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Crocheting – it can’t be that hard can it? I can knit, so I think I’d like to learn to crochet. So I booked a place on a crochet workshop for beginners and with lots of enthusiasm turned up full of anticipation at a heavenly wool shop (Fibre & Clay) in Knutsford. I would spend the day chatting with like-minded ladies, drinking coffee and eating a nice lunch, whilst learning a new skill.
Hmmm! It didn’t quite turn out as I expected. Firstly I have to confess to having a raging hangover having spent the previous evening (and early morning) at a charity evening, where wine flowed freely. As we don’t get out very often we made the most of it and went on to a bar for cocktails (de rigeur in Knutsford anyway). Some bright spark (neither me nor Nic!) then voted to have a night cap at someone’s house – logically this had to be whoever needed to send the babysitter home. 2 hours later we ejected some well oiled neighbours out of our house and a short 5 hours later my alarm clock went off! My lasting memory of the evening was sharing with the group that I didn’t want to drink too much, otherwise I would be breathing alcoholic fumes over the ladies on the crochet workshop. Some smart Alec from the group quipped that “at least it would disguise the smell of wee” – see blog below for stereotypical views of people who knit (or crochet).
Sitting on Saturday morning, sipping coffee from designer mugs, surrounded by hand crafted bags and garments (still feeling dreadful), I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a crochet hook and some nice wool. We all browsed through magazines and books, picking out items we would be rushing to make by the end of the day… We established that we were all more or less crochet virgins (some had dabbled a little long time ago) and so were all at the same stage. 4 hours later I was still at the same stage at the bottom of class, along with Nicola (it’s always nice to have some company), whilst other members of the group were flying along with their chains, treble trebles, gaily changing colours and yarns and discussing how many fluted scarves they could make in time for Christmas! Nicola and I on the other hand would have been happy to finish a coaster for a shot glass by Christmas – the same one we started but came nowhere near completing in 5 hours! Nicola labelled us the “special needs crocheters” as we seemed to be so differently abled to the rest of the class! We couldn’t even master wrapping the yarn around our fingers to get the right tension, never mind pull a tiny loop down through 3 or 4 equally tiny loops with a hook that seemed to be like a cricket bat!
By lunchtime I had completed 2 whole rows of my coaster – ignoring the fact that it was shaped like a banana and I had an epiphany when I realised that I could turn the crochet hook, rather than holding it rigidly at the same angle all the time. Imagine trying to use a knife or fork without flexing, turning your fingers or hands comfortably around it. Lunch seriously eased my hangover and I returned to the crochet cell with renewed vigour… until I realised that we were now embarking on a new adventure – crocheting in a circle to produce a so-called granny ring. I almost lost the plot completely until I decided to rebel slightly and continue with my coaster. By 4.00pm I was the proud owner of half a coaster (it’s not actually level enough to risk placing a drink on it) and had mastered the double, half treble, double treble AND the treble treble. Rashly I bought some gorgeous pink soft yarn and a hook with the aim of crocheting a bag for Abigail. I set off home eager to put my new skill into practise.
Halfway through Strictly (about three hours later) I abandoned the crocheting, having cast on 30 chains and completed 1 and a half very bumpy rows. I picked up my knitting and quickly finished another hat and made significant headway on the next one by bed time. I came to the conclusion that trying to crochet on my own at home could be compared to leaving the hospital with your new born baby for the first time. At hospital with the midwives on hand to help all the time you think you think you’ve mastered it, but flying solo at home is a whole different ball game. And I don’t think Sarah, our wonderful and extremely patient teacher would want to move in and nursemaid me until I could go it alone.
Don’t get me wrong – crocheting and me are not finished – I’m still very enticed by the wealth of delicate items that can be crocheted (fluted scarf for one) and I will pick up the hook and go back into battle another day. I will not be beaten!!

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I’d love to hear your comments too!

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