Every now and then, I will receive an email from one of you lovely followers asking me if there are any tips I could offer to help you become a better crocheter. I’ve thought about all the different ideas I could offer, like blocking the finished blanket or changing hook sizes to get the tension to not be so loose or too tight. Those things definitely help, but the more I thought about it, I realized there were really three things that I started doing a few years ago that really helped me improve my skills.
1. I practice crochet every day
I practice crochet every day–even if it is only for ten minutes. Even if I am tired, aching, out of ideas, have no idea what to make, and even if I don’t want to. I crochet. And I practice with all sorts of yarn. There’s a ball of cotton by my bed with a G, H and I size hook next to it–because I want to compare what each size does. I have a ball of wool in my car, just to practice hats. I might undo it, but I’m curious as to what herringbone half looks like in the round versus back and forth for a blanket. I practice bobbles and chevrons, then when I feel like I’ve got the hang of those, I grab a stitch book and try to learn a new one. I look and observe. I undo and do. So then when I go to the yarn store and touch and analyze the yarn on the shelves, I’ll know that for me, that wool I see will look amazing in the herringbone half, not just a regular DC and I’ll be able to tell which yarns will work great with bobbles or chevrons.
By practicing these stitches every day, even if they never end up as a project, my mind is always expanding and coming up with ideas I would have never thought of off the top of my head. It’s ten little minutes that add up to an extra hour each week, and now as time has gone by, I look back and stitches that were tricky before are now a piece of cake and I’m getting better and better at figuring out which stitches work best with which yarn.
2. I share my crochet every day.
I share my crochet most every day on Instagram–even if it’s only a few rows or if I don’t have anything specific I’m making. I’m offering up my talents, with the attitude that I’m just trying to do my small bit to make the world more beautiful through my creations. I think if we all took more time to create just for the sake of creating we could all be more uplifted and inspired each day. We all have different voices and in some way, all the voices need to be heard, even if it’s only by one other person.
Plus, it’s the only way I know of that helps us learn from one another. So when I share an Instagram post I make sure I list the stitch I’m using, the yarn type or brand, the hook size etc. It’s not only helped me to remember what I’ve made but also help others to identify stitches and to learn about this wonderful craft. Sharing in this way has connected me with so many people all over the world that I would never have thought possible. They offer encouragement, love, and inspiration for even more projects. It also motivates me to keep working on a project. It gives me a reason to keep going instead of putting down a project out of boredom.
3. I undo my mistakes as soon as I notice them.
I undo my mistakes as soon as I notice them. I also check for mistakes after every row and take time to count and make sure the sides are lining up properly. I’ve learned to be willing to undo three or more rows without hesitating because the finished product needs to be as close to perfect as possible. Even after I finish, there still will be one or two mistakes I did not notice that I will accept. I’ll privately take note and work harder next time to pay attention. I’ll forgive and be kind to myself about it and then love the project I made even though there is a missing stitch or two. I am human after all, and not a machine. A machine can’t even crochet. There isn’t anything that can replicate the stitches of crochet except two human hands. But, my projects improved significantly when I just un-did and re-did. And trust me, it takes guts to undo hours of work and it’s a humbling thing to do, but in the long run, it’s the right thing to do and makes your work a lot better.
And honestly, when I followed my own advice and did these three things, I not only became a better crocheter, I became better. These same skills have seeped into my regular life. I finally have learned that if I’m going to be good at anything, it requires practice. It’s a must. And, sharing has only ever brought love and good things back to me by the bucket loads. Whether I share feelings, skills, or material possessions, it always comes back and benefits me in one way or another. And for checking mistakes, how many times in my life have I had to humble myself and start over. I’m always grateful when I do, but when I don’t, those mistakes become the fabric of who I am.
And, I’m always willing to pick up a hook and start new.