Friday, 5 June 2015

I'll call it a win! #crochetconfession

Do you remember that I went to an "Instagrannies" meet-up a little while ago? One of the attendees was Sarah Shrimpton whose lovely blog "Annaboos House" has been on my list of favourites for some time. Sarah writes about her cute crochet creations and takes great photos - if you haven't seen the blog or her instagram feed, they are well worth a click. 

Sarah has just published her first book The Beginner's Guide to Crochet which, as the title suggests, is aimed at novice crocheters. As part of the book launch, Sarah has been asking some bloggers she knows to write about their early crochet experiences and tagged me in her blog hop (details here). She asked for 'Beginner Win' or 'Beginner Fail' stories, but mine is really a bit of both... 
Back in May 2011, when I'd just gotten to grips with knitting basics I really wanted to learn to crochet....but I wasn't sure where to start. This desire coincided with the first issue of Mollie Makes magazine hitting the shelves and there was a 'crochet apple jacket' pattern in it. I quickly set to work... but I just couldn't figure out what to do. I was looking up tutorials for the stitches but some of them used UK terminology and some had US terms - the words were the same,  but they referred to different stitches which completely confused me. With this mental block, I simply couldn't translate what was written into anything resembling an apple cosy and at the time I blogged that it looked about the right size to fit a walnut - it had gone horribly wrong - a definite Beginner Fail (with capitals)!

Luckily a friend invited me to a knit and natter where two fortuitous things happened - first I got to meet the multi-craftual and all-round fab person that is Lee McKellan ('anotherlee') and secondly, Lee sat down with me for an hour and taught me to crochet. With her guidance I was able to figure out what the instructions meant as well as the fundamentals (such as which bit to crochet into, how to count the stitches, and things which now seem very obvious but had seemed confusing at first).  That night I finished my first crochet item...
... and then I made another. After that I started making all sorts of little crochet items including jar covers, coasters, some cushions and even children's clothes, but always found it easier to work with charts or to alter patterns so I didn't have to decipher written instructions.

That was four years ago and if you've been following the blog in the last few weeks you may have seen that I have recently re-discovered my enthusiasm for crochet during the Makealong - although my mental block hasn't completely gone. My second shawl is very nearly finished and I have some crochet clothing patterns (for me) in my queue. As it happens, I still prefer charts!

So that's my crochet story, and I think I'll call it a win, although it took a bit of help to get there. If you'd like to get your hands on a collection of simple patterns to build your crochet confidence, Sarah's book 'The Beginner's Guide to Crochet' is available as a print book, or eBook from Sarah's page on Stitch Craft Create right now, and to continue the blog hop I'm nominating the knit and crochet expert Jacqui Harding from Happymaking Designs as I'd love to hear about her early experiences.

If you'd care to share yours too, please submit a comment (below) - I'd love to know how you first started crocheting. 


  1. Oh the confusion when I first started and didn't know about the UK/US terminology differences with crochet. It's not even straightforward - different stitches have the SAME name! I still trip up sometimes when I'm teaching friends if I've been using a lot of American patterns! Once I got my head around that torturous detail, though - I got totally addicted. :)

  2. I was learning to crochet at about the same time as you. I really would have appreciated some one-to-one tuition. Instead, I went to a big class which was didn't help. So I read lots of books and watched videos until it all started to make sense. I think that was a Eureka moment!

    1. I don't think I'd have got it without one-to-one, to be honest! *blush*

  3. Great blog hop post! I giggled at the title - my blog hop post had a similar vibe, a fail-turned-success, so glad I'm not the only one! I teach crochet now, and a good chunk of my teaching stresses patience and focuses on all those teensy places where it is so easy to go wrong - just like you wrote! I do stress to everyone that my tips were learned the hard way, which makes me a better teacher! �� Chrissie x

    1. I just read your post and loved it! I completely agree that it's right! :D

  4. My grandmother taught me when I was about 8....I made her a HUGE red, white and blue granny square afghan...and then I didn't crochet again until I was an adult...I picked it back up about 14 years ago to make something for a friend expecting a I make tons of things, mostly accessories and fact just looked up patterns for a hamster...and I can't do brain doesn't process them well, so it's written instructions for me..

  5. I learnt to crochet for your CFTC Make Along! Just finished after much frogging & redoing but now have a real sense of achievement!

  6. Thanks so much for joining in! It can be pretty difficult when you start out, can't it?! And it's funny, I prefer charts to written patterns.. I use a completely different shorthand when I write patterns and find it a bit overwhelming to decipher someone else's instructions at times!
    Love your apple cosy...might have to find my copy of the magazine to make some cute teacher thank-you gifts..
    Have a great week,
    Sarah xxx


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