The Great Crochet Adventure

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The last time I tried to crochet, it did not go well. My mother tried to teach me how to make a granny square, but we quickly realized a right hander teaching a left hander is beyond tricky. On top of that, I had no real basis of understanding how crochet works, so a granny square was probably way beyond my skill level.

I was going to let crochet go until I decided to launch a major project at work. In response to students wanting to learn how to knit (several come to see me for help) and craft in general, I am organizing an after school program that teaches students crafting skills. In addition, our little collective is going to have a community service component. Some of what we make will go to charitable organizations. We’re going to make and donate everything from chemo caps to kennel blankets!

In the midst of organizing everything, I found out a lot of kids want to learn how to crochet. Yikes! It’s kind of hard to teach them how to crochet when I don’t have a clue. So, last week I set upon teaching myself some basic skills – things like how to hold the hook, the yarn, and some basic stitches.

Due to a weekend of no internet, I ended up teaching myself using an ancient Reader’s Digest book, The Complete Guide to Needlework. The pictures weren’t the best, but it was enough to get me started. Seeing as the last time my left-handedness was a major obstacle, I decided to try learning right-handed. After several hours of epic failure – my right hand was fighting me the whole way – I finally managed to make a little 4×4″ swatch using a single crochet stitch.

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Hooray!! The little victories are the best, aren’t they?

Emboldened by my tiny success, I decided to make a set of coasters as a means to practice the single crochet stitch and to find my groove in holding the hook and the work yarn. Like knitting, there is a method and rhythm to manipulating both the hook and yarn.

Just like the first go around, there was plenty of failure, (and hand cramping – my right hand does not like all this work!), but the repetitive nature of the project paid off. I ended up with a cute set of coasters and the “groove” is falling into place. My fingers are naturally finding their grip on the hook and I’m finally able to regulate tension on the yarn without overthinking it.

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Not bad for a few hours of self-instruction. Sometimes you just have to jump in and do it! Even if failure is a given. I’m not a genius at crochet, but I’ve at least got enough to be able to teach students the basics. As I learn, so will they. If anything we can laugh at our mistakes and cheer our victories together.

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c.b.w. 2016

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11 thoughts on “The Great Crochet Adventure

  1. I’m determined to learn how to knit this winter. My grandmother tried to teach me years ago, but we ran into the same issue of a right-handed person trying to teach a left-handed person. I admire you for learning to crochet “backward”! Do you think I should try knitting right-handed instead?

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    • I learned knitting right-handed. Most patterns and how-to guides are written for right handers, so in many ways its just easier try training your right hand! Casting on was one of the last things my grandma taught before she passed away. I hope you are able to dive in and start knitting this winter – it really is a wonderful craft and I’m sure your grandmother would be very proud!

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  2. Those are great! I can’t wait to see what you and the kids create. What a great idea for an after school program!

    Ironically, my right handed mother learned to crochet from a left handed great-aunt, which means that she and I do it a little weird. We make the stitches with my right hand, but move across the stitches the left handed way. πŸ™‚

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    • We had our first meeting today and it was fantastic! They all really want to learn how to knit and crochet. We’re going to start learning on Thursday. Another program at school needs coasters and placemats for an upcoming events, so I figured that would be a perfect project for learning a new skill.

      There is no wrong way to crochet! πŸ™‚

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  3. I tried my hand at knitting when I was a child – My mom was a very good knitter. I tried knitting a scarf but somehow I wound up with something closer to a tie as it thinned out along its length πŸ˜‰ I guess I should have stuck to wrapping wires!

    Many years ago we had a Budgie that used to fly down onto the back of my mom’s arm while she was knitting and fight with the knitting needle – that was so much fun to watch πŸ™‚

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