Tried and Tested

Tried and tested – Crochet, part 1

Difficulty: Moderate

Fun Factor: LOADS OF FUN in a repetitive, relaxing, and addictive way.

Annoyance Factor: Not too bad, small things like yarn detaching itself from the hook, sewing in the loose thread, and misreading instructions are the main nuisances

Equipment and expense: Equipment can be kept minimal as can expense, but costs can escalate when it becomes clear how much lovely wool there is out there…

I have come to quite love crochet in the months I have been doing it, it is true.  I first tried my hand at it a year or so ago after seeing a ‘teach yourself crochet with our very cheap first issue!’ type publication advertised on TV, and deciding in that instant that I MUST LEARN TO CROCHET.  The power of advertising is not to be underestimated.  Prior to that defining moment however, I’m not sure I really, truly knew what crochet was.  I think I knew you did it with a hook and therefore it wasn’t the same as knitting, but if I had been handed, say, a crocheted scarf, I’m not too sure my mind would have realised the scarf wasn’t knitted.  At some point leading up to seeing this wonderful advert however, I had spotted a crochet throw made of granny squares at a friends house, and although my brain never verbally acknowledged this, it must have really LOVED that throw because there on the advert were granny squares, and there I knew what I must do.  Track down publication, learn how to granny square, make throw, live the dream.

A granny square. A few hundred of these later and you could have enough for a cosy blanket!

Of course, there is always a voice of reason to bring you back down to earth with a thud.  “I could never get the hang of crochet, it’s quite difficult” said my Mum, the seasoned knitter, in response to my enthusiasm about my discovery of the existence of crochet.  Hmmm, well I could never get the hang of knitting, I thought.  No matter though, I was sure that I wanted to crochet myself a nice blankety throw thing enough that any doubts I had about my abilities would soon be overcome.  And so, my kind parents posted me some ‘yarn’ (crochet 101; it’s called yarn, not wool, because sometimes it’s made of other stuff like acrylic.  All the same, I still like calling it wool), a hook, and a retro guide on how to crochet (not the one on the advert sadly).

With my guide in hand, I learned how to make a chain easily enough, and naively presumed that that was crochet.  I was wrong.  On the next page, the guide outlined how to do actual stitches.  They all looked a bit… unlikely somehow.  All the winding around, and pulling through loops.  I had a go at a ‘single’ crochet stitch, ‘single’ being the name of the stitch, not just a lone stitch (which is actually called a ‘double’ stitch in the part of the world where I’m from, presumably because the Crochet Guild decided the craft wasn’t confusing enough as it was).  The stitch looked like a bundle of yarny mess, and convinced was I that this was all wrong.  Still, in a rare show of persistence from me, I kept on doing these stitches, until I ended up with something that looked like it could actually be something,  if it wasn’t all horribly mis-shapen.

And here it is, the first ever bit of crocheting I did

It doesn’t look quite as bad close up…

Maybe it was the quick flick through the guide that put me off proceeding with crochet, seeing that things got much trickier than what I had just failed to master.  And so, according to type, I didn’t bother with it again for some time.

The story does have a happy ending though.  I had resigned myself to the fact that as with most crafts, this was another one I would probably never get the hang of, and as nice as a crocheted throw would look all colourfully draped over the manky sofa in my house, it ultimately didn’t matter too much in the grand scheme of things.  One day however, I  was perusing the indoor market back in my home town with a friend when we happened upon a little stall with lots of cute little crocheted brooches and what-not for sale.  My friend and I cooed and admired to the talented girl who ran the stall, and expressed our mutual regret that neither of us had ever successfully managed to learn crochet ourselves.  “”Oh, I run crochet classes”, said the stall holder.  My friend and I pricked up our ears.  “I show people how to make a granny square as it seems to be the one thing that people understand how to do on a first lesson…”

It became clear to both myself and my friend what we must do, and so we returned for our lesson in crocheting for a small exchange of money.  And there, we both learned how to make the hallowed granny square.  And amazingly, it actually stuck in my head how to do it.  They lovely girl who taught us was right, in a mere two hours she had shown us that there was logic to what had hitherto looked like a pile of nonsense.  And when I got home, I still remembered how to do it!  And then I started another square, and got a little carried away…

The second granny square I made turned into a big blanket. Dream achieved!

And so, that is the rather long story about how I learned to crochet.  I think I’ll write a second part to this (it would be an idea since this is titled ‘part 1’) as there is quite a lot to crochet, and I haven’t even mentioned the joys of trying to read a crochet pattern…

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