September 26, 2020 @ 10:14 AM
During this dumpster fire that’s 2020, it's wonderful to have stress relievers you can always count on. For me, it's exercise and crafting.
The yarn crafting community is a breath of fresh air!
When I’m in a bad headspace, I whip out my hook or needles. About a half hour later, I’m good--all zen- again. Seriously magic! :)
Thought I’d share how I got into it and convince someone to give it a try. Be sure to read the articles linked below.
I started crocheting in third grade. A childhood friend taught me. We used to make purses. Little crocheted squares, folded with a flap and stitched together on the sides.
My pal's stitches always looked better than mine, no matter how much I practiced and followed her moves. Then I discovered I struggled to make neat stitches because I was a lefty, learning this skill using my nondominant hand. DUH! My buddy was right-handed.
But I’m so glad I learned to crochet right-handed.
I crochet as a righty to this day. Many lefties who are visual learners need special instructional videos. Some YouTubers don’t do tutorials for lefties.
I picked up knitting much later, as an adult. I was in Michaels shopping for yarn and this sweet white-haired lady came over to chat. (Waving at my dear friend Louise, in her 80s now. Still kicking and knitting!) She taught classes there. I told her I was a hooker. (Couldn’t resist this worn-out crocheters' joke.) She invited me to a couple of classes to give knitting a chance. Glad I did. I’m stronger at crochet, but proud of the progress I’ve made with knitting.
I’d say I’m an intermediate crocheter, but an “adventurous novice" knitter. If you’ve seen the work of advanced knitters and crocheters on social media, you’d know why my self-labeling fits.
This year, I’ve even tried a little lace knitting (nothing super intricate), but when I finally understood the concept, I was good to go on some squares with simple repeats. I also did a pair of socks (that I actually like). The first time I tried to knit socks...huge fail. Full of ladders and something went wrong with the yarn overs. One sock was big enough for Big Foot. So ugly I didn’t pick up a sock pattern again until recently. The second attempt is pictured below. (Used 9-inch circular needles for this pair. No problems with ladders! Love me some 9-inch circs!) I’m also improving my simple cables. (In hat pic above, the two on top are crocheted beanies using rib stitches. The two at the bottom with braided cables are knits.)
On the crochet front, I discovered mosaic last year. (Photo top right is my first mosaic crochet blanket.) Though I tend to prefer working with neutral colors (see circular crochet blanket), mosaic has pushed me out of my comfort zone to play with more bright hues. The red and white one (left) is my second mosaic blanket.
If you’re looking for a new hobby to get you through the madness, I hope I've inspired you to try yarn crafting. I’ve included a link to a story in The Atlantic.
Edit Sept 30, 2020: About four days after posting this, I learned Michelle Obama picked up knitting during quarantine. How cool! Here's a link to the story.
Wanna give yarn crafting a try, but don't know where to start? YouTube can be overwhelming. Here are my knitting/crochet video recommendations if you’ve *never* picked up a hook or needles:
BonnieBayCrochet - Click on her playlists tab for the group titled Beginning Crochet Videos.
Jonna Martinez - How to Crochet for Absolute Beginners
Forever Crochet Bliss – All videos are newbie friendly.
The Crochet Crowd: Crochet 101 How to Crochet for the Beginner
B. Hooked Knit and Crochet – How to Knit the Garter Stitch. (It includes a link to casting on.) Step 1 casting on and Step 2. Garter Stitch
Creative Grandma - How to Crochet a Slip Knot, How to Crochet a Chain, How to Single Crochet
We Are Knitters – The Learn to Knit Series-Basic Techniques & Stitches
Jayda in Stitches – Knitting for Beginners Series and Learn How to Crochet- The Basics
Blossom Crochet – Absolute Beginner Series
Lion Brand Yarn- How to Knit and How to Crochet
Printed references: I have an extensive craft book library. If you want something quick to read before making a big investment, I recommend the I Can't Believe I'm...Knitting/Crocheting booklets by Leisure Arts.
For a deep dive into knitting and/or crochet (beginner to advanced yarn crafter), I highly recommend The Complete Crochet Course -The Ultimate Reference Guide by Shannon & Jason Mullett-Bowlsby and Vogue Knitting -The Ultimate Knitting Book by the Editors of Vogue Knitting magazine.
Most public libraries have copies of these hardcovers, if you're not ready to purchase.
Until next time...:)