Sunday, December 6, 2009

Et tu, Crochet?

Somewhere along the lines of 5 years ago I decided to teach myself to crochet.  Borrowed a book and a video from the library, bought some yarn and hooks and set to work.  

Learning the basic stitches wasn't too bad at all, but when I moved on to my first project, I ended up with a curly-edged, wobbly, over-sized hot mat instead of the hat I was trying for.  And that was with a pattern.

Not knowing how to fix my mess, I quickly caved to frustration and put it all away.

A couple of years later I pulled it all out to try again, but this time never moved beyond reviewing the basic stitches and making a few chains.

Now I am starting to feel the itch again, but I am also turning an eye towards knitting.  I sure would like to master one of these arts some day, but don't know where to start or which to choose.

What about you?  Do you knit?  Crochet?  Both?  How did you learn?  What do you make?  Do tell!


*Mirage* said...

I crochet and LOVE it. I've tried to learn to knit for so long and just can't seem to master it. :( I tried to teach myself from a book, which didn't work, so I took lessons from a neighbor when I was 11, and that explained the basics but I have just never been able to make my hands become proficient at it no matter how much I try. It would be nice to knit too but really if I had to pick just one to be good at it would be crochet so I'm really glad that I crochet. :)

When I was 8 years old we were visiting my paternal grandma in the nursing home and she was crocheting while visiting. I was pestering her. I wanted to know how she was doing that. So I bugged and pestered and finally she gave me a hook and a little ball of scrap yarn and told me to stop bugging her. I spent hours and hours figuring out how to chain. Then I crocheted that whole ball of yarn into a chain. Mom told me, "I think you need to learn how to go back and forth now!" but she didn't know how so I made it up. I unravelled the chain and started over and wound up actually slip stitching back and forth because it was the only way I could think of to go back and forth. My OTHER grandma, my mom's mom, I think showed me how to single crochet. Later she taught me double crochet and how to do rounds. By the time I was a teenager, I knew how to both knit and crochet, but I could only crochet well. I gave up on knitting for a few years and just enjoyed crochet, taking 4-H where I learned the rest of the stitches.
When I got married I tried knitting again. I've been married 7 1/2 years now and once or twice a year I break out the knitting needles and knit up a dishrag but that's as far as I can go. I am so bad at knitting. I could crochet more than a dozen dishcloths in the time it takes me to knit just one, so I'm pretty loyal to crochet. ;)

To be totally honest with you, I've only once heard of someone who learned crochet or knitting from a book fully understanding and learning to love it. It's just really frustrating to try to learn it from a book. If you can find someone to SHOW you how the easy way to hold your hook and yarn is, or look over your work and see what mistakes you are making that are making it harder for yourself, that would help tremendously! Crochet is a beautiful art that makes it easy to do things that have alot of dimensions. Crochet lace is gorgeous. Crochet baby booties are a trillion times cuter than knit ones. There are alot of reasons why I love crochet.

Let me see if I can find it; I used to know where there are some online crochet lessons in video form. MUCH more helpful than seeing it illustrated flat and still on a page of a book. ;) If I can find them I'll come back and post the link.

*Mirage* said...

I have returned victorious! Lol!

Okay, first of all the curling edges and pretzeling of your finished product will get better each time. It's a matter of tension (how loose/tight you hold the yarn) which improves with practice. Making sure you're holding the yarn and hook properly are the basis for improving your tension, so first watch THIS:
video only up to about 2 minutes 30 seconds just to see how she is holding the hook and yarn. The hook should be held like a pencil and the yarn wound through the fingers like the girl in the video shows. Now, how she does the single crochet is kind of funky and *technically "incorrect", plus the video is not ver clear, so I reccommend stopping it at about 2 and a half minutes and then going HERE:
for all your further video lesson needs. Their videos are so clear and easy to understand. The only thing I noticed was that they didn't show how to hold the yarn/hook which is so important to tension so that's why I linked the fuzzy first video too.

*As for where I said the fuzzy vid girl does the SC incorrectly... I believe that crochet is art and that after you learn how to do it by the book, the beauty of it is in changing it up to suit you, so it's only "incorrect" until you know how to do it correctly and thereafter it's just artistic interpretation IMO. ;)

Amy said...

Wow! How exciting - thank you!! Now if I can only find my hooks... lol!

Shanna said...

I am so impressed by Mirage's thorough answer to your question! I don't have nearly as much to offer, but I did have the same experience with crochet vs. knitting. I LOVE crocheting, but I just can't seem to get my hands to cooperate when trying to knit. I also had an aunt who showed me the two basic crochet stitches...chain and single crochet...when I was little. But I learned the rest from books and from just practice. I have noticed that some patterns are not as easy to read as others so if you're having trouble, you may want to try a different pattern. Dishcloths are easy to work up and I love our crocheted dishcloths...they're really great for scrubbing! It would make a good first project. A simple baby blanket is always fun to work on when you're expecting as well. Try this link:

Now I'm off to check out Mirage's links!