Credit: Self

My mother makes the most beautiful crochet blankets for her family, and from the time I was a child, I was intrigued with the intricate loops and stitches of crochet. I would often ask my mother to teach me how to crochet, but it was a frustrating exercise for both of us because, for some reason, I just couldn’t wrap my mind and fingers around the project simultaneously. The itch to stitch never left me and while searching YouTube one day, I came across a tutorial for learning to crochet, it was amazing how quickly I finally understood how to start a blanket, and my skills grew from there. 

While on my journey through the YouTube video tutorials, I ran across knitting and loom tutorials. I tried knitting with small success and always found myself returning to crocheting. When I crochet, I know I have complete control over how my stitches look and feel. Knitting seems to offer only a few kinds of stitches, and I don’t think I’ll ever come to the end of stitches offered by crochet.

angel wingsCredit: selfIf you are new to crochet don’t make the mistake of reaching beyond your skill level. It’s great to be inspired by beautiful patterns, but it is easy to get flustered by tricky instructions if you don’t have the basics. I practiced the basics which include, slip knot, chaining, single crochet, double crochet, and triple crochet, several times before attempting to follow a pattern.

One of the fun things about crochet is the variety of materials you can work with. Store bought yarn is ready to work with right away, but there are other items in your home that you can use to create a skein of yarn. I have used old T-shirts cut in strips and tied together, plastic bags twisted like rope, and recycled yard from sweaters. 

When I first learned to crochet I used the aluminum hooks my mother used. The hooks worked well, but after using them for prolonged periods of time they would feel heavy and my arms and fingers would get tired long before my desire to create was sated. The aluminum hooks would also have a way of digging into my fingers and make repetitive motions torture. Then I discovered a whole array of hooks in my local craft store, some were made from plastic, others hatCredit: selfwood, and varying metals. I took home a package of plastic hooks and was thrilled with their lightness and well-defined hooks which made it easier for me to keep the yarn in place while stitching. When I graduated to following patterns, I needed to keep track of where I started and stopped. The craft store offers many kinds of stitch markers, but my favorite inexpensive marker is to use a safety pin or a contrasting color piece of yarn.

It’s funny, but I find that certain times of the year are more conducive to my craft. When the weather begins to turn colder, and the holidays draw near I find I can’t wait to start making beautiful things. That being said I usually crochet five days out of seven because the repetitive motion is almost like meditating, and it has a very calming effect on me. I have fifteen-minute breaks at work, and I use that time to work on my repeat pattern hats. It’s a great reminder to take a break, and it keeps my fingers in practice for the months I crochet more. 

Box of hatsCredit: selfI love helping to make my community a better place to be, and I can do that with my love of crochet. There are organizations worldwide that want and need crochet blankets, hats, mittens, etc. I am happy to send my finished projects to those in need because it makes me feel good, and it fills a need that would have remained empty.

There are three organizations to which I regularly donate my projects:

Warm Up America[1]: This organization gathers 7”X9” crochet blocks and then sews them together. They take the completed blankets and distribute them to Shelters, nursing homes, hospitals, and others who are in need. Warm Up America is a perfect fit for me because I can use up scrap yarn and the donation site is a local craft store.

God’s Closet[2]: Right in my community there is a excellent foundation which keeps families clothed for one dollar. Every three months there is “shop-day” at a local church and the entrance fee is one dollar per family. Volunteers the night before set up tables of donated items for those who can use them. I have volunteered to separate clothes, and I have contributed crochet items for the “shop-day.” It’s nice to know that my donations are going directly to the community I live in.

Project Linus[3]: This organization takes homemade blankets sewed, knitted, or crocheted, and distributes them to area hospitals for children who need some comfort. I love donating to this project because I love to crochet baby blankets, but there’s not always a baby in my family to give it to. I also like meeting with my fellow crafters in the community, it creates an instant bond between us.

I like to rotate who I donate to, so I never feel like I’m forced to create just one thing. I’m always looking for new places to donate my crafts, do you have any suggestions? 

ShoesCredit: selfAs I look back on how many people, including myself, have benefited from my choice to pursue crochet, I’m wonderfully pleased. I’m glad my mother was an inspiration from the beginning and encouraged me to keep trying, I’m delighted that YouTube has made it easy to learn, maintain, and grow my art, and I’m gratified that my community has given me an outlet to continue to produce more projects.

What’s your favorite craft project? How were you influenced to begin? Let me know your answer in a comment below and give this article a thumbs up.