Monday, 16 April 2012

Crochet for Beginners...

On Saturday, my friend Rachel and I went on a Learn to Crochet course run by the Leeds based wool shop Baa Ram Ewe. We were told to meet at the shop at ten. Rachel and I arrived early, so went off for a coffee, and then of course we were late and had to run to catch up with the rest of the group. The course was held above a nearby Italian restaurant and the day began with (more) coffee and and our essentials for the day - wool, hook and instructions.


There were ten of us altogether, some total beginners who had never picked up a crochet hook before (like me) and others who had some limited experience but wanted to refresh their skills. All women, ranging in age from twenty to sixty. We were shown the basics such as how to hold the hook and yarn, and the different stitches. I found it all incredibly hard to begin with, and it didn't really click with me until it was time to go home. I can knit, although I wouldn't call myself a knitter, but I didn't anticipate how much the way I hold knitting needles and wool would affect how I crocheted. My stitches were at first impossibly tight, then I overcompensated my making them much too loose, but I eventually found a way of crocheting that seemed to work. 

We ordered a delicious lunch from the restaurant below...


and afterwards continued, learning how to read a crochet pattern with the aim that by the end of the afternoon we would be able to make our own granny square.

How to increase and decrease was covered, but I don't remember any of it. It was an awful lot of information to take in at one time, and I was exhausted when four o'clock came at it was time to leave. We walked back to Baa Ram Ewe for a browse and a bit of shopping. 

If I'm not very careful, I think that yarn shopping may become a dangerously expensive past time for me. I was like a child in a sweet shop, wandering dazed from one display to the next. My main thoughts were "Gosh, yarn is very expensive!!" and "I want everything." Since the course was a birthday present from John, I was able to make some purchases, but I need to think very carefully about what I want to make so that I get the most from the beautiful yarn I chose.


And here is my first granny square. Wonky, with dodgy tension and lots of mistakes, but finished all the same.


Now I need to practice lots more granny squares on cheap wool, before I decide what to do with this lot:


41 comments:

  1. Ah well done on your crochet workshop. Your Granny Square is looking very good for your first attempt - believe me, you should of seen mine!! :-) I love the colours you've chosen for your yarn. I'm sure you'll have lots of fun with whatever project you take on. xx

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    1. I am loving it already! It's very addictive. xx

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  2. It was so much fun wasn't it - thank you so much for organising me. You yarn choices are beautiful - I so wish I was capable of subtley and co-ordination but I'm just not!

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    1. You are! Anyway, we need to get together for more crocheting - I can't really remember how to add in a new colour and think I am doing it all wrong...also, how to i tie in yarn ends? Must've zoned out for that bit!

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  3. Well done, your granny square is lovely! I used to be able to crochet but that was about 15 years ago and I can't remember a thing. I would love to do a refresher course but they don't seem to exist in Cape Town. Really looking forward to seeing what you make with your beautiful yarn. x

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    1. That's a shame, I bet once someone started you off it would all come flooding back. I haven't knitted for about five years - I'm hoping I can remember how to! x

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  4. Your granny square is beautiful! And the colours of the new yarn are divine. I love baby cashmerino for my knitting (am still only a wannabe crocheter). Those yarn shop photos set my heart racing!

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    1. My heart was racing when we were in there! It's so nicely laid out, so much choice!

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  5. Hello fellow crochet-er :) Lovely granny square. One reason I love crocheting is because when little hands undo it, it isn't so hard to go back and rectify. I haven't a clue with knitting. Looks like you had fun and what a handy location just above a restaurant. xx

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    1. Ooh, am I in a crochet club now? I don't think I can call myself a crochet-er yet! You are so right about the undoing thing - when I used to knitt I was always terrified I would drop a stitch because I had NO idea how to sort it out. xx

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  6. You will ace it, i have no worries you will be crocheting that lovely collection soon. I am hopeless with tension in knitting and crocheting! Glad you had such fun. The shop looks lovely xxxx

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    1. We need to go there! Next time you're in the Northern Wastelends... xx

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  7. oh wow Gillian! That granny square looks great... I tried to learn from a youtube tutorial before but just couldn't follow!!

    My crochet know-all friend Lou promised to teach me (this weekend infact) when our craft circle meets for Sunday lunch! Here's hoping mine turns out half as fab as your first attempt! Lovely to hear you had such fun in a beautiful shop! X

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    1. A craft circle!! That sounds perfect. I think I may have to refer to you tube for increasing and decreasing tips. You tube taught me to chain stitch and knead bread, it's a good free resource! xx

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  8. That granny looks great - love the colours you chose, can't wait to see what you do with them. x

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    1. Thanks Colette - I am paralysed by indecision! I'll just keep playing with the cheap wool until I decide. x

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  9. what fun! and it seems that you covered quite a lot for a first lesson.
    yes, yarn shopping is easily addictive. i curbed the habit by using cheapo yarn for fun crocheting, and choosing decent yarn for specific projects.

