Learning How to Crochet

I like to think of myself as a proficient knitter:

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but crochet seemed like a strange form of witchcraft in comparison. I tried to learn with a friend last year and it felt like I was just waving a stick around in the air, occasionally catching some wool and expecting it to magically form something that resembled crochet. It was fun though!

I recently started knitting small animals for charity and writing stories about them (check out this blog) but was getting incredibly frustrated with the amazing and cute crochet patterns available and the distinct lack of knitting equivalents. So I decided last week to learn how to crochet properly.

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Lou the Lion on his animal adventure

Another friend told me about some really easy crochet videos by a guy called Mikey on the Crochet Crowd YouTube channel. I’d looked at videos before but got nowhere but this was a whole series of videos with slow and clear instructions. He even tells you when to pause the video! So I started practising the basic stitches: single crochet, double crochet and triple crochet.

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The one thing I will say is the way he tells you to do a slip knot is unecessarily difficult, in my opinion. But I knew that from knitting anyway.

I spent a few days learning and practising these. My venture into crochet last year helped a lot because I already knew how to hold the hook and how to yarn over. But I got to the point where I was bored of doing stitches and wanted to do something that was recognisable as crochet and not just a series of random knots. So Mikey helpfully taught me how to make a Granny Square.

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I was pretty proud of my achievement, but a friend said they’re supposed to be different colours. Well, Mikey didn’t tell me how to change colours, so I didn’t. And Mikey is the Crochet Master! So I went on YouTube and found a different channel by a British lady.

This is where I got confused. She was saying the word single crochet but she was not single crocheting. Had Mikey been lying to me the whole time?! Then I remembered that American and British crocheting are different, although Mikey is Canadian I think, judging by the way he says ‘about’. I switched video and found a different British lady who does ‘the American way’ and managed a colour changing granny square:

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I felt like I was cheating on Mikey a bit though, he’d got me further than anyone else so far through his idiot proof lessons, so I went back to his channel and picked up the next lesson which was circles:

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I’m absolutely appalling at maths so I was grateful for Mikey and his helpful rhymes telling me how to do it. However, this is where my knitting knowledge came in handy- I might not have been able to immediately do what Mikey was telling me but I was able to work out what I should be doing, which is half the battle.

The next thing I wanted to learn was how to make a flower. Mikey’s channel taught me a simple flower and the British lady taught me how to make a rose.

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I felt like I was getting the hang of it by now, so realised that I should probably stop relying on Mikey and work out how to read a pattern. Thankfully Mikey also had a video for that too! I also decided to buy some crochet hooks, because I only owned 1 before.

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I needed an animal for someone to take to Italy for me and gecko was one of the suggestions. So I found a pattern online pretty quickly, so much easier than trawling through the knitting ones! I had issues working out what a magic ring was. Correction, I knew what I was supposed to do – you wrap the yarn in such a way that you don’t have a hole in the centre of your work – but Mikey’s video was overly complicated, so I found a different one. Working this out took the longest but once I’d got that, the rest of the pattern was pretty easy to decipher by using what I already knew or by using YouTube videos. Again, knitting knowledge came in handy.

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I’m pretty impressed with myself because my first attempts at crochet last year were terrible. Getting the right YouTube videos was definitely the main reason for my success- I’m quite good at copying someone but not very good at verbal instructions. The Crochet Crowd videos with Mikey were good because he repeated the exact same phrase over and over and didn’t talk unnecessarily while he was doing it, which helped when trying to repeat the stitches in a different context. Truth be told, I still don’t have a clue what the differences between all of the stitches are, but it doesn’t take long to go back to the videos and work out which ‘rhyme’ I’m supposed to be using. I’m looking forward to the different patterns I can now explore! Thanks Mikey 🙂

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