On Saturday I faced my fear and spent three hours in the presence of crochet hooks…
Determined to master the art of crochet and with no one I knew of to sit by my side and talk me through this mysterious craft, I booked myself onto a course with the Bristol School of Sewing and Textiles. Housed in the old City of Bristol College, the sewing school is just one of the many activities you can now take part in, in this urban, reclaimed community space.
My fellow hookers were a nice mix of young and old, some who had some crochet experience but wanted to be reminded of the basics and others, like me, who were confident knitters but crochet had alluded us. With the kettle on constant boil and a selection of chocolate biscuits on standby, we were ready to begin.
Out teacher Laura was brilliant. She was able to whizz through the basics – casting on with a chain, single crochet and double crochet – with us all very quickly and was on hand to help out – so much better than trying to learn from You Tube or books (as most of us had been doing previously). Laura was able to walk around the group as we worked, pointing out mistakes, praising good work and generally being able to help us understand what the stitches are supposed to look like. I found this bit particularly useful. On my previous attempts to teach myself crochet, I was never quite sure what a double crochet even looked like, so didn’t know if I’d got something right or wrong.
Once the basics were out of the way and we were all fairly confident we launched into a granny square – which should look something like this;
But mine actually looked like this…And this was after unravelling it two or three times to start again;
Very wonky, holes where their shouldn’t be holes…rubbish. So I didn’t end my session with a beautiful square (or two as we supposed to!!) but I did leave with the following top tips;
- Work loose – tight chains are a crochet hookers nightmare
- Cheap acrylic wool works better for beginners than fancy schmancy merino wool…too many fibres to get stuck in those pesky hooks
- Counting counts. Learning crochet isn’t something to be done with one eye on the TV, particularly if you’re trying to make a granny square. Unlike knitting where a missed stitch or decrease/increase isn’t the end of the world, in crochet it matters! I really struggled to concentrate in the group situation and kept loosing my place in the pattern
I also left with the basic knowledge of how to read a crochet pattern. All the 2dc’s and DC2tog now make sense. With my new sense of optimism I went home and dug out this beautiful book http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cute-Easy-Crochet-Nicki-Trench/dp/1907563067/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1353331861&sr=1-1 and decided to have a go at the bunting, labelled as perfect for beginners. And do you know what? I did it!! Here’s my version of the first flag and a close up;
My mission now is to keep practicing (in between knitting baby blankets, stitching Christmas decorations and generally getting ready for my favourite time of year!) to make sure the stitches become second nature. Maybe then I’ll be able to attempt another granny square or a beautiful ripple blanket like this;