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    1. That's a good idea, I think that's what I will have to do. I could also look into buying yarn online if it's cheaper, but I want to support my local wool shop. Hmmm. x

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  10. Welcome to the addiction that is crochet. it might not have hooked you yet, but it will...Your first square looks fantastic, mine was really wonky!

    I use an acrylic DK made by Stylecraft a lot - it feels great and doesn't split so is great to use. You can get it from an online shop Masons (http://www.masonsneedlecraft.co.uk)who are great and get the yarn to you VERY quickly. It is £1.50 for 100g so it is hard to go wrong. Also have you checked out the blog Attic 24? I might be repeating myself here. She is an inspiration! I have followed her patterns which are beautifully clear.

    Good luck! x

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    1. Am a bit thick - have just seen your link to Attic 24 on your sidebar. Doh!

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    2. I've just done another square and it looks "right" so that is encouraging. I could do triple stitches all night, it's so soothing!

      Good tip for the online yarn supplier, thanks, I will have a look. (I love Attic 24, it's fab). xx

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  11. Hi Gillian,
    What a fantastic start you have made.
    I love your colourful photo's.
    Keep us posted on your progress!
    Essie x

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    1. Hi Essie, thanks, it is so much fun! I just made my second sqaure. If I carry on at this rate I may have a cushion done by Christmas! x

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  12. Glad you had fun dipping a toe into the hooky waters! Yes, yarn addiction can be an expensive habit to feed unless kept in check but all those coloured balls and skeins of wool are just so tempting! The Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino is fab to crochet with - I really like it - and I love the colours you've chosen. For what it is worth from someone who only learned to crochet 15 months ago, my advice is: don't be intimidated by the complicated, just take your time and enjoy! If you can produce a Granny Square like that straight off, you will be hooking happily along in no time. Baa Ram Ewe looks wonderful! Possibly just as well it is not round the corner form me or it would be a constant temptation! E x

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    1. I can't believe you only learned to crochet 15 months ago! That gives me so much hope. Your crochet work is beautiful. Thanks for the tips - I am struggling to get my head around the jargon at the moment. x

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  13. Nice to find your blog. Lovely colours to start off your crochet - hope you enjoy your new hobby. Annie

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    1. Hello there, thanks for stopping by. I am loving it so far - I just need more time to crochet! Too many crafty hobbies! Gillian x

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  14. Glad you had such fun. I'm sure you'll get the hang of it really soon. You've definitely got perseverence, going by your other crafting projects (I'm thinking kitchen blind and patchwork quilt!).
    Craft circle - what a great idea. I can just see you setting one up xx

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    1. Ha ha, yes, they weren't the happiest of crafting projects, were they? I am a finisher - I can't rest until a project is complete, even if I'm not enjoying it! Strange. xxx

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  15. Oh Gillian how exciting. I managed a chain stitch by following a youtube tutorial but that was the extent of my progress :(

    I am ashamed to admit I don't know the difference between yarn and wool but I love your colour choices!!! (oops should I admit to that publically!)

    I am going to my crochet workshop on Saturday - if I make as much progress as you i will be very pleased :) xx

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    1. I asked about the difference on Saturday - I think yarn is the generic term for anything you crochet with, wool refers to the exact type of yarn you use (acrylic/cashmere/merino etc)...I think!

      I hope you enjoy your workshop of Saturday, I look forward to hearing about it! x

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  16. Gillian, you did great. Your granny square looks good. Now you've come over to the hooky side you won't be able to stop, ha ha. It is a good idea to practice using cheaper wool as it can get expensive. I like the colours you've chosen in the Debbie Bliss. :)

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    1. Donna, you are so right, I have come over to the hooky side. I can't get enough of my crochet book, crochet blogs, doing the odd grannhy square here and there... x

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  17. What a brilliant 1st granny square....well done!
    I am a newbie to crochet, it took me FOREVER to 'get it'
    What a fab looking yarn shop, no wonder you had trouble choosing!
    keep up the good work
    love jooles x

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    1. I think I was the last one in the group to "get it", but so far I am loving it! x

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  18. Oh just look at all that yarn! Your crochet looks amazing!

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    1. Thanks - it's early days but so much fun. There was almost too much yarn to choose from - I just went for the prettiest display!

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  19. Been looking forward to hearing about your crochet workshop ... wish I could have come with you ... would love to practice my technique. Having made some granny squares with my cheaper wool I then got inspired by Attic 24's wonderful ripple blanket and I'm about half way through. Her tutorial was really clear and helpful. I am using Debbie Bliss baby cashmero - I think its lovely to crochet with ... costs a fortune but I've been buying a ball here and a ball there. My colours are on my blog. Have lots of fun!

    Maggie x

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    1. Thanks Maggie. I am still saving the good stuff until i think of a good use, but having lots of fun making acrylic granny squares (not sure what for though...) x

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  20. Welcome to the wonderful world of Happy Hookers! Your granny square looks great. I couldn't tell from it that you have never done it before. I have loads of free patterns on my site especially for beginners, so please go along and help yourself. Helen

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    1. Hi Helen! Thanks, so far I am really enjoying it, although still getting the hang of things like tension. Thanks for the tip, I will pop over to your site. x

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