Friday, 20 March 2015

Getting to grips with Crochet

Crochet continues to enjoy a renaissance, increasing hugely in popularity over recent years. This may be related to cultural trends and experiences such as a period of austerity, the slow movement ethos, and a growing interest for many people in seeking a more simple life.

As well as being a great craft in its own right, crochet works beautifully with other textile crafts such as sewing and knitting in particular. If you are a knitter, crochet adds another string to your knitterly bow and enabling you to make effective edges and embellishments with relative ease.

The real challenge though with crochet is that as a beginner you need to get to grips with the hardest part first. Learning the basics of how to hold your hook, working a foundation chain, and making simple stitches in rows can be quite effort full , and feel a bit like you are wrestling an octopus! This can be a little off putting and frustrating to start with as we are mostly used to learning things the other way around, in that when learning something new we generally start with easier tasks, building up to the more challenging elements.

This can seem a little disappointing when you decide to learn crochet, and many of us imagine we'll be whipping up projects immediately, when in fact your only reward for a day's work at that stage is likely to be a few wizened looking scaps - if you manage more than that on your first attempt then I take my hat off to you! The hard truth is that, as for most crafts, you cannot expect to achieve fantastic results immediately - there are no shortcuts and you simply have to put the time in. The trick is to take your time and enjoy the journey rather than being too fixed on having a finished product on day 1.

I recently taught a Crochet from Scratch workshop at Swansea. I always enjoy workshop days - a whole day of woolly goodness, sharing your passion with a group of fellow yarnoholics - what's not to like?

Setting up at the start of the day

Here is the group of lovely participants who beavered away all day getting to grips with their first crochet stitches - and as you can see they were still smiling at the end of it.

The good news with crochet though, is once you've got to grips with those couple of building blocks, and that really doesn't take an age, it becomes easier and easier to learn more advanced skills and it really is just a tiny step more to start making some really beautiful projects. Honest. It really is the case.

April's Workshop at Swansea will be Next Steps with Crochet which helps you achieve just that, reinforcing those basic building blocks and walking you through a few new skills. Next Steps in Crochet is aimed at those who already know how to make chains, and can remember how to work doubles and trebles (even if a little rusty). This workshop moves you from the basics to making twirls and working in the round to form squares and motifs. You’ll be able to have a go at crocheting with beads, and you’ll be able to go home with your own unique flower corsage.

If you've already learned,or are in the process of learning to crochet, I'd love to hear how you got on with this - What did you find particularly difficult or easy? What did you find helpful when you were learning? Do leave a comment below, it'll make my day.

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