I taught a beginner crochet class this morning, as part of a local group's 'Art for Contentment' program. Isn't that a beautiful notion, art for contentment, and it was lovely to be involved.
When I was preparing for The Craft Sessions last year, and breaking down my instructions, I was reminded of when I was first teaching myself to crochet. The mistakes I made, how unaware I was about which yarn you use for what, hook sizes and tension, it was all so foreign to me. I remember attempting to make a winter scarf, soon realising that 4ply cotton was not quite right for that project. I remember following the instructions so closely and not understanding why my foundation chain was twisted, why the bottom of my work was arched or why one side was growing out while the other side was perfectly straight. I also remember when I figured out the answers after many, many attempts, and over a very long period of time.
Now, when I'm teaching others, I completely understand their frustrations and all those feelings and memories come flooding back, their mistakes and learnings are exactly the same as mine!
For anyone who is starting out, picking up a pattern and attempting to make something straight up can be very daunting, and often disheartening. Without having any particular garment or item in mind, you really just need to firstly learn the basic stitches and repeat over and over and over. This way you will understand the stitches better, you'll figure out which hand does what, you'll build momentum and get a feel for how tension works.
I took the pieces pictured above along to my class this morning to show what the same two stitches are capable of. These are all made using different sized yarns and different sized hooks but all the same basic crochet stitches.
Essentially, if you know how to double crochet and treble crochet you will be able to create anything! These are the foundations and they can be used to create the most basic or most complex pieces your heart desires.
For me, as you know, I just like the simplicity of the basic stitches so this is what I keep coming back to. Its all a matter of personal taste, thats what makes it great. The more you practice, the more you will 'feel' what you are doing and find what your style is.
I've had some requests for the details of that lovely summer shrug on top of the pile there, so I'll share those with you soon.
Happy crafting x