Thursday, 12 June 2014

Want to get started with Crochet?

Crochet seems to be enjoying a real renaissance at the moment and granny squares seem to be everywhere. With so many gorgeous yarns to choose from these days too, crochet is shaking off its fuddy duddy image with some stylish contemporary designs, and there are many advantages to crochet.

It's quick, portable and you can plan as you go: Crochet grows quickly and you can make a small project in an evening. Unlike knitting you don't necessarily have to have your project mapped out in detail to start - as you only work on one stitch at a time you have more freedom to move around with your crochet, adding bits and hopping across to join onto other bits as needed. It's also highly portable - just yarn and a hook, plus you don't have to worry about dropped stitches.

It complements knitting beautifully: If you are a knitter, crochet is great for adding decorative finishes to knitted items, and crocheting on an edging can feel so much easier than picking up and knitting a load of stitches along hems and edges.

It's great for colour and using up stash: Using colour in glorious combinations is relatively easy with crochet, and you can make beautiful items made up from the smallest of yarn left-overs you may have in your stash.

I receive many requests for people wanting to learn crochet, and my beginners workshops are usually oversubscribed. Of course face to face workshops are always best for learning practical skills, but where this is not possible for whatever reason, then I think other resources such as books, blogs and video can be very helpful. It also helps to find a friend or local group of knitters/crocheters too for ongoing support and sharing of ideas.

There are plenty of books out there and I'm sure you can find something suitable at your local book shop or on Amazon . However, I appreciate not everyone finds it easy to learn a practical skill from a flat written page, so you may find video is more helpful. Designer Joanne Scrace of Not So Granny has a great blog here and she also has a few beginners videos to help you get started. You can also search YouTube, but bear in mind US terminology differs from UK. You will need to know how to hold your hook & yarn and make a chain, and how to do double crochet and treble crochet stitches (or single & double crochet stitches if you are from the US).

I'm thinking of making a few videos on this myself to make it easier for you folks. Before I do though I'd love to know if you have looked at any crochet (or other craft) 'how to videos' on Youtube etc, and what you think to them? Have they helped you to learn? If not, why do you think that was? What was missing?

If you have managed to get to grips with the basics and working in rows (well done you!), it can be a challenge to know how to move your skills on so you can start working in the round to make interesting shapes, motives and the good old Granny Square. Again a workshop can help here, and as it happens I have just a couple of places left on my Next Steps with Crochet workshop at Swansea on 21 June 2014 :-) Click here to find out more.

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