Monday, September 8, 2008

New Thing #241--Single or Double?

My friend JD is the editor of the crochet page at the Craftgossip Blog Network. She was one of my first supporters when I started this project, and promised to give me a crochet lesson. We never seemed to find a mutually convenient time to get together; when I reminded her last week I was still waiting she suggested that we do it right away. Today I learned how to crochet.

We met at a nearby coffee shop. JD brought yarn, a hook, and an instruction book for me and her own hook and skein of yarn to demonstrate. I've always admired her ability to work on a project and chat at the same time. She makes crocheting look easy, so I was looking forward to getting started.

However, not everything went smoothly. The first problem was that I am left-handed and JD is right-handed. I recalled my one (and only!) knitting lesson with my mom when I was a teenager. We had the same hand dominance issue, and I could never learn how to knit. After we figured out that sitting across from her made everything a mirror image (which worked for me), JD started with the concepts of properly holding the yarn and the basic chain stitch. Although my chains weren't exactly all the same size, I soon got the hang of the concept and was ready to move on to single crochet.

JD showed me the stitch; I understood the concept, but I had trouble doing it. When I wrapped the yarn around the hook (yarn over in technical terms), I either wound it too much or not enough, and I'd often get the hook caught up on loops when I pulled the yarn through them. After several ripped-out stitches, JD took my sample and quickly got me back on the right track. Although I was ready to give up, she kept saying I was doing great.

After I got to the end of the row I was deemed ready for double crochet. This involves extra yarn overs and pulling the hook through different combinations of two loops at a time. Again, my fingers didn't do what my brain was telling them to do. When I finally finished a stitch, it was either too tight or too loose compared to its neighbors. Again, JD was kind enough to say that everyone had those problems when they started.

The last thing JD demonstrated was the half double stitch--yet another combination of yarn overs and pullthroughs. After I muddled through a couple of these, our time was up. JD let me take the hook and yarn home, and invited me to a meeting of her crochet club. I think, though, that I'll need LOTS of practice before I'm ready to crochet in public!


  1. my mom loves to crochet, but i cannot get the hang of it.

  2. keep with it! i learned to knit a few months ago and i had trouble, too. but, now, i absolutely love it!

  3. I really want to learn how to knit, but I don't know anyone who knows how...

  4. JD is right, everyone has tension problems when they start. My first project was an afghan, and the top foot is much, much looser than the rest. The rest is very consistent. It just takes practice.

  5. Thanks for all the kind comments. I actually practiced crocheting last night. I think I'm getting pretty good at single crochet...next time I'll work on double.

  6. With crocheting, once it clicks, you won't forget it. And, once it clicks and you can make an entire row of the same stitch, try making a square (call it a baby blanket) or a scarf. I guarantee that by the time you've done 50 rows (or more!), you will absolutely, positively, never forget how. Its very portable too.

    I need to work on knitting again. I tried to teach myself from a book 2 or 3 years ago, and had some limited success (after much frustration...it's just similar enough to crocheting to really mess me up). But then baby #2 came along, and I haven't had either quiet time or free hands since :) Hopefully I can figure it out again.