Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Learning to Crochet

If anyone reading this has ever glanced at my instagram photos then you would know that over the last year or so I have taught myself to crochet.

I find it relaxing and almost meditative now, but it wasn't quite as simple to start...

Many an evening I struggled with youtube clips and various websites. How hard could it be to 'insert hook, yarn over and pull through'?? Well, let me tell you - it was!

So I shared a little of my struggle and attempts at learning the stitches one evening on instagram and got lots of little tips by some lovely people who knew what they were doing. Apparently it was all in the tension. Once I controlled that and also found a way that I was comfortable holding the yarn it just clicked. It probably took a couple of weeks of an hour or so in the evenings just practising lines of basic single, double and treble crochet. Add in a slip stitch and then half double and half crochet and I was away! That was once I worked out the US and UK crochet is different!

I was so impatient though...

I wanted to make something.

So I started to learn how to make granny squares. You know the ones - think '70s afghan throws in mustard, orange and brown!

What started off as a small granny square scarf morphed into a throw. Although I'm not sure that my confidence matched my ability at this point!

In hindsight, a smaller project would have been a little more realistic. These throws don't just appear overnight.

Anyhow, I was crocheting, albeit rather slowly and clumsily. It was true - it did get easier. Just being comfortable holding the crochet stick takes time. Knowing how tight or loose to hold the yarn in your hand, being able to twist the hook into and out of a stitch rather than holding it rigidly - none of this was natural.

My first throw took ages...and then some more!

I started and completed a very simple baby blanket in the middle of it. I left it untouched for a couple of months when I went overseas. But I kept going back to it and eventually it was done.

That feeling of satisfaction was pretty immense. Too right I was proud of myself!

I didn't follow a pattern (not my best move!) but I did use a great blog to guide me through a lot of it.

There is a delightful lady called Lucy who keeps a blog - ATTIC24
Lucy lives in Skipton in the Yorkshire Dales - the town I was lucky enough to call my home for 10 years. Apart from the gorgeous photos of the countryside that make me quite homesick, Lucy is an extremely generous soul who shares patterns, tutorials and general crochet tips.

Through her blog I learnt how to join the little granny squares as I went, rather than pile them up and then have to stitch then together, and I used the edging from one of her projects to finish off my throw.

I've made lots of Attic 24 projects since - daffodils for St David's day, flower brooches to sell at the school fete, quite a few stripy bags.

Sometimes my crochet is full of colour....

Other times it's a little more subdued...

But each piece gives a lot of self satisfaction when I see it coming together.

So if you're thinking of taking up a crafty hobby you could always try crochet - it's not just for grannies.

I'm definitely no expert, but I'm happy to share through this blog some of the basics and the things that I have learnt and some of the quick and easy things that I have made. I needed an easy, peasy, right back to the beginning' crochet lesson when I started and I gathered it from lots of different sources.

It's very satisfying making things for other people and I'm just about to post this creation off to Skipton.

It's for a project called Yarndale -  you can find out more HERE
I knew about Yarndale last year but didn't feel competent or confident enough to send through any crochet. I'm guessing (hoping) they're not after total perfection, so I'm contributing my little piece this time.

Right, things to do, places to go before school pick up,

Happy Tuesday,

11 Comments and thoughts:

  1. You've come a long way in a year Beth! Your blanket is gorgeous, I love the soft colours its so pretty!
    I too learnt reading Attic 24,sitting hunched over the computer peering at the screen with my crochet hook and yarn following the instructions!
    You have made some lovely things, and I agree it is such a great hobby to encourage people into taking up. Your mandala looks great! I still have to make one if I'm not too late.
    Great post!
    Gill xx

    1. Thank you Gill. It took a while, but I love it now.

  2. Beth, how satisfying to have taught yourself a new skill. You made me laugh, because a few weeks ago I attempted to teach my 2 sisters and 2 of their friends to make granny squares. It was soo hard. I am not an expert on crochet by any means, and they were getting so exasperated, because they were too tense and couldn't hold the hook in a relaxed way. I will
    pass on your tip of Attic 24, and hope that helps! Your blanket is lovely, I love the edging. Keep up the good work! Have a great weeekend, love Linda x

    1. Thank you Linda. I can't believe all those years in a cold climate and I eventually learn to crochet in sub tropical heat!

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  4. Your granny blanket / throw is gorgeous and I love the pastel colour combination. My mother- in- law made a brightly coloured one for us and I recently asked her to do another in neutrals - creams and beige which has turned out really well. I just wouldn't know where to start, so well done! Thank you for your comment - pleased to hear that you are a Lake District fan too!

  5. I'm a recently taught hooker too and know exactly how you felt - frustrated and impatient. It was Lucy's Attic24 blog that inspired me to learn to crochet, as I had previously thought of crochet as something hideous from the 70s! I love her bright colours & her blog is such a treat to read. I'm working on my 3rd blanket now (only making small baby ones at the mo), and have yet to attempt a granny square, as can only seem to crochet in rows!! Granny squares and flowers are next on my list to try...

    1. Lucy has some great little flower patterns and tutorials on her blog. I've made heaps of the May roses - they are probably the best ones to start with. Good luck with the granny squares.

  6. Wow blog hopped and found you and wow again as I too have made a mandala for Lucy.. I have actually booked some B&B in Skipton for Yarndale!! I love to crochet as well as other crafts and I love Australia, we have been twice, both times to the east coast areas of Victoria and NSW and Adelaide as I have a friend there.
    I shall be back to see what else you do.. love the colours of your blanket, such lovely muted colours.
    Happy hooking!

    1. Hi Chris, lovely to hear from you. I'm rather envious that you are going to Skipton...it's such a gorgeous little town and I still miss it.
      Looking forward to reading up and looking at the photos of Yarndale.

  7. PS... I live in Essex UK but am from Porthcawl, was born there and lived there till I was 26, then moved here.
    Chris x