Monday, May 16, 2011

Why I Fell in Love with Crochet

I used to hate all crocheted items. All of them. My grandmother knitted and crocheted throughout my childhood until she passed away at age 88. Her house and her body were always displaying new finished projects. I loved her knitting, which led to becoming a knitter myself, but I did not like her crocheting. There was just something about it... In high school, part of Home Ec. class included handwork skills and they taught us to crochet a classic granny square. I hated with a passion the way it looked and that square never went home with me.

Fast forward 30-odd years (to perhaps 2009?) to a Martha Stewart Living program that airs a small segment on amigurumi. She shows us a couple of pieces that are cute and I’m mildly intrigued, but I do not check into it further. Fast forward to July 2010. I’m surfing the ‘net and I spot this super cute little critter. It was like an emoticon come to life! I was in urgent need of finding out how that adorable critter was created. It was obviously handmade, but how? I followed links and there it was—the dreaded word “crochet” loomed before my eyes. I was shocked speechless. I thought there must be some mistake, so I read the words again—“crochet pattern.” I decided at that very moment that if something that cute could be made in crochet, I just had to join that club!

I became instantly hooked on crochet because I had a burning need to learn how to create those tiny bundles of amigurumi cuteness. When I realized there were free patterns available on the Internet, it was like Christmas and my birthday rolled into one! I began to discover the nooks and crannies where free patterns could be found, and I found more than I could ever have imagined! I found an unbelievably wide variety of adorable, beautiful, fascinating, simple, complex, amazing, functional, and ornamental projects. I was astounded that there were so many crocheted items I actually liked the looks of—I had no idea!! I’ve been bookmarking sites, collecting patterns, learning techniques, and planning and working on projects ever since.

From the Internet’s plethora of videos tutorials, I learned to make a magic circle which has become the way I now start every project. From fellow crocheters, I learned tips and tricks and I revel in their helpfulness and friendship. From that moment last July, I’ve learned that every spare moment must be spent finding patterns, picking out the next project, frogging sweaters, or working on another gem. I also had a flash of recall and feverishly dug through my closet to unearth the ancient crochet book my mother had passed down to me years ago. I had used her knitting books since I was a kid, but I figured I’d never use that crochet book. Now I’m so glad I kept it! From it, so far, I learned the single, double, half-double, and treble stitches. I also discovered it was the source of my beloved loopy “bunny” (actually a dog) my mom made for me when I was very young.

To date, I’ve crocheted (in order) a candy kiss, a s’more, a thick wavy-edged hotpad, a bunny, two bogies, a teddy bear, and some swatches. Not much to show for the past 10 months but, then again, I’m a tremendously busy woman who doesn’t have much spare time. Over that time, I’ve ripped out and restarted far more things than I have finished. Truth be told, some were ripped out and restarted 40 or 50 times before I either got it right or gave up and moved on. But I am learning. I realized, even with the limited crocheting experience I have, I now know how to read any type of crochet pattern, why a certain step in a pattern doesn’t work, the value of using stitch markers, how to regulate my stitch tension, and what a particular sequence of stitches will look like. I’m actually learning something brand new and that, in itself, is a wonderful thing. There is so much more to learn and I’m sooo excited!

I still don’t like the look of a classic granny square, and that may never change. That’s just me. But there are so many other types of gorgeous squares, and such a wide variety of patterns and projects out there, it doesn’t even matter. I’m hooked on crochet and that’s here to stay!

-Wendy Trish


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