Monday, December 31, 2007

How I learned to Crochet

So how do I learn a new skill? I did learn fine art skills in college; drawing, painting, sculpture and printmaking. Which is a good base for the crafts I create. Now I learn a lot of new skills the following way so I thought you might find my method interesting, and probably familiar.

First, some background. I have been knitting since my mom showed me how when I was a child. She also showed me how to crochet. And I remember, vividly, starting to crochet a scarf in rainbow acrylic yarn but never finishing it. I think I still own almost everything I ever had and would not be surprised to someday find that unfinished scarf in a box in my parents' house.

But knitting took and I made many simple afghans; knitting a whole ball of Red Heart acrylic yarn then starting a new one in another color, repeat until I created a blanket. It was repetitive and soothing and when you were done you had something practical, I loved it.

I had tried following patterns but if I put the project down for any length of time, I forgot where I was and gave up in frustration.

I love knitting in the winter, very cozy. And in the past year have gotten more ambitious about learning new stitches. I learned to knit hats on 4 needles, I learned basket weave, seed stitch and knit two together yarn over. I still don't follow patterns, and I'm not very sophisticated about yarns. I mostly make scarves, hats and throws.

I bought a complete set of crochet hooks at an estate sale this past May with the intention to revisit crochet. I have seen a lot of sweet crocheted items on Etsy recently and it's really sparked my interest.

My learning method is this:

1) I have someone who knows how to do the thing I want to learn describe it to me so I have an overview to start with, this helps me form the questions I want to answer.

2) I go to the bookstore and read many books and magazines on how to perform the skill. I read them all because they all have slightly different ways of saying something and they all have different pictures. (This also helps me decide if the skill is really something I want to pursue).

3) Now that I have broadband I have been able to watch tutorial videos on YouTube though this is new for me.

4) I buy the book that makes the most sense to my way of learning.

5) I try it myself, but there is always something I don't get.

6) I read more books, including ones written for children if available :)

7) I have someone skilled show me how (thanks BrickMillStudio!)

8) I try again.

By this time I should understand enough to finish some items. This encourages me to hone the skill and learn more variations.

Things I learned this way (more or less, I can't always get access to and/or don't always need every step): photo silk screening at home, polymer clay caning, knitting a hat on 4 needles, wet felting, and now crocheting.

Next, I am in the middle of my learning curve in Gocco, a little more advanced in sewing and at the beginning of resin.


  1. How delightful! I love the things you make. This blog posting is charming.
    Love, Mom

  2. Wonderful post.

    Nice, even stitches. I am left handed, and can't figure out crochet beyond a trim stitch for my knitting...

  3. Great post, sounds a lot like my process too. I am a crocheter who recently learned to knit. I wish you luck!

  4. I recently learned to crochet, too. It's so much fun. I posted an ad on Craigslist, looking for someone to teach me, and met this awesome girl who gave me lessons for free. I also found Debbie Stoller's Happy Hooker very helpful.

    good luck!

  5. I also have some crochet experience :) I've always wanted to learn silk creening, and caning. And I'm definitely on my beginner curve for wet felting :)