The trials and tribulations of learning a new craft

Learning a new craft can be a daunting prospect; you have all the enthusiasm and curiosity to want to learn, yet the feeling of fear, impatience, frustration and comparison come sweeping in at various points. So for today’s post I wanted to share with you my trials and tribulations of learning a new craft, sharing how I eventually learnt how to crochet.

From time to time I struggle to learn something; getting it to stick in my brain is difficult and I hit wall after wall. I’ve been like it since I was a child and my parents tell me that I’d struggle and struggle and then one day it would get explained to me differently and I’d suddenly ‘get it’ and run with it. I remember being like that with my times tables in fact; I can still remember the struggle I had when all my friends confidentially knew the numbers.

The trials and tribulations of learning a new craft - This Little Space of Mine

The story so far

Learning how to crochet began a couple of years ago for me, when I went to a beginner’s crochet class on how to make a granny square. Oddly, looking back, I did get it but I don’t think I practiced as much as I should have afterwards and then forgot what I’d learnt. A few months later I remember asking my sister to teach me and us arguing because she got frustrated at how left-handed I am (she’s right handed) and how I was holding the hook like knitting needles.

There may have been a few attempts after that, but all ending with either disaster or me getting frustrated and giving up, moving on to knitting or other crafts I can do and found easier. With limited amounts of time for crafting it makes sense that we’d naturally opt for the one(s) we feel comfortable with; crochet was not one of those.

With the year long sky blanket taking over my craft life in 2014 I put crochet to the back of my mind but kept my Pinterest board of ideas. I think the board was once called ‘I wish I could crochet’ and then changed to ‘One day I’ll be able to crochet’. It’s almost like teenage angst and I cringe looking back!

The breakthrough moment

This came to me in the summer; I’d been given a couple of amigurumi kits the Christmas before and wanted to get them done – mainly because we were about to move house and I was mid packing and trying to clear things out. My friend Tam suggested that amigurumi might be a tricky place to start, so my next idea was the ripple blanket. I’d wanted to make Attic 24’s ripple blanket since I read her coast blanket story and had even bought some yarn for the occasion at the Knitting and Stitching show. Disclaimer: the yarn was in no way coastal related, I just liked the colours.

I was able to chain the starting row, with Tam’s supervision, and then Tam did the first row for me; I’m told that’s the hardest bit and being keen to give crochet another go, I was keen to avoid any obstacles that might mean I throw the crochet hook and yarn across the room. That has happened before in frustrating. We’ve all been there, right?

Where am I now?

The ripple blanket is and was the best place for me to start; there’s something so soothing about the stitches and how they go up and down and I found it addictive. Quite slow to start with, as I was constantly counting, but once I got going I was away with it. I haven’t finished the ripple blanket and it’s something I’ve been picking up and putting down for a while now; I hope to finish it this year.

I’ve also made two Heidi Bear Fatty Lumpkin pony’s, started a scrap blanket of granny squares and sent on a couple of snowflakes to Love Knitting’s Snowflake Appeal last November. The snowflake was the first time I’d read a pattern from start to finish all on my own, so I felt a huge achievement in that moment.

To say I’ve run with it is an understatement and I feel great at how much I achieved; Tam and I weren’t sure if I’d be able to make the Heidi Bear pony’s, so I approached it casually and told myself that if I found it too hard it wasn’t a big deal. My confidence has gone from strength to strength after these makes and I’m already planning some more crochet projects for this coming year. The fear has well and truly faded.

Tips for learning a new craft

I wish I had the answers for this; if you’re reading this and experiencing those ups and downs of learning a new craft – whatever that may be – all I’d say is keep going and don’t give up hope. Even if you put it down for a few months and go back to something you can do and enjoy, always aim to go back to it and make small steps forward. I have no idea if it helped, but I wonder if my growing confidence in knitting helped me feel ready to learn how to crochet.

Thank you for reading this post and I hope it’s been helpful. If you have any questions about how I learn a new craft or about crochet specifically drop me a message below, or you can always tweet or email me.

Leanne x

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4 Comments on The trials and tribulations of learning a new craft

  1. Heather
    11/02/2016 at 10:46 am (2 years ago)

    I have mastered granny squares (well, one type of granny square!), but I can’t get my head round following instructions so I feel a bit stuck at this point. I’d love to try a ripple blanket – I’d thought I might try a simple stripe blanket next but maybe ripples is a bit more of a challenge and would be more satisfying.

    I’m thinking we need to organise a little crochet meet and then you can help me!

    • Leanne Beale
      11/02/2016 at 12:15 pm (2 years ago)

      I’d recommend a ripple or granny stripe blanket, while the first couple of rows is tricky, once you’re off it’s quite straightforward and I think more enjoyable than granny squares. Plus Attic 24’s instructions, plus YouTube is a winning combo once you’ve mastered the basics as you have. I’d love a little get together! xx

  2. Jenny
    11/02/2016 at 3:55 pm (2 years ago)

    Well done Leanne πŸ™‚ I was a self-taught crocheter and looking back I don’t know how I managed to make myself stick it out through all the YouTube videos I watched! I’m so glad I did though – and you are quite right just got to stick at it! I love the colours of your granny square blanket in particular πŸ™‚ jenny xxx

    • Leanne Beale
      11/02/2016 at 4:38 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks Jenny! YouTube and lots of patience from friends was the only way for me. πŸ™‚ xx