Saturday, 17 October 2009

How I learnt to crochet

I've always been a knitter. And not a very competent one at that. But it was something that my nana taught me when I was 8, and my mum was always there to remind me how to cast on or cast off or fix rows of lost stitches. I love to knit long thick scarves that wrap and wrap and wrap around my neck like a dear friend hugging me but still trail near my feet, tickling my toes. I can only knit in a straight line and I can't follow a pattern, but I am happy within my limitations.

Crochet was always something that seemed like too much maths for a simple girl like me. And to be honest, garish acrylic granny square blankets really turn me off. Colour means a lot to me and the haphazard, clashing mix of bright colours and black edging seems like such a thoughtless waste to me. Waste of wool, waste of aesthetic potential. It's disrespectful. That's not to say that all bright colours clash, just that the "use up all your wool leftovers" granny square philosphophy just doesn't sit well with my inner colour palette tuning. I like to carefully select my colour palette. Savour it. Sip it slowly, let it warm my whole body like a good hot chocolate. I just didn't see any crochet that warmed me like a good hot chocolate.

But over the last few years a revolution has slowly been building inside me. I've been inspired by various crafty women all over the world thanks to the internet, and finally, just last weekend, I jumped on the crochet bandwagon and mastered a few stitches. I even learnt how to make my very own granny square. This does not mean my love for colour has been compromised, dear reader. I have my principles. But I now know that the potential in a granny square is much more than the sum of it's colours.

This post is kind of like a thank you, I guess. To all you lovely women, who whether you know it or not, gave me the encouragement and inspiration I needed to push myself and learn a new skill.

Here's my very first crochet project. It's a giant granny square that I want to turn into a cushion cover. Who knew that crocheting is so relaxing? When I pick up that hook I just want to keep crocheting, in bigger and bigger concentric layers and never stop. Like Forrest Gump when he started running. Look at me go!

What's next? I want to cover a chair in crochet. And then I'm going to master amigurumi and give everyone I know cute little crocheted animals. Will I learn in time for Christmas? We'll see!

Would you like to learn to crochet? Here's a list of lovely people who can help you or at the very least inspire you. They sure inspired me!

* Pip from MEET ME AT MIKES is a lovely Melbourne lass who loves to crochet, amongst other fun crafty things. She wrote a great post on How to make a Granny Square too.

*New York store Purl has a blog called THE PURL BEE and it's an amazingly inspirational site, not just for crochet but knitting and sewing too. I LOVE their colour coordination, everything they feature is so pleasing to my eye.

*I fell in love with ANA PAULA'S AMIGURUMI PATTERNS and even bought some off her Etsy site. I am yet to master them, but it will be done!

*Jessica Polka of WONDERKAMMER makes amazing crocheted objects and lovely collections of curiously crocheted things. I love her ocean animals.

*Australian SARAH LONDON makes inspirational crocheted items and I love her blankets. She'll even teach you how to make things week by week over the internet. She's amazing!

*Youtube contains a wealth of information about crocheting. You can learn different ways to hold the yarn, different stitches, different patterns. Very useful if you're stuck at home with no-one to show you!

*If you live in Sydney, I can highly recommend the class I took at Morris and Sons, a craft store on York St in the city. The class was only 4 hours long but I felt so confident about making a granny square when I left that is was well worth the $40 it cost. Classes for 2009 have finished but will start up again in Feb 2010.

*Have you asked your mum? Mum's are wonderful in many ways, and you never know, yours might be a whizz at crochet. Mine is!

So if you haven't learnt to crochet, I highly recommend trying it. It's not only relaxing but it feels so good to use something you made yourself or give a handmade gift. And you never know, you might make some wonderful new friends in the process. I have and they're lovely kindred spirits.

And if you do crochet, you've found a new friend. Thanks for sharing!

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