The “C” word

You know what I’m talking about.  No, not that!  It’s CROCHET!

Lately I’ve been obsessed with interested in learning crochet.  I mean really learning it.  I know how to chain and do basic stitches but I’m not satisfied with making simple dishcloths forever.  I want to learn how to read patterns!  I want to learn how to read charts!  I want to make afghans!  Pillows!  Granny squares!

I’ve spent hours ogling crafters’ crochet projects on Ravelry and flickr and checked out a stack of books from the library in the hopes that I, too, can be a “crocheter” (is that a word?).  How can you not want to learn everything there is to know about this craft when you see things like this?!

Those thumbnails do not do the photos justice.  So please click on the gallery above not only to see the photos up close but also to browse the photostreams of these talented women.  A word of warning: you may lose several hours of your life.  But believe me, they would be hours well spent.

Do you crochet?  If so, how did you learn?  I picked up knitting rather quickly and could easily teach myself new techniques by just opening a book.  But crochet seems to be a different beast.  I can’t seem to get past that very early beginner stage.  I’m confined to simple squares of straight basic stitches.  Are there “must-have” books that clearly explain the mystery of crochet?  Would I benefit more by waiting on a crochet class at my local yarn shop?  What about YouTube?  I’ve tried searching for crochet videos but there are so many and a lot of them aren’t really any good.  Is there a specific YouTube channel I should look for?  I’m open to suggestions and advice.

In the meantime, I’ve been knitting Orangina exclusively and trying to finish it up. It’s going slower than I’d like, but I guess that’s to be expected of any garment knit on size 3 needles.

I plan to get plenty of knitting done during this holiday weekend.  I hope you do, too!

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10 thoughts on “The “C” word

  1. A friend taught me to crochet years ago before I learned to knit. I never did anything real complicated, just increasing and decreasing (I think? I don’t remember now). Anyway, have you seen the Knitting Answer Book? I know they make a crochet version. I have found the knitting one indispensable, so I bet the crochet book would be good, too.

  2. Ha ha, I just looked at the gallery and realized that I have made snowflake ornaments crocheting! Just a year and a half ago! So of course I’ve done more complicated stuff than rows. Sheesh, have a kid and your brain goes all to pieces.

  3. I learned to crochet when I was 10 or 12, but didn’t really pick it up until I was 16. It was summer, I had a car and a license, and I wanted to make a blanket. I came home with about 20 skeins of Red Heart and a book of afghans (all crocheted with two strands of yarn to go super fast). It’s against all my instincts as a knitter, but I recommend practicing on Red Heart, maybe even make a blanket with it. It doesn’t really split and can take repeated ripping and is pretty forgiving. Cotton’s probably the worst thing to start with since it splits all the time and doesn’t have much give. Maybe try a ripple blanket pattern – you’ll learn at least three stitches and learn to read your crochet. And when you get to the end of the row and you’re not sure if you’re actually there? Crochet one more stitch into the side. I’ve made many a triangle by thinking I was done with a row one stitch too soon.

    Have fun!

  4. I taught myself to crochet, and now I teach others. I highly recommend learning from a person– at a yarn shop or maybe a library–as it’s nice to have someone to ask questions as you go. A book with good illustrations will help you learn, too–and once someone has shown you, it’ll be easier to figure things out from the illustrations. Good luck!

  5. The best way is to learn is from a patient person. I like the Vanna White books for afghan ideas. There are all different levels and she has some nice designs. You’ll find that your knitting experience will help you get the tension right which is a problem for some beginners. I find it easier to put down and pick up than knitting. Once you conquer granny squares there will be no stopping you.

  6. Pingback: Show and Tell « Freckles & Purls

  7. I too knit and am trying to master crochet. It’s been difficult! I’ve learned the basic stitches but can’t seem to make a project that doesn’t come out crooked or just plain messed up looking. I’ve watched DVD’s and read books. I’m thinking the best thing to do is to take a class at a local yarn shop. Maybe then something I crochet will actually look like what it’s supposed to be!

  8. I’m about two years late with this reply, but I am also a self-taught crocheter and knitter (well, my mom taught me both, then I forgot, took up knitting with the stitch and bitch book again, thought I sucked at it, forgot about it again, and then re- taught myself via youtube and the interwebs: first crochet, then knitting)…

    I had lots of help from the patterns of Attic24 (a blog, I always forget the address), and then I just looked up stitches on the internet, as I did for knitting from knittinghelp.com.

    I found out that for knitting as for crochet: the more complicated, the better! It keeps my brain from dozing off and messign things up! I am in LOVE with japanese crochet diagrams, your entrelac scarf, and RedScot’s socks (Ravelry).

    I think every knitter should also crochet, and vice versa, it makes you much more versatile and creative I find…

  9. Hi Allison, was drawn to your site by that picture of that beautiful Entrelac Scarf. This is going to be my next project this October. By the way, you mention the “C” word. I have been crocheting for many years, but I still look for a new twist on old ways. On YouTube there are three people that I check out when I’m looking to pick up a new stitch from time to time, you may have encountered them. 1. Mikeyssmail, 2. tjw1963, 3. Bethintx1, if not give them a try. I’m like you I went through a lot of videos to find the right ones. The three that I have mention , are very good at showing and explaining each step needed to achieve a completed swatch of a particular stitch. Happy Crocheting,

  10. It has been TWO years since you wrote this post, but I thought I would share the online source I used to learn to crochet:

    http://www.nexstitch.com/Tutorials.html

    These short videos explicitly use terminology that help you learn to read pattern abbreviations and are worked at a slow enough space that you can work WITH the video and not have to stop and find your place over and over like on youtube.

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