its exciting to think its nearly been a year since i learned to crochet. i never really considered it something i could do, i learned to knit in grade five and promptly forgot everything about it. my most experience with a ball of wool was making a pompom, and crochet just seemed so hard: there were foreign looking hooks and all those fancy lacy stitches that broke my brain. but after picking up pip lincolne’s meet me at mike’s book i felt like maybe i could try it. for once i didn’t have any fear about what the consequences might be, no one need know if i turned out to be the world’s worst ‘hooker’! you don’t have to be a perfect crocheter, in fact a bit of naivete is charming in a wonky handmade afghan granny rug! so i sequestered myself in the corner of the couch, and for one swearing-filled weekend i chained, and i unwound, and i chained again and unwound again. but by sunday night i’d made a little circle that looked like a blind-pull. shelley, the crochet genius at little sparrow helped me past the hurdle of working out how to properly hold my hook, and not even a week after i started learning i’d mastered a basic granny square.
the fruits of my labour: my bedroom throw-rug-in-progress
learning how to make a ‘granny square’ was like the rosetta stone of crochet for me. everything since then has been a variable on those basic stitches that make up the square. i can’t claim to be the world’s best crocheter, but i’m just happy to do it. i have a big problem with trying to attain perfection in just about everything i do and its very liberating to just sit down and muck about with wool. i’ve made a few hats, and a couple of soft toys but my major project is a sort of sampler throw rug for my bed. i’ve mastered a couple of patterns for squares and so now i’m trying out circles, and stars and triangles. i want my rug to look like the crochet equivalent of a patchwork crazy quilt. i love the idea of uneven edges, and each square being a different pattern and texture. what do you think?
keep trying, it will all fit together sooner or later
of course expert advice given in person is invaluable, but not all of us have the luxury of a crochet expert grandma, mother or even a patient craft store owner! so let me share some of the books i’ve used to help me through, and those that are inspiring me to gradually work more difficult patterns.
the book that started it all: meet me at mike’s by pip lincolne
meet me at mike’s: 26 crafty projects
meet me at mike’s is really your value for money learner crochet book: if you suck at crochet there are a 25 other things to try your hand at! how’s that for self esteem boosting? and if the sewing doesn’t work out, make some pink lamingtons and buck yourself up with a sugar high. pip’s instructions are clear and easy to follow and those photographs of colorful afghans will whet your creative appetite and drive you to master a square so you can make a hundred more in varying colors!
got crochet questions? this book answers them and won’t tell anyone that you didn’t know
the crochet answer book
this would be your one stop shop for crochet trouble shooting and general education on wool etc. it promises “solutions to every problem you’ll ever face and answers to every question you’ll ever ask”. most crochet patterns i’ve seen generally explain what their abbreviations mean, but sometimes our feeble human brains fail and we forget what a half-double-crochet-ending-in-a-pike-followed-by-a-perfect-dismount actually entails. a discreet peek into this book will tell you. it will also explain why your circle is curling up into a yarmulke and how you can fix it, working with ‘challenging yarn’ (the crochet equivalent of having creative differences with your movie director) and many many more questions.
creative blocks banished with mix and matchability!
200 crochet blocks for blankets, throws & afghans
now you’ve mastered the basics and have a strong foundation in granny square 101, i bet you want to try something more don’t you? well as huey lewis told us, its hip to be square and i’ve never doubted the truth in mr lewis‘ theory. so try your hand at the squares in this book and i doubt you’ll end up with a ‘square’ or boring rug design. there’s texture, and interesting design a plenty and if you’re still stuck for ideas this book offers color and layout ideas too. no excuse for not making a rug after seeing this book!
it’s even hipper to move beyond the square. take that, squares!
beyond the square: crochet motifs
and here is the beauty i’m currently working through! if only there was a song about being hip to be things other than squares… but the shapes in this book are so good they don’t need a song. they have moved beyond the square and they speak for themselves. the color/shape coded layouts are very pretty and inspiring, and some of the patterns are mind blowing! if mandelbrot or snowflake patterns interest you, then have a look in this book and imagine the delicate scarves, or embellishments you could create. just thinking about them is making my crochetin‘ hands itch!
are you thinking of learning to crochet or just starting out? if you’re starting and finding it hard i really urge you to keep it up. who knows when that door will unlock and it will all make sense to you and then you can revel in that feeling of cruising through a granny square. to me, crocheting now feels like swimming. its graceful and meditative and of course that insufferable feeling of self satisfaction is pretty unbeatable!