May 17, 2021 @ 9:39 PM

During the dumpster fire that was 2020, it was wonderful to have stress relievers you can always count on.
For me, it's exercise and crafting.
 The world of yarn crafting  is one of my Happy Places!  Crochet!  Knit! Yarn! A trifecta!
When I’m in a bad head space 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, 90 now. Yes, 90. 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.
Last 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 large enough for Big Foot. So ugly I didn’t pick up a sock pattern again until about a year later. 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 bottom ones with braided cables are knits.)
On the crochet front, I'm loving mosaic. (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 attempt.
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:
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

TL Yarn Crafts Crochet Academy:



Recommended Books: