Life Other crafts

Crocheting Away!

Crocheting was actually the first yarn craft I learned. First my grand-mother (the same who later taught me to knit) showed me how to finger-crochet a simple, loose chain, and then later how to use a hook to crochet a proper chain. But I never went further then, I just did chains. And for a long time I thought that was what crocheting was all about.

In 2012 – i.e. approximately 20 years later – I was suddenly hit with a strong urge to re-learn to crochet. I had by that time learned that there was more to it than chains… Also I was probably going through a rough patch with knitting, and needed a rebound hobby. Normal people probably would have already back then gone to eg. YouTube and learned to crochet there, but not me. I borrowed books on crocheting from a local library, and slowly but surely started to educate myself. And it was addictive! That summer I actually took a 6-hour bus drive from Ostrobothnia to Helsinki, and just crocheted away the whole journey.

I learned the basic techniques, but I pretty quickly grew out of the interest towards the hook, and actually all yarn-crafts altogether, and took a few-year pause from knitting as well as crocheting. While with knitting I patched things up eventually, crocheting was doomed to be just a little summer fling. Until now.

About a month back I saw a post on Facebook by the charming and sweet Rebekah from Crochet Away All Day, advertising a small and intimate crocheting workshop, and I thought to my myself “why not!”. I saw it as a possibility to revisit an old hobby, and also meet other expat crafters in Belgrade. And perhaps even take a look at the selection of hand-dyed yarns by Rebekah (check out Yarn Away All Day in Etsy!), and possibly get a chance to talk with her about yarn-business in general (you know my dream is to own a yarn shop!). So I signed up.

We meet again, captain Hook!

The workshop took place on a sunny and warm Saturday, in the lovely home of one of the participants. Rebekah had prepared little beginner packages for all, including a handout, some stitch markers, a tapestry needle, a hook (size 6 or 7) and a ball of chunky yarn we would use to make our headbands. The workshop started by introductions and going through some basics of yarns, hooks and how to swatch (in theory). Then we proceeded to trying out different crochet stitches, and to my surprise it all came back to me pretty quickly!

To practice the stitches and how to read a crochet pattern, we then crocheted small granny squares. Turned out I had completely forgotten how to read a crocheting pattern – it was like an alien language to me! Without Rebekah’s help I wouldn’t have even known where to start. Furthermore, I discovered that I had in the past done granny squares all wrong (so much for learning something just through some books, heh) – it was a moment of epiphany to learn that you don’t crochet the stitches into the stitches below, but to the holes between the groups of stitches! Mind. Blown. This explains why my sad little attempts on granny-squares always looked a bit wonky…

Concrete results!

Our final exercise was to crochet a headband, designed by Rebekah. We took careful measurements (Note to self: CAREFUL MEASUREMENTS!) and started the project. However, since the time frame for the workshop was limited, it was our “homework” to finish it. Which was bad news for my family, because the rest of the day the unfinished headband and the freshly-revived crocheting skill was haunting my mind, kind of like a catchy song that keeps playing in your head no matter how hard you try to get rid of it.

I finished the headband in the evening, after putting my daughter to bed. And seriously, I think it’s the best-looking head-piece I’ve ever made! (Ok, I remember having some nice knitted berets around 2010 – I wonder what has happened to them….) It fits my tiny little head just right, and despite my prejudice towards the acrylic yarn used, looks actually really good! (Even though the photo is of terrible quality – sorry!)

Completely hooked

To my surprise, I enjoyed crocheting so much, that I couldn’t help but starting to work on a crocheted sweater to my daughter! Yes, really. A sweater. I figured that I have the basic understanding of what a raglan sweater consists of, and probably the necessary skills (=increases) to do that, and that it would be fun to try. The rest I’ll just figure out as I go.

The yarn I use is of course a random yarn from my stash, that I think I have enough of – so I’ll probably end up having to do some innovative manoeuvres at some point. So it’s safe to say that I haven’t learned a thing from what happened with the Cveće Cardigan or my Aida Linen top

Nevertheless, I’m eager to see how long this fling will last this time. And of course, how the sweater will turn out! Our crochet-group is still active and planning a next workshop, so perhaps (hopefully) this time I can turn mr. Hook into a lifetime companion.

To close this post, here are my top 3 reasons for liking crocheting:

  1. It’s easy to take with you. If you drop a stitch, it’s not the end of the world, because unlike with knitting, the stitches don’t unravel vertically
  2. It’s easier to unravel if you’ve made a mistake. With knitting, you either have to unravel with the needles (which is SUPER ANNOYING!) or risk dropping some stitches as you go. You also have to pick up the stitches to the needles (which is also SUPER ANNOYING)
  3. The way the hook dances in your hand. It’s just mesmerising.

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