Unravel and Sharing the Love

Last week my friend asked me to teach her to crochet. Completely out of the blue. She’s known I crochet and knit for a long time, but I never really thought she was interested in trying it herself. But how lovely to be asked!

So off we went on Friday evening and found a cosy corner in a pub, and got to work. I love being able to teach things that I love doing, to people who are genuinely interested. We started with chains and a bit of single crochet and double crochet, and then moved on to Granny Squares. It just seemed right, since that was what my Granny first taught me when I learnt to crochet around 20 years ago!

IMAG2321

Taking a break from teaching crochet with a spot of knitting while the drinks were replenished.

My friend seems to have taken to it like a duck to water, and by the end of the evening she had a granny square with three very neat rounds. She’s since added several more rounds to that original square and has started work on squares for a blanket. I’ll have to start planning another lesson!

unravel, a festival of knitting, at Farnham Maltings Click for website

Image from: unravel, a festival of knitting, at Farnham Maltings
Click for website

After our lesson, my friend found out about Unravel, a festival of knitting, held in Farnham, which is not far from where we live. I’d heard of it before, but have never been and didn’t realise it was coming up so soon, but we’re hoping to go along together at the end of February.

Are you heading to Unravel? What would you pick as a first project to teach a beginner?

Crochet

My Granny taught me to crochet when I was around 10 or 11. Granny squares. For years, all I knew how to crochet was granny squares! I liked the motion of it, the rhythm of counting stitches, the way they grew quickly from one loop to a small square and bigger. It was faster than knitting, easier (I’d never been able to cast on or off when I’d tried knitting before) and there was only ever one stitch to drop.

I made a blanket for a new baby I knew.

Then stopped.

There’s definitely a limit to the number of granny square blankets I wanted to make. Besides, I had plenty of other things to move on to…

Then, in 2009, when I was expecting my first child, I pulled my old bag of yarn from the wardrobe and made a start on a new baby blanket. The blanket grew and was finished. I wanted to do more. Youtube is a brilliant resource for learning just about anything! I made a hat. I made a bootie. I had a baby boy. The hat was too small. The second bootie never got started. The blanket was all the wrong colours for my baby boy. I made one more blanket for a friend’s baby girl, and then back into the cupboard it went.

Granny Square BlanketToo small hat

Roll on 3 years and I was expecting baby number two. I needed something I could occupy myself with whilst sitting down. I found a pattern for a monkey hat on pinterest (another great resource) and fancied having a go, but didn’t have anything like the right colours, so decided to make it as a polar bear hat for my son. I vaguely followed the pattern, but found it easy to understand the construction and therefore easy to adapt the pattern to suit my ideas and my son. By the end of the day my son was proudly wearing his brand new hat and demanded another – a dragon hat! Said dragon hat duly followed, inspired by pictures I’d seen, but entirely my own design.

I browsed blogs and discovered Attic24, and decided Lucy’s ripple pattern would be great as a baby blanket and started work. A cardigan came next, then matching hats – one for a boy, one for a girl as we did not know what our baby would be – a car seat blanket, then a cake for my son’s kitchen toy box, complete with a plate on request and a slice of cake.

Cardigan and hatBoy and Girl hatsCar seat blanket

Two weeks overdue and desperate for anything to keep my brain occupied I started a giraffe soft toy and was invited to join a crochet group on Facebook. Baby boy eventually arrived and time to crochet was limited, but the giraffe did get finished. I discovered Ravelry and learned about blocking and frogging, new stitches and tried new patterns, and there have been a few more projects since then – a second giraffe, a Heidi Bear Happypotamus, a doll’s blanket for my niece and a beautiful shawl that is very slowly taking shape. More hats and boots and even an attempt at writing a pattern.

Giraffe number oneHappypotamusGiraffe number two

I very much enjoy crochet, but I am quite selective in choosing my crochet projects. I don’t have the kind of house that lends itself to rustic, pretty homemade decorations (they’d just get buried under all the clutter) and I’m not always confident that homemade gifts will be appreciated in all quarters, so I largely stick to making things that I know I will use.  That said, there are the occasional projects I’ve undertaken just because I fancied having a go at something a bit different that caught my eye.

I will be keeping a record of items I’ve made – even just writing this post has made me realised that I’ve made more than I thought I had – and maybe posting a pattern or two should inspiration strike.

Let me know how and when you learned to crochet, and tell me what your favourite pattern is and why you like it.