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Book Review: Live Loop Cables in Crochet

Live Loop Cables in Crochet book by Sue Perez cover

There’s a new crochet technique book you need to know about: Live Loop Cables in Crochet by Sue Perez, ISBN 9780578720678. This is Sue’s first crochet book, and she’s been writing about crochet for a long time on her blog, Mr. Micawber’s Recipe for Happiness. (Link goes to her post about the book where you can see lots of great photos.) We’ve connected on other geeky stitch tech things over the years, like limpets and weird foundation stitches.

I’m excited about live loop crocheting (I’ve had a newsletter issue in mind about fun with live loops for years), so I bought this book the moment I found out about it. It’s my first Amazon print on demand purchase. The book arrived quickly and the print quality of the full color photos, and detailed diagrams, is great.

“Live Loop”?

Excerpt: what is a Live Loop from page 11
From Sue Perez’s new book Live Loop Cables in Crochet

A live loop is a simple and unique thing in crochet: it’s a loop that could unravel. It’s in a transitional state. It needs another loop to be pulled through it to secure it.

I’ve also heard the term working loop used for this special loop that’s on your crochet hook as you crochet. If there’s more than one loop on the hook, they’re all working loops or live loops.

I think of “working loop” as referring to the loop(s) on the hook. I think of “live loop” as a working loop that is not on the hook and so it needs to be watched (kind of like a “live wire”).

Partial Stitches

One of the things that excites me about Sue’s book is that it explores what crochet loops can do while in a prolonged live state. It’s like a science fiction story where a little stream of time splits off from the main river of Time. The live loop cables are running on a separate little stream. You can even unravel some cable loops to fix an error without disturbing the background stitches.

The standard crochet method is to work an entire stitch (start, post, end) at a time. But you can also work multiple posts, or partial stitches…then complete them as individual stitches by linking the working loops one at a time.

From page 7, “Standard Crochet vs Live Loop Crochet” in Live Loop Cables in Crochet

A Hybrid Technique?

Knitters seem to recognize something about this technique. I’ve seen a few people associate it with i-cord. I can’t speak to these associations with knitting because I haven’t knitted since I was ten years old. I wouldn’t be writing this review on this blog if any knitting knowledge were needed to understand or enjoy the book.

It’s written with crochet language for crocheters. In fact, there are many little ways that I see a crocheter’s touch in the book design. I also see a crocheter’s understanding of what it’s like to learn a new crochet technique. Sue even developed a way to chart the cables for people who are spatially challenged (“like herself” she says). I also love the guidance she gives about overlooked basics like distinguishing the right side and wrong side versus the front and back. There is so much more than this too.

I mention this for two reasons: first, if you do also knit, something about this technique may be familiar to you. Second, it doesn’t have to be a hybrid technique for you. It isn’t for me. I just experience it as crochet. Theory wise, live loops/working loops are a simple crochet fact, so a technique exploring them holds up as crochet for me. Live loops have been used in other little pockets of crochet for a long time. (Hence the newsletter topic on the back burner.)

Plenty of Projects

25 live loop cable blocks in Sue Perez's new book
The 25 live loop cable blocks

This is a large-format 173-page book. The first 32 pages are thorough step by step explanations of the technique. THEN, patterns for twenty-five cable blocks take you to page 100. Each block has a color-coded chart, color photo, and often a helpful little diagram of a special step, or a design tip.

For the remaining 73 pages there are eleven projects, plus some reference material at the end. There are hats, mitts, cowls, a scarf, shawl, tea cozy, bag, bowl, and headbands. (Scroll through this blog post to see them all.) They would all make very useful gifts. This is an important new crochet technique.

You may have seen Sue’s designs in Interweave Crochet, I Like Crochet, Love of Crochet, and for SweetGeorgia Yarns. Her designing and pattern writing experience shows.

Congratulations, Sue! It’s a remarkable book that raises the standard for crochet technique book publishing. I know you must have given it your all because it is so finely word-crafted and illustrated. Thank you for your contribution to the field of crochet.


Live Loop Cables in Crochet by Sue Perez is available from Amazon. (The custom link is the author’s.) Sue also has a Youtube channel; view a 2017 video of her live loop technique.

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Crochet Cable Boot Cuff Pattern in Progress

Lucky Twist Bootslip folded over boot top

New Crochet Cable Boot Cuff Pattern!

The Lucky Twist Boot Cuff in action!

A few days ago I sent out issue #65 of my Crochet Inspirations newsletter: “Mock Cables in Slip Stitch Crochet.” I’m getting questions from readers about the dark brown crochet cable boot cuff photo (shown below). I crocheted that one in November 2012. The gray striped one is fresh off the hook.

The 2012 brown one is actually a prototype of the new crochet slip stitch Lucky Twist Mitts. It’s my newest downloadable pattern. A matching Lucky Twist crochet cable boot cuff pattern is almost finished.

Update: The boot cuff pattern is done!

The early brown Lucky Twist swatch helped me test lots of things. For example, how stretchy the limp five-ply merino yarn would be as a mitt (not enough). How much to taper the ribbed edge with short rows. I wondered about the speckled dyeing and overall dark brown tones.

As I mentioned in the newsletter, I had to dramatically brighten these photos just so that the cabled stitch textures would show up! So in real life I’d need to be standing in full sunshine to see the cabled surface texture in a dark brown yarn. The short amber color flecks are pretty, but they distract a bit from the cables.

First swatch of Lucky Twists Boot Cuffs pattern

This was also the first boot cuff prototype I’d ever crocheted. So I learned about:

  • Finished dimensions for a good crochet cable boot cuff pattern.
  • Stitch surface textures and yarn colors that show up well on that area of the body. (Lighter colors help.)
  • Should one or both edges of a boot cuff taper? (I prefer it tapered at one end only.)
  • How much yarn and time does it take to crochet boot cuffs? (About as long as crocheting just 14 inches of a scarf!)
  • Thickness of yarn and of stitches that fit inside the boot top. (Medium weight yarn seems fine for the boots I own.)
  • Folded, unfolded, scrunched. All ways are fun!

Crochet Boot Cuffs, 2012 and beyond

Back in 2012, crochet boot cuffs were such a new trend that they might have just been a one-season fad. That November I traveled to northern Illinois to teach a crochet retreat. It was a boot-wearing opportunity that I don’t often get here in Florida.

It was in Illinois that I started the brown crochet cable boot cuff pattern prototype. I’d be able to test how much warmth they add, and if I enjoy wearing them.

I discovered that crochet boot cuffs feel great! I wore them over dark tights with skirts. They stayed put. I enjoyed wearing them all ways – scrunched, folded over the boot, and unfolded. Down low into the boot or up near the knee. I did find that I wanted longer ones that covered more of my legs for warmth.