Like many other fiber artists, I’m not satisfied with only one craft. If only to understand them, I have in my soul a desire to learn about and try everything from spinning to sewing my woven fabric. True, some of these plans are more romantic than practical, but there’s still something beautiful about having the desire to learn and dream. Something inspiring about trying new things and having the willingness to fail spectacularly.
As many of my friends already know, I’ve been sitting on my grandmother’s crochet hooks (and her sewing notions, but that’s not what today’s post is about) since she passed in 2007. There is no uniformity to this collection, it’s clear she ran out to the store and grabbed hooks as she needed them for various projects. I also don’t have any memory of her using these hooks, nor any crochet items I fondly curled up with as a child. Despite this, I have been seriously flirting with crochet since I took a class at Gather Here in 2016. A date I’m only aware of because I have a Ravelry project page for the dishcloth I made in class.
Many many years have passed between my grandmother’s death, this initial crochet class, and today, yet here I am, stubbornly holding on to the crochet hooks in case the day comes that I want to start crocheting. At first, my reason for not sticking with it was speed and being in grad school (I was learning enough and didn’t have the bandwidth to learn a new craft on top of it). Then the reason was I wanted to learn other things (weaving). Finally, I found a few crochet designers on Instagram and they’ve been slowly convincing me that I need to crochet often enough to be able to make the things that inspire me as they pop up.
The first step in this process was to take on something that wasn’t a square. It was a lot of fun to work the Grist Shawl as part of Gather Here’s crochet along. The next class I signed up for was the Willoughby Nesting Bins, this allowed me to practice crocheting in the round as well as crocheting so that stitches stacked on top of each other. I used Valley Yarns Berkshire Bulky instead of the pattern’s recommended linen yarn and then felted the bin. In hindsight, I should have made it just a bit bigger so that it wouldn’t be misshapen by the pot I put in it, but overall I love the colors and the way it turned out. I don’t think I would have liked it as much if I had used the linen yarn, which is naturally a pleasant surprise when making substitutions. TBD on whether or not I reach for this pattern again, perhaps a small version for bits and bobs?
My crochet adventures ground to a halt after taking crochet 2 at Webs, not because of the class but because I have a few knit sweaters queued up and waiting to be made. Crochet 2 taught me that I can read crochet stitches and forced me to sit down and master the granny square. Now that I know how easy they are, it’s hard not to want to make all the granny squares.
The first project we took on in Crochet 2 was the Marjoram Hat and Mitts, I actually think this could have been my style if I liked the colors I ended up with more. Since I purchased my cascade 220 online and in person, I misjudged my colors and had to swap things around a little bit. These were lovingly donated and will keep someone warm.
The next project we worked on was the Simple Seed Stitch Pillow. It was nice to learn that I can do seed stitch without much trouble, but no matter how you swing it this one isn’t my style. It did make me add a linen stitch sweater to my favorites though.
I love learning fiber arts because it gives me a safe space to feel uncomfortable and make mistakes. Though knitting will always be my main craft (crocheting in the car makes me carsick), it’s nice to finally be flexing my crochet muscle a little and to be using my grandmother’s old hooks. Time will tell how much use they get, but there are a least a few blankets in my future.