I can’t remember how long ago it was that my Grandma taught me to knit and my mum taught me to crochet. The former must have been 30 odd years ago, and the latter probably 25 years. And apart from the odd attempt to knit a scarf with scraps of wool from my mum, and persuading her to buy me some wool and a jumper pattern which I never finished, until last year I hadn’t picked up needles for either.
Of course with Pinterest I’d found lots of things I wanted to crochet, and when my mum was ill last year, she decided she wanted some wool to do some crochet and keep her mind and hands occupied when she couldn’t do much else. But by that stage one hand wasn’t strong enough to do what she wanted, and her brain was too fuzzy (she had secondary cancer of the brain) so the wool sat by her chair and latter bedside. Then once she was in the hospice and I was sitting with her I decided to do some crochet and use the wool I’d bought for her to pass the time when she slept.
I started several items, blankets, a hat, a headband and scarf, but only the headband and scarf were a success. The hat needed more care over stitch count (hence why I’m much better crocheting in the round), so was a disaster, and 2 blankets were started and not finished. My crochet habit wasn’t helped by the start of the warmer weather, so I then didn’t crochet until one of Dedri’s emails pinged in my inbox reminding people of a new Crochet-along (CAL) project starting in January. One of the blankets I started last year was a CAL and I wish I’d finished it because it was looking great, but I decided to take up the challenge for this one.
With a CAL, the pattern to make the piece is released each week, along with detailed photos and instructions, and everyone does those rows each week (in theory). I joined the Facebook group (the majority of the crocheters really are talented addicts, making stunning pieces of crochet), and have got into the excitement of the CAL.
While there’s some real pros in the group, there’s also some beginners, even less experienced than me. But there’s such a buzz and everyone’s really supportive when people need help with following the pattern, stitches and even colour choices of wool (sorry, yarn, for the US and Canada). So far I’ve only shared my progress on instagram, and I think mine looks really ‘woolly’ and fluffy compared with others. It’s obviously down to the wool choice. I’ve never found it so hard to make a decision and order the right wool for anything because before I’ve always just bought cheapo DK from pound shops or the like. But with the amount I’ve spent on wool for this project, I want to make a well crocheted blanket that will last and be used.
I’m a little behind with my crocheting. The first week released part 1 and 2 together, and I’d had to order my wool online, so that caused some delay. I only manage to crochet before bed and in the early mornings as well as finding time to read – damn all these challenges I’m trying to do). I’m now caught up though, and on part 3 this week. Hopefully by Sunday when the next section’s instructions are released, then I’ll be ready to start with all the others who’re waiting in anticipation for the release.
Here’s my piece so far – the design’s been named Sophie’s Universe (after a Sophie’s Garden pattern people have recently been following). I’m amazed at how people can design these, work out the stitches that work, and then write up the patterns accurately. It must take hours. I thought it looked really complex and that I might struggle, but so far so good. Ok, some bits might be not quite in the right stitch, but it’s looking fine, and noone’s going to notice when they see the overall blanket.
So if you’re looking to start up a new hobby, I’d definitely recommend looking at crochet. People often say they don’t get it, but once you’ve started a basic chain and single crochet, all the stitches fall out of those. Easy. With Youtube and lots of written online tutorials, it makes it even easier to learn. I wrote about my top crochet resources before, but if you’re really stuck, then it’s worth asking someone to show you and get you started. Then the world’s your oyster.
Are there any crafts that you’ve taken up after a long break? Do you crochet?