Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Beginner's crochet

I'm going to start off this post by noting some very cheery leftover sock yarn, because it's the high point:

These are all self-striping yarns from Knitterly Things, all of them superwash wool, each with colours that share and complement each other.  I think they would combine (with the many many other compatible leftovers in my Knitterly Things stash) beautifully into a cushion cover or two, don't you?

I know you're supposed to use worsted weight when you learn to crochet because it's easier, but any yarn I have that isn't earmarked for knitting is sock weight.  (though why I should consider using sock yarn for anything but socks is a bit of a mystery.)

Anyhoo, you know that thing about crochet being super simple, and faster than knitting?

This.  This took me two hours to get.  And it's still awful.

Lessons learned

Just because you know how to work with yarn, and you know how to work with yarn tools, and you know the basic principle of pulling yarn through loops, there's only a very small chance you will be able instantly to master a new yarn skill as though it was bred into your bones.

Crochet is maddeningly simple, but it still takes time and practice.

It's probably a really good idea to start learning crochet with a worsted weight yarn even if you think you are a total smartypants.

Slip knots: they are essential in crochet.  You can't start without one.  And I am totally slipknot challenged for reasons I may never understand.  I mean, on Day One of crochet madness, I made slipknots every time I squiggled the yarn around the hook, and on Day Two I made string.  Luckily on Day Three, trying to solve the problem of How to Crochet into a Circle, I found this video:

It's one of a whole series of beginning crochet tips.  Every one starts with this excellent approach to slip knots.  (didn't entirely solve my problem though, since the pattern I'm using wants single crochet stitches instead of double ones.)

Just figuring out how to hold the yarn and hook and the work in progress for crochet is an adventure.  After about 90 minutes of working a long strip of nothingness I was treating the whole thing like knitting and 'throwing' the yarn over the hook rather than maneuvering the hook toward the yarn.  (this is what desperation looks like.)

Even though crochet doesn't come easily to me, it is super addictive.

Even though it doesn't seem to radiate Aunt Paula's crochet magic into my hands, I still love Aunt Paula's blue crochet hook.

And most of all?  The biggest, supermost important thing I learned about crochet in my first weekend of trying?

There is a big, BIG difference between 'slip stitch' and 'single crochet'.

See?  Persistence, that's all it is.  Persistence, the ability to retain instructions after you've read them and, I'm guessing, leftover yarn from a whole lotta pairs of socks.

I think this crochet idea could really work out for me.


justmeandtwo said...

You've come a long way so far! Congrats!!! I'm probably going against the grain here, but when I teach people to crochet I throw out the "rules" of how to hold the yarn and let them learn what feels and works best for them. My 8- and 6- year olds are fairly good at single crochet, so I must've done ok. They have yet to do a shape though. You're doing awesome!! :)

Mary Keenan said...

Thanks so much! I've morphed my 'holding pattern' yet again to a system that bodes well for playing with yarn in spite of sweaty palms on a long flight ;^)

Marianne said...

I am so proud of you!!! This is one of my goals for the year, but since I"m left handed no one locally wants to even think about helping me learn. I always forget about the videos, I'll check that out!!

Mary Keenan said...

Marianne, I'm pretty sure I saw videos specifically for left-handed crochet so hopefully that will work out!

Unknown said...

Mary, I learned to crochet first, so I knit like a crocheter, if that makes sense. I think it's "European" style knitting? I hold the free yarn in my left hand and grab the yarn with the right needle. I'm sure you'll figure it out! I have made tons of crochet stuff! Now I'm addicted to knitting socks. My daughter keeps asking why I'm making another sock. I have no answer other than "I want to." Good luck with your crochet!!