Teachable Moments: Open Thread

Jul 19, 2011

My cousin Lisa is in town for a couple of weeks, and the other night she asked me what the difference between knitting and crochet is. (She's a scarf knitter.) The ensuing discussion led to the pulling-out of books, my gentle nudging about how cool and simple granny squares are, and the inevitable crochet lesson over doughnut holes and cider.

Such fun! Lisa was a quick study, and her excitement as she figured out the structure of a granny square made me happy.

It had been a while since I'd taught someone how to crochet, and I thought I'd open up a thread here on the blog so we can chat about experiences we've had teaching people to crochet, and share any tips we've uncovered.

I'm already bookmarking this page in anticipation of the helpful, inspiring comments you're going to write. And if you have questions, ask 'em!

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liveloveyarn wrote
on Jul 19, 2011 3:29 PM

I taught my bff how to crochet last summer. When I taught myself (using Kim Werker's Get Hooked from my school library- ironically enough) I made a square using all the stitches (ch, sc, hdc, dc, tr). I was so proud I carried around that acrylic pink square everywhere. But what worked for my bff was this: we picked a pattern and I taught her how to actually crochet and read the pattern simultaneously. This allowed her to really understand what she was doing and why, she had a great slouchy hat in the end, and she was armed to tackle her next project on her own. So while it's tempting to say "This is how you single crochet, this is how you double..." ect. I find that taking a simple pattern and saying "Okay this here says ch 4 so here's how we do that, and now it says x,y,z and that looks like this..." helped her feel competent- like she was actually crocheting. I remember my Grammie helping with a simpl afghan and everyone said "Oh that's beautiful" and my reply was (while I was most certainly crocheting) "Thanks- I have no idea how I'm doing it." I diet want my bff to feel like that. I want her to wield her hook- armed and crochangerous ;) Hope this post made sense, was helpful, and NOT overkill.

Kim Werker wrote
on Jul 19, 2011 3:34 PM

@liveloveyarn Such good advice! I kept the granny square pattern in front of us as I taught Lisa, too. She'll be going home in a few days, and it won't do her any good not to be able to refresh her memory.

(I'm so glad you learned from Get Hooked! Yay!)

Emma-SophiaR wrote
on Jul 20, 2011 1:37 AM

I love teaching people how to crochet.  One of my favourite 'tricks' is to hang something small, but heavy - like a pair of nail scissors - on the end of the feed yarn and have students practise controlling tension with their little and fourth finger.  I got this tip from James Walters (I think!) and I've seen it work miracles!

Northof60Me wrote
on Jul 22, 2011 2:44 PM

A friend recently asked me the same thing and I wrote a page for my website about it. This person can neither knit nor crochet so she was quite intrigued to learn that crocheting uses roughly 3 times the yarn to make something of roughly the same size.

dmarndt03 wrote
on Sep 28, 2011 9:08 PM

@NorthOf60Me...I have been crocheting for 20+ years and I didn't know that it takes more yarn to crochet that knit. I tried knitting but I just couldn't get a hold of the thread to make it go in the hole because there was no hook!!!