Crochet isn’t so hard to learn after all
I’ve wanted to learn how to crochet for ages but have hidden behind excuses like “I don’t have a crochet hook” and “It looks hard” and my favourite “I’m terrible at knots.” Despite my desire to learn, I wasn’t ready to learn. That all changed last week.
Mum came to visit last month and for some inexplicable reason she brought with her a crochet hook and a ball of fuchsia coloured wool. It was inexplicable because whilst Mum has passing phases of craftiness, I’ve never actually seen her crochet anything. Knit yes, sew absolutely, crochet never. She had even taken it on as carry-on (I would have thought a crochet needle, despite being blunt, would have gone in the same bin as tweezers and pocket knives at the security screen) although she had barely 30 stitches finished.
When I saw her started project I mentioned that I really wanted to learn. My Nan is very talented at working with wool and even had a loom with which she made all her 15 grandchildren a tartan blanket, so I thought maybe she had been crocheting with Nan lately. Mum started to explain the process to me and then added “Except I don’t know how to turn”. Perhaps she hadn’t been getting crochet help from Nan after all. Turning seems to be a critical element and is probably why she hadn’t gotten very far into her nebulous project. She showed me how to hold the hook and wool and to make chain stitches except my brain wasn’t open to learning and I found it awkward, uncomfortable and frustrating. So I gave up. Lucky for me, Mum decided to leave behind her hook and ball of wool for me to practice, and on Thursday last week I idly clicked on a link in Pinterest with a tutorial on Maybe Matilda on how to crochet and decided I wanted to give it a go.
I had pinned pictures and links to beginners crochet instructions before, but this time, with a hook and wool at hand, I decided to see if I could follow the instructions and get the hang of it. I learned how to chain, create a slip stitch, do single crochet, half double crochet, double crochet and treble crochet. I also learned that there are different stitch names for different areas, and these US terms may be different to the Australian ones which makes it slightly more confusing for a beginner looking for free and easy patterns/descriptions on the internet.
My first piece of finished work was just practicing the different types of stitches and getting the hang of holding the tools. Parts of the square look pretty good and neat, and then there is the big stuff up in the middle that looks like a dogs breakfast.
But it wasn’t as complicated as I had expected and I figured out different dos and don’ts courtesy of the time-old trial and error method and by observing the process carefully to understand the stitches better.
After finishing the square I was high on achievement and decided to press my luck and try crocheting in the round. I found another tutorial and tried a couple of different methods of creating a circle and ended up with a little purple cone that looks slightly rude. Convinced I was ready to move on to greater things, I decided to make a beanie using my new-found skills. I was following a pattern for a premature baby beanie, yet as I crocheted I decided I wanted to make myself a hat. Hmmmm. So I just kind of followed my nose and stitched my way round and round and round and into the night while mi novio slept.
After more googling I figured out how to decrease the huge circumference I’d stitched and give it sides. Consulting the mirror a few times to get the length of the sides right I finally tied it off and grinned proudly at the result, something I would actually wear and that looked fancier than a regular beanie (thanks to my ignorant freestyling which thankfully worked out for the better).
Next on the learn list were crochet flowers. I had two different pinks, a red, a green and a Christmassy multicolour wool in my craft box from earlier pom pom and craft projects so I used the other pinks to create two different flowers and made a tiny fuchsia coloured one to pin to my new hat. I love crochet flowers. They look fabulous but are definitely more difficult to do because you really have to count stitches, something that is tedious for me and I think I ended up going off pattern again a few times.
Three more little things followed, crocheting the headband for a brain-squasher (with mi novio‘s baby niece in mind), making some cute little hearts that could easily be turned into Christmas tree ornaments or stitched onto something like a headband and a curlicue, a crochet firework-like spiral.
I’ve been lucky to have the time and finally the ganas (one of my favourite Spanish words indicating desire, will or energy to actually do something) to practice and create and in the space of 4 days I managed to produce a number of little things and my hat. I don’t think I have the patience or passion to become accomplished at crochet and I doubt I will remember how to do all these things without following instructions every time, but I’ve found another way to be creative and to produce and get that great sense of achievement when you finish something you didn’t realise you could do. I’ve also received requests for hats from mi novio, D and la suegra, so I guess I have more practice coming up. I just hope my beginner’s luck continues!
I’ve discovered that crochet requires you to look at what you’re doing, so it’s difficult to use it to occupy your hands while watching TV, unless you just listen and watch half-heartedly, but it is a great activity to do while listening to your favourite podcasts.
If you are a beginner too or want to learn to crochet, check out my Crochet board on Pinterest for links and pages I’ve found for these projects and others I’d like to make. I think granny squares are next on my crochet learn list.
Do you crochet? How did you learn and what do you like to make?