Probably the biggest thing I’ve ever crocheted is this Black Watch Tartan throw. It came from a pattern in an Australian magazine (Handmade) and I really wanted to make it as soon as I saw it. There were two colour options, and when I showed it to my friend she ran off to buy the magazine too and make the second option (Stewart Tartan) to take to the footie with her.
Here’s the thing though, I couldn’t really crochet. Sure I could make chains and single crochet stitches but anything beyond that, I just couldn’t understand how to make the stitches or where to put the hook. The reason for this was not because I was really dense but because I am left-handed and try as I might, I just couldn’t “get it”. My friend tried to teach me personally – sit opposite me, stand behind me, watch me in a mirror – and also by giving me helpful advice like “photocopy the pattern then reverse it”, but I still just couldn’t understand what people were doing with their hooks because it all seemed so back to front to me. So there I was pining after this gorgeous throw that I could not make, and my friend offering to make me one when she had finished making hers – a very generous offer but I really wanted to do it myself – and me being completely out of ideas on how to achieve this goal of crocheting this throw.
Now obviously, since there is a photo of the finished throw and I said that I had made it myself, then of course I must have learned how to crochet. But how?
Well, just a few weeks after buying the magazine, I went to a local cross stitch exhibition (because at the time I was really into cross stitch and cross stitching like crazy) and I wanted to check out all the amazing pictures people had done. That was all great of course, and I spent a lot of time admiring all the beautiful work, but then downstairs they had a small shop selling aida and thread etc and books. I was just flicking through the books (mainly about cross stitch but some other crafts as well) when I found the Holy Grail! Well something just as good -
Pay special attention to the words on the top right hand corner “Left-Handed Version”!!! At last, the solution I’d been waiting for – not only was it a left-handed version but it promised to teach me how to crochet “in just one day”!!! Yes the book was ancient and had dodgy looking crocheted items on the cover that looked straight out of the 1970s, but the instructions were spot on and I really did learn to crochet in one day – double crochet, treble crochet, half treble, granny squares etc - there was no stopping me and I ran out and bought all the yarn I needed for my throw and got started on it right away.
I haven’t done a heap of crochet though, mostly I see something I want and then that triggers the desire to crochet because I want to make the thing that I saw. Also until quite recently a lot of crocheted items have looked very dated but that’s all changing now and crochet is cool again. It’s also a very portable craft – knitting is too but not for me as I have a weird way of knitting that I don’t want to display to the general public!