RML Resources: How to Crochet

This Crochet Baby Book is a Brilliant Way to Teach About the Weather
You can make just about anything out of crochet, including books!

When you think of a library, you probably think of us as a source of free books. While that’s true, and we do adore the printed word, our real goal as an institution is to provide the world with information. For free, whenever possible.

So with that in mind, welcome to RML’s new series of How To posts. In this series we hope to provide you all with the resources to learn something new from the comfort of your own internet capable location.

So to start, let’s learn how to crochet.

What is crochet? It’s like knitting, but faster, using way fewer needles, and producing an overall thicker fabric.

Handmade by Haniyyah: Free Clipart - Ball of Yarn and ...
Yarn plus hook = crochet.

What do you need to get started?

Some yarn and a hook. And don’t let the yarn purists push you toward expensive stuff – you can often find yarn and hooks at second hand stores, at lawn sales, and usually at big stores like Wal-Mart and Amazon, for pretty cheap.

Aim for a simple, lightly colored yarn that’s all the same color. Save the super textured, multi-colored, and dark colors for when you’re more comfortable with your stitches

Most yarn will tell you what size hook to start crocheting with. This Red Heart yarn pictured below, for instance, has a little image recommending a 5.5 mm crochet hook (aka an I-9) to start out with.

yarn label

Once you have your yarn and hook, all you need is instructions. And trust me, the interwebs are FULL of instructions.

The most basic things you need to know to make something are a slip knot, a chain stitch, and a single crochet.

Here are more detailed guides to the stitches, for both lefties and righties:

Right-Handed stitch guide: https://www.mooglyblog.com/learn-how-to-crochet/
Left-Handed stitch guide: https://www.mooglyblog.com/how-to-crochet-left-handed/

Don’t be afraid to practice the stitches they explain above one at a time until you get the hang of them. If you make squares, you can use them for coasters, or if you connect everything into a long strip, you can turn it into your very first scarf.

Single crochet face scrubbie

If you get bored just practicing the same stitches over and over, try some of these single crochet patterns.

And Congrats! You’re crocheting!

If you want to know more about how crochet works, here are some more useful topics:
Anatomy of a stitch: https://oombawkadesigncrochet.com/2016/09/stitch-anatomy-the-starting-chain.html
Written Patterns 101:https://www.craftyarncouncil.com/standards/how-to-read-crochet-pattern
Charted Patterns 101:https://oombawkadesigncrochet.com/2018/04/the-beginner-crochet-stitches-and-symbols-you-need-to-know.html
Yarn Weights 101:https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/understanding-yarn-weights-2117311
Yarn Types:https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/best-yarn-for-crochet-979065
Basic Crochet Shapes:https://www.mooglyblog.com/how-to-make-5-basic-crochet-shapes-free-patterns-and-links/

and, naturally, here are a bunch of free patterns you can play with:


Other Beginner Patterns:

Online Resources I would recommend using to find free tutorials/patterns:

Examples of weird things you can make with crochet: fish  cat beds   weird things   strange stuffed toys   beard hats  stress balls  mermaid tails  mustaches  dragon egg bags  deer heads

Some random advice for getting started:

