try it until 20+ years into my own craft, but you could start today. With projects both simple and complex, this book will inspire anyone curious about the beautiful fabrics Tunisian crochet yields to make something timeless.
If you love the cuteness of amigurumi but want your crocheted goods to have a little more purpose, Twinkie Chan has you covered. If you are so fortunate to have a stand mixer gracing your kitchen, why not keep dust off it with a cover that looks like a delectable strawberry shortcake? And why would anyone sit on a floor pouf that doesn’t look also like a giant donut? If you ever wanted your house to have Pee-wee’s Playhouse vibes, this is the book that can make those dreams come true.
Modern Crochet Sweaters: 20 Chic Designs for Everyday Wear by Janine Myska
While many people limit their crochet projects to accessories, toys, and home goods, there are more and more books that show how crochet can make beautiful garments that won’t make you look like you stepped out of a groovy magazine from the 1970s. The patterns in this book range from cozy everyday wear to special and elegant apparel. This book also provides patterns sized to 5X, demonstrating an admirable commitment to size diversity.
Once you’re a sufficiently advanced crocheter, you will probably want to stretch yourself and work outside of other designer’s patterns. An excellent source of pure crochet inspiration is a stitch dictionary. Honestly, they should be a part of anyone’s collection of books for beginning and advanced crocheting. From the 200 stitches cataloged, you will no doubt find images that jump off the page, begging to be turned into a blanket, a hat, or who knows what else? Crochet a wedding dress. Make sweaters for trees. The possibilities are endless if you have the basics that you need.
I hope my enthusiasm for crochet has rubbed off on you a bit. It’s inspiring to me that there’s always more to learn from a craft like crochet, if not from these books than perhaps from another of the best books for crocheting. And there’s someone in this world who craves the warmth and beauty you could provide with a hook and some yarn. Maybe it’s you! Time to get crafting.