So I get a few lovely comments from people saying how much they like my crochet and a lot of those people often express a desire to be able to do it themselves. I believe anyone can pick up any skill as long as they practise, however, some will find certain things easier to learn than others! For instance, I picked up crochet pretty quickly but years down the line, I'm still trying to learn how to knit!
So, if I may use a personal example – When I was around 14-15 I really got into drawing. I drew almost every day and I wasn't to bad at it, then something happened and I just dropped the art-form altogether. There are often times when I try to draw these days and what comes out is worse than the average stick-man. It's really frustrating because I know, at one point in my life, I could draw but I'm so out of practise now that I'm really not motivated to re-learn. Which brings me to my next point.
Motivation! You need to have it. You can't just say, “Oh I wish I could do that too!” and not really mean it. The reason I have given up on trying to draw is because I'm not motivated to do it anymore. That was a part of my life I have moved passed and I have found other ways to express myself. We are all just human so there are going to be times when you are envious of others talents and abilities but just remember, they started off just like yourself – merely expressing a desire to learn something new!
The other problem I believe people have is that they don't believe in themselves. You have to think, “I can do that too!” and I know how hard that can be. I've seen some wonderful crafters and are intimidated by them. I wish I had that level of skill but the only reason they are ahead of me is because, A, they have been doing it longer than me, B, they practise more than I do, or C, they just have an easier time with that particular craft. No two people are ever going to be the exact same so just take a breath, relax and start thinking you have what it takes to accomplish what you so desire.
Envy is a huge problem for everyone! “Why is his/her work so much better than mine?” and I'm here to tell you that most people wont show their work that messed up! Take DA for example; I've seen people delete their old art because they have improved so much and are embarrassed to have their former stuff on display in public! It's a shame really because I think people need to see that to really realize that they aren't that different after all. That in a few years time, if you practise hard and keep at it, you too could be at that level of greatness.
Now, I wouldn't say I'm a pro at what I do, I'm still learning but let me share with you, a little about the negatives of my journey through crochet. I started in November of last year but only became serious December. Since then I have tried to spare an hour a day, maybe more, to practise. Several months down the line, I realized I was doing all the stitches wrong. I was yarning over and pulling through one extra time per stitch. It didn't change the appearance of the work much so I didn't noticed when I compared my stitches to some swatches online. What it did do was use up a hell of a lot more yarn – so much so that I was surprised by the amount when I first realized what I had been doing (As an example, I somehow managed to use up a 100g ball of aran/worsted weight yarn on a pair of gloves ). So, how did I finally become aware of this mishap? I forgot how to do a DC (Double crochet) and had to re-watch a youtube video. I sat there for a moment and though, “She's doing it wrong isn't she?” so I checked another video and that's when it hit me; I wasn't doing it properly. I felt so stupid at the time and I clearly remember being a little upset too but these are all parts of learning. I'll be honest, because of this silly mistake, I really did want to just give up crocheting completely, but I didn't! I took a little break to calm myself and then jumped straight back in a few days later. Another huge problem I had was learning to read the end stitch. When I first started my work kept increasing on the sides because I was lazy, didn't count my stitches and didn't know how to recognize that beginning and end stitch. Eventually I looked around online and found a video about how to use a stitch marker at the end of the row so you wouldn't accidentally increase. My problem was, that idea wasn't working for me. My work didn't increase as much, but it still increased. Eventually I started just stuffing my hook in anywhere and if it didn't look right, I'd either just leave it anyway, or pull it out and stick it somewhere else. It's only recently, probably about 3-4 weeks ago that I have finally learnt how to read that little sucker at the end. I did this watching a video also. It wasn't a tutorial on how to read stitches or anything like that, it was a tutorial on how to do a back loop only DC on that last stitch. I also don't hold the hook in either of the recommended positions. I hold it a lot closer to the tip and use my finger as a anchor for the hook instead of relying on the point to do all the work – Why? Because it is easier for me. If I hold it further down, even just a little, it will really strain my wrist and that's not a good thing for anyone. Just because someone does it that way, doesn't mean you have to as well!
I really hope you picked out what I was saying there. It's okay to watch videos and it's okay to re-watch them. Forgetting something and having to retrace your steps is perfectly okay. It's in no way a show of decline in your abilities, it just shows you are human.
I'd also just like to say that everyone will learn differently too. I first tried to crochet several years ago after my grandmother bought me an edition of a crochet magazine. Even though it was the first of that particular line, so they were showing the very basics, I couldn't understand it. The pictures were confusing and the writing didn't help either. I couldn't even make a chain stitch and so I throw it in the draw and never tried again... until that November day. I tried learning from that same magazine and still couldn't make a chain stitch. I was about ready to give up again when I remembered youtube. I found a beginner friendly video that worked for me and away I went! It's been a few months now and there are still things I can't do! I can't make amigurumi and I can't read graph patterns and both of these are because I haven't practised them yet. It's something I'll just have to do in the future if I decide that is the direction I'd like to go, but until then, I'm quite happy with that I have already achieved!
I personally think it's a good idea to keep a picture record of what you make because you may not see how much you have improved until you really sit down and compare your work. That is, of course, unless you intend to keep all your work. Some people like to give their work to friends and family after all.
And please, please try to remember you will never be completely perfect at any craft! Mistakes will always happen! I still have to pull rows of work out these days that I've done wrong so don't let that discourage you!
I know it's really easy for me to sit here and go on and on about this so just to prove what I have been saying; the other day I made time to sit down and make a second crochet case, I worked on it for most of the day and a few hours the following day also. So here's a picture!
Sorry it isn't the best quality, I took it in the night before pulling it apart, but can you see that top edge is in no way straight, especially on the right hand side? Yeah well that usually happens when the stitch count changes. In this case, my rows were all suppose to be 30 stitches each and so after counting and recounting I have found that they are, indeed, all 30 stitches! So the next logical guess is that my tension changed mid session for one reason or another. I don't think it is a very easy mistake to happen once you have found a comfortable way to keep tension but here it is! You can't see it in this photo but the middle piece between the pockets either side, there I worked a back loop only stitch so that I could connect the two spine pieces later on in the project. The problem here is that, I somehow have ended up with them on the front instead of the back so it is impossible for me to connect the spine in the way intended. I probably could have soldiered on and finished it but I know it would look really messy and I wouldn't be happy with it. I would have had to stretch the right hand side making it all out of proportion and the stitches would have gaps. So sadly, for me, this was the end result!
It's okay though. For now I have decided to leave making another case and work on something I'm a little more comfortable with, but I still have every intention on revisiting this project later on! Not to mention my pile of mess was super soft so I ended up playing with it for a while!
I hope this has been insightful for you guys that managed to read it all. I'm not the best at explaining myself but I still do hope it was a little inspiring. I believe that most of what I said in this post can be adapted to any skill so if there is something you would like to try – Don't let anything hold you back! As for crochet, cross-stitching or any other craft I do that you would perhaps like some help with, feel free to comment or note me and I'll do my best!