After ogling a host of beautiful crochet projects from my crocheter friends over the years, I recently decided I’d had enough: I needed to learn to do this, too. 2022 is the year this knitter learns to crochet, friends.
Now, to be clear, I kinda-sorta know how to crochet, but it’s not great. My technique is a mess and my stitch vocabulary is limited. I’ve taken half-hearted steps to fix things before, but for some reason, things seem to have clicked this time.
You see, earlier this year, Brittany Garber over at Knot Bad Britt released the Intentions Wrap, and I fell head over heels in love. This was it. This was the crochet design that would break me out of my inertia and force me to improve my crochet techniques.
I needed this wrap. I needed it real bad.
Flashback: A Child Learns to Crochet, but Badly
I first learned to crochet when I was about eight years old. I used one of my mom’s hooks and a skein of pastel rainbow-colored acrylic, and with the help of my patient mom, I managed to, uh, kind of make something? It looked like a half-finished loofah, all rumpled and crinkled and puckered, but it was mine. I was proud.
I eventually managed to get things to stay flat, but my sides were a great big mess. They were raggedy and jagged and looked like the edges of a left-justified paragraph. Not pretty.
I gave up for about a decade there, until I started knitting in law school when I was 22. Then I remembered I could kind of crochet, too, so I made a few projects. They were okay, but nothing to get excited about.
For anybody who learns to crochet as a kid, this can be a common trajectory.
Muddling Along Through the Middle
That’s basically where things have been for the past 15 years now. I signed up for an online Irish crochet class a couple years ago but, because of a technique problem I didn’t know I had, my stitches were painfully tight. Then I had trouble inserting the hook, gripped the hook too tight as a result, and wound up hurting my hands while working on projects.
I stuck to crocheted bobbles on my knitting projects and left it at that.
Or at least, that was the plan until I saw Britt’s design. Then I knew I had to make this thing, and I had to figure it out fast.
Finally Getting Things Right
This time around, I knew I wanted to figure things out the right way, and after a tip from an editor over at TKGA, I realized I might actually be forming some of my stitches wrong.
So I went back to the basics.
By which I mean I fired up Ye Olde YouTube and looked for a video about which way I was supposed to wrap the yarn around the hook. Wouldn’t you know, it turns out that was the problem all along. While I was wrapping correctly for yarnovers and later stages of a stitch, I was wrapping the wrong way for the first drawn-through loop in a crochet stitch. That partially twisted the stitch and made it too tight.
(Side note: yeah, my terminology still needs work. Baby steps!)
Once I had that issue sorted out, it was a simple matter of stitching away–or so I thought. I had forgotten I only actually know a few crochet stitches, and Britt’s pattern used a few I didn’t know.
YouTube came to the rescue once again and taught me how to work a foundation half double crochet and an extended double crochet. My first attempts were… wobbly, to put it gently. As the muscle memory came back, though, I found things smoothed out, and a little blocking will help hide the worst of the wobbles (though to be honest, I pulled out the first few rows and started again after I figured out how to work the stitches more smoothly).
Now things are flying along, and I’m about a quarter of the way done with my wrap. I’m so excited to see how it turns out! I’ll check back in with you all with the finished wrap as soon as possible.