A slight change to my normal paper crafting posting today. I have had so much great feedback on Instagram and Facebook about my crochet journey that I thought it was time to share it with you, my lovely blog reader!
This is a bit of a how to and how not to……. and is the sum of my crochet journey so far. There are lots of pictures too. So my Mum has tried a few times to teach me crochet and it just never stuck, she’s a great teacher it’s just it wasn’t the right thing for me at the time.
I’ve attended a couple of classes, one where I learnt how to crochet a granny square and one where I realised I knew nothing at all……… but I was in love with crochet and talking to several friends they recommended I check out this blog, Attic 24 by Lucy.
Lucy makes lovely things, and I was intrigued by her Crochet A Long she does each January. So in for a penny in for a pound I decided to make a blanket for my first crochet project. Are you laughing yet???? Because how crazy is that, I can’t really crochet but I’m going to make a blanket!
I knew I needed to practise so I did what I always do when I want to learn something, check out Youtube and read books! Now you know why I love making Youtube videos so much, it’s a great way to share and learn. In the first few days this is what I learnt.
- Practising crochet with an 8mm hook is to be highly recommended, you can see the stitches.
- Dark colours are hard to crochet as a beginner, it’s really tricky to see the stitches, putting a piece of white paper under your work really helps, or use a pale colour wool.
- Taking your varifocals off really helps 😂 especially my Varofocals which are designed for my paper crafting which I do at arms length not crochet which is much closer!
- You NEVER can have too many hooks 😂 I’ve been to the shop twice
- Crocheting in half hour stints means your hands get a rest and you can actually make lunch, walk the dog and do other household jobs!
I was so pleased to have made this Triple Crochet test piece using the 8mm hook. Apart from one gaping hole it’s not bad!
As I said Youtube is awesome and I found Sarah-Jayne at Bella Coco, she has the most amazing beginner videos for both left and right handed crocheters. I popped them on my TV and kept pausing so I could see exactly what I needed to do!
I was feeling very pleased with myself, I had the wool I needed, the Dahlia colours just weren’t for me so I went for a range of blues ( no surprise there………) and some free time hurrah! So it was time to get started. I downloaded everything from Lucy’s website and worked out my colours, and checked I could do the stitches too.
As Lucy suggested I worked my tension square, at this point I realised whilst I could crochet and do all the right stitches I had a bit of a problem with my tension…….. My 5mm piece and my 4mm piece were the same size….. I had just received this book recommended by a friend and it really helped, it was £4 on Amazon , so well worth checking it out. Really clear pictures and it shows exactly where to put your hook, and several ways of winding the wool around your fingers for the tension.
I was beginning to despair, I couldn’t get the tension right and unfortunately I learnt the term ” To Frog” or “Frogging”. Apparently that’s what you do when the crochet isn’t right you pull on the stitches and it unravels……. The good news is unlike knitting crochet unravels really easily and quickly.
So more reading, more Youtube and lots of ‘helpful’ comments……. just keep practising, it will be alright…….argh!
So I pulled myself together and decided just to get on with it!
I used the 4mm hook because eventually my tension would be okay and that was the right size for what I needed. I also decided to make a Lap blanket rather than a single bed sized blanket, it was 1/3rd smaller to give myself a bit of leeway and I could then stick with just blue wool as it would take 10 balls not 15! Below are my first 6 rows. Each stripe of colour is 2 rows.
I found I needed some VERY important things, stitch counters and a darning needle.
I had heard reference of darn those ends in…….! I can see why you need to do it as you go, with over 120 rows that’s a lot of ends to darn in if you leave it till the end. And then I realised why I need stitch counters….. can you see my wonky ends? At some point 7 stitches were lost, I’m not entirely sure how! I have added them back in and tweaked the pattern so it’s coming back, those rows will stay wonky. The border will be affected at the end I’m sure but I’m not stopping! No more frogging! I put the stitch counters in every 25 stitches and check several times during the row. I hate having to undo the work. But it’s growing, it looks more like a scarf than a blanket, but I’m getting there!
So as far as the Blanket crochet along goes, I need to do 22 rows a week, and I’m on row 14 at the beginning of week 2. So I’m a little behind, but I am speeding up because I’ve finally sorted out the tension thing! My tension was just too loose, so I kept looking till I found some information of how to increase the tension. I wrapped the wool around another finger and took my ring off! Simple and effective, the wool now flows easy and the stitches look more even and tighter. Of course it may well make the blanket even more wonky but I am happy with that! Here’s how I’m holding the wool now.
Finally, I have learnt that you need to keep checking the pattern. Always make sure you are crossing off the rows you have done. I think that’s how I lost the stitches I repeated the wrong rows.
I hope you enjoyed my beginners crochet guide, do check out those links. Leave me a comment if you would like to know more, or you have some patterns or websites to check out!
I’ll be back on Wednesday with some more paper craft inspiration.
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