  • Start small for your first few items – dishcloths and coasters are quick and a lot less frustrating. Blankets are awesome and all, but they take FOREVER and can be super discouraging. 
  • There are many ways to hold your hook, but really, as long as your string gets tied in the right knots, it doesn’t matter how you hold things. Use whatever hand is comfortable for you and crochet in whatever direction you want.
  • If you get frustrated with the hooks, try finger crochet! It’s a great way to learn how stitches work without fussing with that extra tool in your hand.
  • Use simple, light colored yarn when you’re learning things since it’s easier to see the stitches. 
  • If you can’t get your edges to stay straight, count your stitches. I know it’s tedious, but it’ll help you learn how to find that last stitch in the row.
  • The internet is your friend; if you don’t understand something, YouTube it. 
  • There are tons of online communities, like Ravelry, where you can find free patterns and ask for advice. There aren’t actually that many trolls in the fiber art community, so don’t be afraid to chat with folk.
  • If you want an expert to talk to, ask at the nearest craft store for help finding a fiber arts group. Even if it’s called a knitting circle, chances are good someone there can help with crochet. 
  • Work on your craft in public! One of the best ways to find knitting/crochet buddies is to have a project out when you’re in public. I have met fellow knit/crocheters while in staff meetings, while in class, while riding on buses and trains, while waiting in the doctor’s office, and even while helping someone else solve a problem with their crochet at work. Fiber artists are literally everywhere, you just have to lure them out. And RML has its own Yarn group!
  • Talk a friend into learning with you—it’s fun to have people there to help puzzle things out with. (And yes, boys can crochet too—don’t let anyone tell you different.)
  • There are a lot of different kinds of yarns out there, and some of it can be super expensive. Don’t be afraid to look for yarn at lawn sales, flea markets, and used clothing/item shops. Wal-mart and other box stores often stock the cheaper brands of yarn as well.

And if all else fails, come talk to the librarians at RML. Both are versed in the basics, and one has been crocheting for years. We’re happy to help you learn.

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Genre Feature: Sports Stories

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

“With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I’m delivering,” announces 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother, Jordan, are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he’s got mad beats, too, that tell his family’s story in verse.

One Handed Catch by Henry Holt

What would life be like with only one hand? That’s exactly what eleven-year-old Norm finds out when he loses his left hand in an accident at his family’s store. It’s July 4, 1946. World War II has ended, and life is getting back to normal. But for Norm, the pressing question now is whether he will ever be able to play baseball again, or be an artist. It’s up to Norm to find the strength to get beyond this roadblock and move on with his life.

Check Please by Ngozi Ukazu

Y’all… I might not be ready for this. I may be a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and very talented amateur pâtissier, but being a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team is a whole new challenge. It’s nothing like co-ed club hockey back in Georgia! First of all? There’s checking. And then, there is Jack—our very attractive but moody captain.

Travel Team by Mike Lupicia

Twelve-year-old Danny Walker may be the smallest kid on the basketball court — but don’t tell him that. Because no one plays with more heart or court sense. But none of that matters when he is cut from his local travel team, the very same team his father led to national prominence as a boy. Danny’s father, still smarting from his own troubles, knows Danny isn’t the only kid who was cut for the wrong reason, and together, this washed-up former player and a bunch of never-say-die kids prove that the heart simply cannot be measured.

Dirt Bike Racer by Matt Christopher

Is Ron’s luck on the track about to run out? When Ron finds a dirt bike at the bottom of a lake, he can’t believe his luck. But the bike needs fixing up and that takes money. When he takes a job doing yard work for a former dirt bike racer, he’s convinced he’s finally going to make his dream of racing come true. Little does he suspect that the job will lead him to the one person who can threaten his dream…

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Page to Screen

There are yet more books from our collection being transferred from the page to the TV or theater screen. Have you read them yet?

The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn

Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

Release Date: Oct 4, 2019

Amy Addams, Gary Oldman, Julianne Moore, and Anthony Mackie

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

Release Date: 11 October 2019

Nicole Kidman, Sarah Paulson, Ansel Elgort

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate and transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”

Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son.

Release Date: 30 April 2019 (on USA)

Ashleigh Cummings, Zachary Quinto

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is a millionaire, a genius—and, above all, a criminal mastermind. But even Artemis doesn’t know what he’s taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. These aren’t the fairies of bedtime stories—they’re dangerous!

Release Date: 9 August 2019

Ferdia Shaw, Miranda Raison, Dame Judi Dench, and Josh Gad

You can watch the trailer for this one here!

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Author Feature: Raina Telgemeier

Award-winning American cartoonist Raina Telgemeier is something of a favorite of RML – have nearly every book she’s ever published, all of which circulate frequently.

