Crafts in Iso – Crochet (Michaela)

PART 1: Learning

As mentioned in the introduction to our ‘Crafts in Iso‘ posts, I am very much the non-crafty one in my office and my home! So when I decided to learn crochet, I thought I would probably do a couple of video lessons then quit. On the first day, I realised I hadn’t even bought yarn so that is testament to how craft-minded I am.

I used the Bluprint Startup Library – Crochet video tutorials which were available for free during March and April. The first two episodes covered tools and material, and yarn. It was a bit boring so I skipped through some of it and found some old yarn in my kids’ craft cupboard.  

The Chain Stitch – Time to get crafty! 

I started ok but something went wrong at around stitch 10. I found that crochet is very easy to pull apart when I made mistakes (which happened often). I swapped from knife grip to pencil grip and it seemed to be easier but I found it tricky to hold the different parts of the yarn with one hand (two fingers per section), and felt like I needed an extra hand or two. 

My first attempts looked nothing like the video and the stitches were all wonky. I found it very difficult to keep the yarn tight and also remember how many stitches I’d done. I became a bit frustrated and took breaks. But the presenter did reassure me that my first attempt won’t look like hers, so I perservered and practiced the chain for a bit.

I tried again another day and found it hard to hold the yarn so it stayed tight. My second attempt was worse than my first! Attempt 3 was much more even but still seemed loose. 

Single Crochet Stitch – which is sometimes called Double Crochet, depending where you are?!

I had to constantly pause the videos as the presenter was so much faster than me. My dodgy home internet meant I was watching them on my phone so it was a bit tricky but I eventually managed to get the hang of it. The first attempt, I couldn’t tell which side was the back and which was the front, and then I could barely get the hook into the stitches. I realised that my yarn was much thinner than the one in the video (yeh, probably shouldn’t have skipped that part of episode 2…) so I purchased another ball a couple of weeks later and started again. The next attempts looked a bit better but I ended up with less stitches than expected and twisted section but after a couple of days practicing, I had something that looked ok for a beginner.

I did learn that ripping out your work is called frogging “ripit ripit”. I did a lot of frogging!

Half Double Crochet Stitch

This next stitch seemed complicated but was only one extra step and I learnt it fairly quickly. I checked the book that came with the kit and the stitch descriptions are the same which is helpful when I can’t remember which stitch is which (say that ten times fast). I had graduated to Nana Status and started practicing crochet in front of the TV most evenings. My stitches were still quite uneven due to my inability to keep the same tension on the yarn. I began to get impatient with practicing and looked at a basic pattern to see if I could try making something… I didn’t understand it all so I went back to my tutorials. 

Triple Crochet Stitch – The last ‘foundation stitch’

PROBLEM. The Bluprint free lesson period was over! So I headed to good old YouTube and found this three minute lesson on the triple crochet stitch. It was fairly easy after learning the previous two stitches but it was disappointing that I was unable to complete the original lessons (probably shouldn’t have taken that two week break). I made note of the topics it would be covering and tried to find similar free videos online – understanding patterns, working in rounds, then projects (headband, cowl, bulky hat, and cluster scarf using cluster stitch).

After practicing the triple stitch, I decided to learn Working in rounds as this seems important for making most projects. I found it quite fiddly and unnatural so I practiced this technique for a couple of days. Re-using my yarn started to become a problem as it was getting frayed and catching on the hook. I learnt my first working in rounds technique from this video which results in a tube shape, but this term is also used to describe making a flat, circular shape. Practicing this was also good practice of single and double crochet – and I made arm bands for my kids!

Next step was learning to Crochet in the round in a circular style using this video. These circles are the basis for many projects such as beanies, and my last step in learning the basics of crochet. Head to my next post and find out what happened next!