As I write this, I’m a yarn art toddler. I’ve been crocheting for just over 3 years, and approaching my one-year knitting anniversary! It’s been a long, tangled road and I’ve been learning a lot as I go. Since the main goal of this blog was always to share my yarn art journey, doubtless you’ve realized that I had a yarn art life before my Etsy shop and blog. I want to share with y’all some of the little lessons I’ve learned along the way. Keep in mind that these are purely based on my personal experience. I’m in no way an expert! (Yarn art toddler, remember)?
Lesson 1: Don’t give up!
I can’t even remember how old I was when first I gave the word “crochet” a second glance and my head was turned by what seemed to be a dying art dominated by artists of much… life experience. With certainty, it was before I’d reached my teens. I’d had a grandmother and two great-grandmothers who all were seasoned crocheters, but by the time I was 15, they’d all passed on. I had seen some of their work, but never realized exactly what I was looking at. It wasn’t until they all were gone that I realized the chances I’d missed out on.
But digressing a bit, I remember from an early age that my mother was a veritable hobby collector. I remember her going to quilting classes and teaching my sister and I to cross stitch. One of the strangest things I found myself learning from her was latch hook. Apologies to the latch-hookers out there; I was a kid and I thought it was weird. But learn, I did! I want to say I finished one thing. Which is saying something because I still haven’t completed a cross stitch project all these years later. If you couldn’t guess, my mother passed along her penchant for collecting hobbies and not completing projects to me. Along with a desire to learn crochet was a desire to learn how to make dreamcatchers (which I eventually did) and oil painting (which I also eventually did). I sculpted with clay, drew with pencil and with charcoal, and began learning to quilt by hand as well.
The one thing that I could never fully wrap my mind around, however, was crochet. It eluded me for years. I had purchased a hook in my favorite color (blue) without realizing that hooks even had sizes, and I had some yarn to practice on. I don’t quite recall now, but I feel pretty certain that I didn’t have a tutorial book to learn by. My mother didn’t crochet (although she had learned simple chaining from her grandmother), and there was no one around to teach me. Eventually, I did give up. And I struggled for years with finding the perfect creative outlet because while I knew how to do a lot of different arts and crafts, I didn’t seem to have natural talent for many of them, and didn’t feel like I was good at any of them.
Fast forward 18 years or so to 2012, and a mission trip to Vermont to help a newly-planted church. During a few moments of downtime, I watched an older lady in our group teaching basic stitches to another lady in our group. It was revolutionary for me. Watching it – seeing the stitches happen – made things click for me that had never clicked before. It looked so simple. Any drawings or illustrations I may have seen in the past had never made sense before, but seeing the motion of fingers, yarn, and hook made all the difference. Suddenly I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a hook and some yarn!
When we got home from that trip, I found a “learn to crochet” kit at WalMart that came with an instruction book, hooks and notions, and a DVD. I bought that and a skein of yarn to practice on, and prepared myself to learn and pick it up with ease. That, unfortunately, was short-lived. The instruction book illustrations were just as confusing as ever, and the image of the ladies stitching in Vermont had already faded from my brain. The DVD was helpful, but something was missing. Frustration was setting in. But I was determined, and I turned to YouTube. To my relief, there was an excellent beginner’s tutorial by Naztazia, and before I knew it, I was practicing single, half-double, and double crochet stitches!
Obviously, I’m very much a visual learner. I guess I needed to see multiple angles or crochet styles to really get it, but get it I did, and I’m so glad! Crochet has grown from just another craft to add to my repertoire, into a passion. And that passion is beginning to overflow from crochet over to knitting, over to yarn dyeing, and over to a desire to learn how to spin yarn. It’s blossomed into a love for colors you can feel, and it’s given me so many opportunities to bless people, and to be blessed myself.
If you even just barely think you might want to try crocheting or any kind of yarn art, I encourage you not to grow discouraged or give up if it doesn’t work out for you right away! There are so many more resources available now than there were when I first felt the desire to learn to crochet. In a digital age, and in an age where yarn arts are growing in popularity, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to learn if you want it badly enough. It’s relaxing and rewarding in so many ways. I’ll share in another post about different ways I have found to learn crochet, knitting, or other yarn arts. The important thing to remember is that you can do it if you really want to!