I’ve often wondered what it would be like to try and teach someone to crochet, like face-to-face. A few things put me off, namely the fact that I thought it would be really really really difficult. Not because crochet is difficult because the basic stitches are not, but because I am self-taught, and I suspect that a lot of my solutions are not The Proper Solutions. Someone recently asked me whether I do American or UK crochet, and I looked at them as if they’d just asked if I like my monkey brains broiled or braised, because I had no idea there was a difference. I am someone who learns by trying stuff with my own hands, I enjoy riffing with my hook, and for that reason I spend most of my time making things up rather than following other people’s patterns. I didn’t think anyone would really want to learn my cock-eyed techniques, but the more blogging I’ve done the more people have asked.
Recently I decided to give it a go and so I gathered a group of friends in a local pub with some hooks and some cheap double knit yarn. Crafting in public is always such a weird and exhilarating experience. I spend a good deal of time surrounded by people, online and off, who craft pretty much daily and it’s easy to forget that not everyone does it. I am always surprised by the force of people’s reactions. So many people find the whole idea HILARIOUS and treat it like a kind of performance, standing over me (IN MY LIGHT), hovering there for a minute of two before asking ‘What you knittin’?’ It’s good that people are curious about it. I suppose seeing people out crocheting might encourage others to give it a go and that can only be a good thing but it is an odd feeling, especially when the bloke standing above you is very drunk indeed and, I suspect, using the situation as an excuse to have a good stare down your top.
I decided to try and teach my first group how to make a simple granny square, after all, if you can make a granny square you can make all sorts of things. I brought along some samples, spare hooks, loads of yarn and my favourite craft book, Ye Olde Faithful The Complete Encyclopaedia of Stitchcraft, by Mildred Graves Ryan, because if I am going to use a book, this is the one I usually go for. I had no idea, until I started trying to break it down for someone else, just how much I do without thinking. Explaining was hard, especially in a pub, with bad lighting, but I was not ready for the incredible satisfaction I felt when everybody got 3 rounds finished successfully. They have all done SO WELL, and I am really proud. It was worth all the prep, and the headache, definitely.
Since that first lesson it seems everyone has been crocheting at home and thinking about what they might like to make with their squares! I’m thinking we might get together regularly, and I am teaching another workshop again soon, this time for a small, paying crowd. So I was wondering…
How many of you have had crochet lessons of any sort?
Did you enjoy it?
What did you learn, and, ahem, how much did it cost?