Crochet Confidence

Crochet has been something I have wanted to try again for a while. I swoon over photos of crochet projects on some of my favourite craft blogs and magazines wishing I could make them. I love the images of yarn and seemingly complicated looking, but gorgeous crochet projects. In January 2012 I wrote a post about making a start with crochet . Afterwards I felt that maybe I had had a fluky few days of doing it. Whilst looking through books trying to decide what to make, I picked up my crochet hook a week or so later and couldn't crochet. I was getting muddled with simple patterns I read, I couldn't get the hold and tension correct and so I decided to move onto other things. Perhaps I was lacking confidence with myself and lacked patience at the time. After that I had told myself one day I'll try again. This month I did and I'm pleased to say I am now well on my way with the basics of crochet.

Croche With the evenings after work being darker and colder I wanted to do something I could snuggle on the sofa with and pick up in small chunks.  I'm loving knitting the cosy cable cushion again but the concentration needed to work through the pattern isn't conducive to multitasking watching Downtown Abbey, Strictly Come Dancing or The Mentalist!

I didn't want yarn, patterns and tension to defeat me. I knew that if I could knit using the basic skills this really should be achievable! One Sunday afternoon I found myself with a few spare hours, with all the major household jobs done round the house and the ironing completed I decided to try and crochet again. I knew I had to be patient, not rush it and take time to read and refresh myself on everything. So I gathered my little collection of crochet books, found the crochet tutorials on blogs and YouTube that I had bookmarked, and sat with a pot of tea to see if I could get my head round crochet again.

I went back to basics and dug out a ball of wool from my tiny collection. I found some turquoise yarn and started practising the crochet hold. I then started a chain, doing it and then unravelling it and starting it again many times until I was happy with my hold and tension of the chain. I made mistakes, the stitches were too loose and too tight but eventually I managed to get a similar tension and began to feel coordinated again. I opened all my crochet books and looked at the technique sections but found myself gravitating towards a lovely little book called Crochet Unravelled I bought a few years ago. You can find out how to get Crochet Unravelled on the publishers website and most wool shops I've seen stock the little book too. Mine only cost me about £8 so see if you can find it as it really is worth it.
The book looks pretty odd and not your typical crochet book. I mainly go for the books that have lovely photography of the projects inside. But as the saying goes don't judge a book by its cover. What I love about this book is its simplicity in style, it has illustrations and a few black and white photos, but what it lacks in pretty layout is an absolute goldmine of learning how to crochet. The simplicity and fantastic step by step explanations is just like having someone next to you teaching you. For both right and left handers this book works you through the stages and stitches taking you through to simple projects so you can gain confidence. Each stage is carefully explained using plain language and tips. It progresses to reading patterns with crochet abbreviations, and also those patterns that have diagrams. I'm not really there quite yet but I am starting to piece together the concepts.
I've started where most people do, the good old classic granny square. My aim is to make a granny square blanket. After following the step by step instructions in this book and cross referencing with a few images of granny squares, I managed to create a square. I unravelled it and did it again. After a few more goes I felt that I was ready to get myself some yarn I wanted to use so I could start my own crochet blanket.
During a lunch hour from work I headed to a lovely shop called Wool in Bath to look for yarn. I didn't want anything too expensive that would put me off completing the project, I've bought yarn for knitting that I love but at £5 a ball you have to be really committed financially to a project with yarn that expensive! When I was in Wool I asked for some advice about the yarn I should be looking for to use when crocheting and was told double-knit wool (dk on the label) is what I should ideally look at. The yarn I selected was Rico Baby Classic dk at £2.75 a ball. The yarn is soft and is a 50% acrylic and 50% polymide mix. You can use a 3.5 or 4 crochet hook with this, luckily these are the two hooks I already own. I came home with a selection of colours that would work in our home, specifically to work well with our teal coloured sofas.
As soon as I got home I made a start on crocheting a granny square in the light blue yarn so I could see what I was doing and get used to the yarn in my hands. My plan was to create a classic multi-coloured granny square blanket. I wasnt too sure how to add another colour so I did a bit of research, this video on how to crochet a granny square with colour changes really helped me see what to do.
Here's my first attempt of a multi coloured granny square with three rounds.
and another...this one looked a lot neater!
I then did another square...I decided to add an extra round of stitches to a square so I would have a granny square with four rounds and colour changes.
I've decided to keep my granny squares to four rounds and four colours (at the moment!). I like the size and they are achievable to make in about 40 minutes each. I'm using the white yarn and three blue yarns as the combination of colours seems to sit well with together. I will save the lovely minty green/light aqua colour I bought for a pastel coloured crochet project for our bedroom instead!

I am really enjoying getting stuck into making the granny squares and am trying out different colour combinations and orders. I imagine I wont have a blanket ready for quite sometime but I can watch the project grow and get excited about what it may look like in the end.

I'm looking forward to watching the blanket grow square by squaure. Owning a blanket I've made will be so satisfying and will be something I can treasure forever. I'm excited rather than daunted over this project, perhaps projects with many small stages fit best with me, piece by piece the they come together over time. This weekend I've put all my crochet books back on my book shelf, complicated squares and patterns can wait while I get to grips with the basics. I'm planning to take this hobby one small step at a time.
If you want to get started with crochet there are so many resources out there in print and online. I would recommend getting the Crochet Unravelled book for the basics, looking at video tutorials, and buying yarn in colours you love, it makes learning so much easier and you'll feel motivated to keep working on the project.
The blog that always brightens my day when crochet and crafts is concerned is Attic24, have a look and swoon at Lucy's fabulous designs and amazing use of rainbow colours. I love her little attic studio room with a lovely view too. There is a great crochet tutorial by Little Tin Bird about how to crochet a basic granny square. I spent time looking at the photos on this blog post and it gave me great confidence to start as I knew what to expect at each stage.
I'm not going to be ashamed to ask for advice moving forward with crochet, most people I've met are either finding their way through it or are very happy to help and share their passion. I hope I may have inspired you to have a go at crocheting a granny square and have given you the confidence to start your own basic granny square blanket. Let me know how you get along! I'll keep you posted with my progress.