Her first published works were not completely original works, but instead graphic novel retellings of The Babysitters’ Club novels. While working on that project she also began the webcomic that would one day be her first original novel, Smile.

Raina just wants to be a normal sixth grader. But one night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth, and what follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached. And on top of all that, there’s still more to deal with: a major earthquake, boy confusion, and friends who turn out to be not so friendly.

After Smile spent 220 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller’s list, Telgemeier started publishing in earnest, first with a fiction piece drawing from her youth working in school acting productions with Drama, then with another autobiographical comic titled Sisters about her relationship with her little sister. She also published Ghosts, a novel which deals deftly with subjects like disability, terminal diseases, and death, but is extremely problematic in its representation of the day of the dead and history of the area in which it’s set.

Telgemeier continues to write and illustrate comics, with two more comics due out this year: autobiographical Guts, and her own guide to writing/illustrating comics titled Share Your Smile.

Check out any of the books mentioned above (excepting the two that aren’t released yet) at our library!

Enjoy book trailers for her comics here.

Read a lovely summation of the problems with Ghosts here.

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Full Cast Audio

Looking to squeeze more reading into your day? Not so sure about this whole audiobook thing? Maybe try bridging the gap by listening to full-cast audio recordings.

Unlike your stereotypical one-narrator audiobooks, full cast recordings feature different voice actors for each character in addition to a narrator. Often they also feature music and sound effects that make the story sound even more realistic and closer to a radio show than a book. For any Netflix junkies out there, this kind of audiobook tends to be an easier jump since it’s just like listening to your favorite show while you clean house or cook dinner.

Below are a couple of full cast audio productions that may help you jump into audio:

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Upcoming Events

Remember how we promised to work on more events for the year? In addition to our recurring Saturday Stories, Yarns, Tabletop, and Poetry Club meetings, we have some special events coming up:

Curious about bees? Considering a hive or two in your backyard?

Come to the library on Tuesday, February 12th at 6:30, and hear all about beekeeping! Marc Beaupre, longtime beekeeper, has delightful insightful stories and information to share with you all.

RML Book Club Presents: An Evening with Hank Lambert, author of “Highgate Switchel.”

We have multiple copies of “Highgate Swtchel,” Henry Lambert’s Northeast Kingdom memoir, to share with our readers before the author visits us Tuesday, March 12 at 6:30. You can borrow a copy from us anytime we’re open, or even buy the book from us for $10.

We are proud to announce the addition of a second Yarns night! In order to accommodate for early sunsets, clashing schedules, and often tricky weather, we are adding a Saturday morning Yarns meeting. This means that Yarns will meet on the last Tuesday of each month, from 4 – 8 pm, AND on the first Saturday of every month, from 10 am – 1 pm.

As always, we welcome all skill and experience levels and any sort of fiber art. If you’re interested in learning the basics of crochet or knitting, bring some hooks/needles and yarn and we’ll show you the ropes.

Have you had a chance to take our survey?

Your answers help us build the best library to serve our community. If you haven’t had a chance, please take five minutes and give us your opinion.

And that’s the start to our year. Want to suggest an event? Have a question about one of our offerings? Drop us an email at russellmemlibrary@gmail.com or message us on our Facebook.

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Librarians Recommend: Secret Coders

Kat Recommends: Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes

Welcome to Stately Academy, a school which is just crawling with mysteries to be solved! The founder of the school left many clues and puzzles to challenge his enterprising students. Using their wits and their growing prowess with coding, Hopper and her friend Eni are going to solve the mystery of Stately Academy no matter what it takes!

Just the idea of this graphic novel series is awesome: teaching the basic principles of coding through comics. Despite being written on a very easy reading level, this book is incredibly effective at conveying complex computer science concepts. They explained binary in a single chapter! And at the end of each chapter is a puzzle for readers to solve using what they’ve just learned. Yes, the story mostly serves to carry the learning, but there is definitely character developments and at least one big twist in the story of the first book–this is a finely crafted piece of work, worthy of any reader curious about computer science.

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