Craft · Crocheting

Chaos in learning to crochet

If there is one thing that craft has taught me, it’s that I’m a pain in the butt to teach. I listen to instructions well and I absorb information like a sponge (which comes in handy at my day job), but given the chance to figure out something for myself, it’s chaos.

The thing is, I’m impatient. I want to know how to do all the things all at once. I’m intellectually aware that this is impossible but that does not stop me jumping headfirst into things without stopping to figure out how it works or what I should do to make it functional.

Case in point: my early posts on crochet.

This was my first attempt at crochet, posted on August 12th 2010, just weeks after I learned how to knit:


From the colour of the background I can tell I was sitting on my rickety old bed at home when I was living with my Dad. (Side note: my Dad recently got rid of that bed and was absolutely shocked that I was using a pile of books to hold it up where the edge had cracked. When he asked why I hadn’t just asked for a new bed frame, I admitted that it hadn’t occurred to me. I’ll leave you to decide whether that says anything about me as a logical human being.)

My first attempt was messy and hilarious, but that was probably because I watched a five minute video on YouTube then decided I knew how to do it, I was basically a pro.

Then that wonky scrap happened and I had to revise the theory of my awesomeness.

About a week later I posted a picture of my second attempt at crocheting which was a small snake out of bamboo cotton. It might look like I learn quickly if you compare the two samples less than a week apart: that’s true in a sense, but it’s mostly due to the fact that when I’m fixated on something I do little else and get in way more hours of practice in a short time than any reasonable person would.


A snippet from the post about the snake which shows how little I change:

You know when you try for ages and ages to do something without reading more than one tutorial and completely fail? Just me, huh? Well, I’ve been teaching myself to crochet with very little prior reading and it hasn’t been going well. I’ve produced a few scraps of rubbish fabric but I was determined to get it right so I kept on going.

Tonight was Stitch and Bitch at the Old Town Hall. I love it so; within half an hour of getting there I not only had a fabulous cup of tea, but I was well on my way to starting my first actual crochet project without failing miserably.

With the help of Sophie and a very talented lady whose name I cannot remember, I began crocheting in a circle instead of in rows and it is SO MUCH EASIER you have no idea! (Except that anyone reading this probably would have an idea…)

Despite the epiphany I had about how much easier learning is when you take instruction from something such as a video or a knowledgeable friend, I still continued about my chaotic way of teaching myself.

From this post:

So while watching Psych on my laptop – which I bought a while ago but never got around to watching – I had my crochet hook and my bamboo cotton in hand. I made a circle and then thought, hey! Why not see if I can make a simple flower without actually looking up how to make one?

It worked, unlike my first attempt at baking (see the post to understand), and somehow I ended up with a lopsided bracelet with a bamboo cotton flower in lime green. You better bet that I wore that crap with pride, people.


That’s the reason I try things out this way. It’s so much fun working out how to do things without reading instructions; it’s not immediately productive, but it forces you to get a handle on the concepts behind the craft in order to guess how to do something new. Besides, once I fail miserably proudly, I spend the next god knows how many hours reading up on how to actually do the thing.

I’m sure it’s fun to be able to learn things in a methodical, logical way, but my mind isn’t built like that. Is yours? How do you learn this stuff?


6 thoughts on “Chaos in learning to crochet

  1. YouTube and Craftsy videos are my friend. I have been crocheting since I was eight years old and my grandmother taught me the single chain. She said your foundation row must be perfect and until you perfect the single chain; you cannot crochet. So, fast forward and I had a humongous ball of single chain (which I later turned into a rug).

    By that point, I bought books (or checked out in the library) and taught myself the rest. I mostly picked it back up again when someone was having a baby or my Mom wanted me to make her something. I tried learning to knit that way too; however it didn’t really work out. When I decided to start trying again in February of 2015, I thanked goodness for YouTube and Craftsy videos!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Do you have pictures of the crochet chain rug? I love that thing’s origin story. So awesome.

      YouTube and Craftsy are wonderful. I would never have become so obsessed without the internet to support my habit.


  2. It’s amazing how no matter what changes in our lives the way we learn remains the same, it’s part of what makes us us 🙂 Crochet frustrates me, I can’t get it. I’ve been knitting since I was a child , my mother showed me and tried crochet at the same to no avail. I’ve bought books and tried tutorials but it just doesn’t work. I’ve recently joined the Trefoil Guild ( guiding for adults) and they are very encouraging in skills and crafts. We’ve knitted balaclavas for sailors and twiddlemuffs for alzheimer patients and I’m hoping to nab someone patient to help me understand crochet, it’s my white whale 🙂


    1. I don’t know if I had an amazing teacher or what, but crochet never posed too much of a problem to me like knitting did. I love them both now.

      That Guild sounds amazing, you sounds like you’re doing some great things with it. Awesome.


  3. I love tearing into projects head first too and then keeping the wonky swatches in boxes. First attempts are so funny. I’ll sit for hours until I have mastered something, often ripping out stitches, watching YouTube tips after I decide that the written instruction are clearly wrong…they are never wrong! Great blog post!


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