Crochet Resolution #1

If I’ve learned anything from my lackluster performance concerning New Year’s Resolutions for 2011, it’s that the key to greater success in 2012 is to keep the list really really short… and absolutely doable.

DoubleDogDangit, I had some brilliant but unfulfilled resolutions from last year, for example: “screw not with deadlines, you procrastinator”, “lose those horrible, lingering five pounds”, “blog more often”, “exercise, you slug”, “organize the stash, you slob”.  Similar hopes for a better self have populated my list of resolutions for the past decade, ever witness to the foolish belief that I could change my nature in the span of a year. So I’ve decided to shift all of that stuff into a Ten Year Plan. Knowing that I don’t have to obsess over any of those things yet has instantaneously lifted my mood.

You’re not supposed to begin a numbered list if there’s only one thing in the list.  By labeling this “Crochet Resolution #1” I am implying, promising that there will be a #2 and perhaps even more.  No.  There can be only one. I should go back and change the blog post title, but it sounds better as is, so I think I’ll let this slide.

My number one and only one resolution for 2012 is deceptively simple: teach someone to crochet.  Many crochet professionals wouldn’t need to make a big deal or special resolution out of this because teaching happens to them as a matter of course. But those four words scare the hell out of me.

Teaching beginning crochet isn’t about one’s own expertise or experience or how many books you’ve written, how many designs you’ve published or how many awards you’ve garnered in your career because none of that matters to someone who doesn’t speak crochet. It’s about understanding exactly what’s happening every time you pick up a crochet hook.  It’s about breaking down the complex, compound motions of crochet into their constituent elements and then effectively communicating them to a total newbie who may very well be silently cursing you. I am in fear of being reviled.

Most of what I do with crochet is… well… rather complicated and leaves beginners flinging their hooks and projects against the wall in frustrated disgust.  I am best received by experienced crocheters who are conversant in the language of lace and aren’t put off by long, convoluted crochet patterns.  In other words I can teach techniques and constructions to those who already have crazy skills. This is easy compared to teaching beginners, trust me.

In order to succeed at teaching someone to crochet, I need to find the right victims… uh… students; I needs me newbies who are gung-ho but not too scarily so, as well as dedicated, self-sacrificing and patient beyond belief. Toward that end I have volunteered to join Vickie Howell and other noteworthy instructors at the Beginner Lounge at Vogue Knitting Live, 14 and 15 January in New York.  Throughout the weekend I’ll be that small person with the crochet hook lurking among the many knitting teachers, cringing in terror. If just one person shows up, looks me in the face and says “Yes, you can do this”, then I’ll be on the way to making my one heartfelt resolution for 2012 succeed.  Come and help me learn how to teach you how to crochet. 🙂

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16 thoughts on “Crochet Resolution #1

  1. Love the resolution! Teaching a newbie isn’t for the faint of heart, and if you can figure out some tricks…hope you share! What’s even more challenging is when they’re holding that hook in their left hand (four of my most recent crochet students, believe it!)

      • Actually, you’re not. I’m a lefty and learned to crochet with the hook in my right hand. It was hard until I figured out that I should keep the hook relatively motionless and use my left hand wrap yarn around the hook, push the hole in the fabric where I want my next stitch onto the hook with my left hand and move along like that. It is so effortless to work that way that I recommend the technique to righties as well.

  2. I think you’re underestimating your teaching skills. I read all three of your books when I was (after about a gazillion attempts to learn) finally figuring out how crochet into a chain. Everything is explained so well that it made me understand where things were going and why even if my tension was too wonky and my work too slow to pick up one of your patterns. I think of you as one of my ‘teachers’! So go forth and teach, you crochetrix extraordinaire!

  3. My dear, I am a crochet instructor and I am completely in awe of you. It is only because of the general instructions in your book, Everyday Crochet, that MY crochet resolution for 2012 is to crochet an actual GARMENT for myself, instead of my usual assortment of accessories, afghans, decorative items and the like. All if this to say YOU CAN DEFINITELY DO THIS!!!

  4. I have been asked by a lady that has MS to teach her to crochet. Talk about a challenge. She knows how to chain st and that’s it. I figure if she can teach school for over 20 years she can do anything. I have been asked before but never followed through.
    I did teach my granddaughter to chain st when she was 5. She called it sewing, lol.

  5. You can do iiiiittttttt!!!! You will get beginners at the bar at VKL (if last year’s mob scene is anything to go by). Just breathe, smile, have the crochet hook ready – and have fun. Good luck!

  6. Happy New Year Doris
    I would so love to complete a top from your Book that I have owned for many years, but cannot understand Would you explain the shells more clearly some time, I have searchedeverywhere from Rvelry to the library HELP!!! You are a master of Crochet and I
    really wish I could understand your instructions better and more concise but you leave me perplexed=}

  7. I agree with SarahAboard. I tried to figure out FSC before you and ended up tossing in the whole project. Not saying I am a slow learner you understand but proper semantics and communications goes a long way in teaching a skill. Dang it’s not that hard to teach, but take just this past holiday trying to figure out what this woman was saying in the last issue of Crochet magazie when I fell in love with her Red Sweater. It took me almost a week to figure out the pattern stitches by trying to follow the instructions…grr. .I finally had to look closely at the picture. And I can assure you that I have done far more complicated things…know what I didn’t come in here to discuss this. I want to say I am going to make every effort to see you next week Ms. Chan. Yeah!!!!

  8. Unable to start a new crochet project this morning due to a nasty headache I decided the next best thing to do was scour the patterns on Ravelry. It is my desire, not resolution :), to start crocheting garments again. My daughter was about two the last time I did and she is now “twenty-something”! Actually, I hadn’t crocheted in many, many years until last year when a friend was recruiting knitters and crocheters to make wool caps for the troops in Afghanistan. I was on board. We sent a couple hundred in total. That, coupled with a job transfer that requires me to fly from Las Vegas to Phoenix a couple times a week, and the need to find something portable to fill this down time, got me back into crocheting. I started with something easy…I made potholders, dishcloths and a market bag for everyone on my Christmas list. Time to move up to something a little more challenging.

    On Ravelry, I was drawn to many gorgeous, classy garments…then I realized they were designed by the same person. YOU! That was it…I had to google you, which led me here.

    I immediately signed up to “follow” you. I enjoy your humor. I love your designs. Now, just to figure out which design I will tackle first!

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