Last Saturday, I attended a ‘Learn to Crochet‘ workshop at Calon Yarns, Cardiff. I’ve been trying to go for the last year or so, but never got round booking myself on to it as I’ve been too busy or too slow to book a space onto the workshop.
When I saw a crochet workshop advertised for June, I booked myself on it immediately.
I’m not sure why I wanted to learn to crochet – I blame Pinterest predominately (who else?). Crochet is popping up everywhere, in craft fairs, market stalls and in high street shops and slowly in wedding and party decorations. I’ve fallen for the colorful crochet blankets, granny squares, cuddly toys and Amigurumi, and I wanted to find out more how to make them.
These are some of the crochet items I would love to be able to make: www.pinterest.com/telerijj/crochet-amigurumi
I have no interest in knitting – my Mamgu (grandmother in Welsh) was a knitter and took her bag of knitting everywhere. I remember sitting down with mamgu when I was younger and she tried to teach me several times (bless her!), but I couldn’t get my head around it. Following a knitting patterns was like reading hieroglyphics. Also, I found knitting a ‘slow craft’ and always seemed it takes days, weeks or month to knit a jumper.
Will I experience the same with crochet? Too slow moving, complex stitches and complicated charts and eventually have a tantrum and throw balls of yarn around? Stab someone with a hook?
I’ve previously flicked through a few crochet books in the library and craft shops but I just could not get my head around all the different stitches, the symbols, terminology and how to follow a pattern. How do you hold a hook?
There was no way I could teach myself crochet so the only option was to attend a workshop. So, off I went to Calon Yarns.
And I’m so glad I did! All I needed was someone to demonstrate how to hold a hook, the stitches, explain the terminology and watch me make a chain, double stitch, half treble and treble stitch. Once I knew how to do the different stitches, looking at a pattern made sense to me.
During the workshop, the plan was to try out the basic stitches and attempt to make a little flower corsage and a granny square. All ladies in the workshop mastered the stitches and make a granny square each, apart from me! Oh dear.
I did admit to the ladies in the workshop that I was struggling with getting used to holding a hook and getting the tension or the yarn correct in my hands. It felt very alien to me and my brain wasn’t talking to my hands during the workshop. I knew what I had to do but my hands did not want to function.
This is why I didn’t manage to make a granny square or a corsage – I wanted to practice the basic stitches and getting the tension correct in the yarn. I spent most of the afternoon doing double stitches, half treble stitches and treble stitches, unravel the yarn and stitch again.
That’s the slight perfectionist side of me coming out – practice, practice, practice!
One good thing about crochet that there’s little waste in the yarn – if you’ve made a mistake, you can unravel a stitch or two and start again. Also, I’ve been told is a lot more forgiving than knitting – if you’ve made a mistake in crochet, it can be easily ‘hidden’ and it won’t affect the pattern to much. Knitting is the opposite.
At the end of the workshop, my hands started to cramp up, my brain was frazzled, slight blurred vision and felt defeated, with nothing to show from my crochet workshop. And I was looking forwards in making my first granny square, oh well!
My defeat is definitely not a reflection on the quality and standard of Calon Yarn’s Learn to Crochet workshop. The workshop was brilliant and Lynne was excellent in demonstrating and explaining the stitches and how to read a chart. There was only 6 spaces on the workshop so you had the opportunity to chat with all the participants and have one to one support with Lynne, especially when your fingers got tangled with the hook and yarn.
After attending this workshop, I have a better understand why crochet (and knitting) is popular, especially with the mothers and grandmothers of the country. I started to feel mesmerised when I had a good run of hooking and getting my stitches correct. Following a chart while hooking requires 100% concentration as well, and there is no room to think about anything else.
A perfect way to have some ‘down time’ after a hard day’s work and most importantly, keeping all your brain cells active.
There are some things that are not meant to be and I don’t think crochet is not for me. I haven’t given up yet – I still have my hook and a ball or yarn to continue practice my stitches, and I have the patterns for the granny square from the workshop to attempt one evening. I might decide to give it a go another time.
In the mean time, I think I’ll stick with my sewing machine and continue with my custom bunting projects, box of paint for my ‘down time’ and my iMac for my graphic design work.
Excellent workshop though, Lynne is fab. If you live or plan to visit Cardiff soon and looking for yarn for knitting or crochet, pop into Calon Yarns on Cowbridge Road East, Canton. Say hello to Lynne and Jon for me!