I learned to crochet in 2008. How do I remember such a small detail in the midst of so much water washing along under the bridge of life? The first thing I made was a blanket for my best friend and I was working on it election night when President Obama was voted into office. Won’t forget the year as long as I live.
The previous month, I had invited my friend from college Jen over to teach me how to crochet. Both my grandmother’s crocheted and I had fond memories of the blankets they had made over the years. I was inspired to learn after our artsy church hung a string of granny square blankets from the ceiling and over the arms of the cross. Every Sunday for about 2 months I sat in the pews and felt the cozy warmth of my grandmothers’ blankets fill my insides and the urge to learn to crochet filled me. My paternal grandmother died when I was 10 and my maternal grandmother died when I was in my late 20s, before the urge to crochet had kicked in.
Jen was so gracious to come over and teach me what her grandmother had taught her. She showed me all the basic stitches, how to wrap the yarn around my fingers, how to hold the hook and we practiced with granny squares. She imparted that little bit of knowledge and between books and the internet, I just kept teaching myself more. In the last couple of years I’ve experimented with making my own patterns (see crocheted school bus) or adapting patterns into something else (like converting a scarf into a hat).
A year or two into my crocheting adventure, my mom gave me my grandmother’s collection of crochet hooks from large tunisian hooks down to tiny metal hooks for working with thread. What a gift, what a legacy!
Speaking of Gifts – Check out Bernat’s Crochet Month Sale (20% off select yarn with code CROCHET13)
I don’t crochet many things for myself, but last month I did. I crocheted the bellflower infinity scarf and then used the pattern to make myself a slouchy hat. What do you think?
I often say that the internet taught me to crochet and sew. My mom and my friends have been helpful too, but without the easy access to patterns, inspiration, and new skills at the tip of my mouse, I’m not sure I’d be nearly as engaged or skillful. At the same time, I’ve relied on a lot of books to stretch my skills and interests. Even in this digital age, I can’t really let go of the tactile feeling of a book in their hands.
Here are a list of crochet books I’ve enjoyed working with over the years:
Stitch ‘N Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker
Amigurumi World: Seriously Cute Crochet
200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws, and Afghans: Crochet Squares to Mix and Match
Crochet Master Class: Lessons and Projects from Today’s Top Crocheters
200 Crochet Tips, Techniques & Trade Secrets: An Indispensible Resource of Technical Know-How and Troubleshooting Tips
There are so many books out there, and thankfully they all provide some tutorial on how to crochet, because when I was a beginner, I made a lot of mistakes! But us seasoned veterans can learn new skills all the time. Last year I made it my goal to learn tunisian crochet. I tried using illustrations in books and magazines like Interweave Crochet, but nothing helped me more than Youtube! Still, I had to retire the tunisian hooks pretty quickly, it was too stressful on my hands. Alas.
I love crochet, and I hope you do too! If not, I hope you pick up some hooks, yarn, and a book, and start having a blast! Here are some suggestions:
Susan Bates Silvalume Crochet Hook Set in Pouch Sizes F, G, H, I, J, K
Lion Brand Yarn
A to Z of Crochet: The Ultimate Guide for the Beginner to Advanced Crocheter
Teach Yourself VISUALLY Crochet (Teach Yourself VISUALLY Consumer)
Now get out there and celebrate Crochet Month! What are you going to make?