Hooking (and not the bad kind)

So...here's what I'm discovering about crochet:

1. It's not knitting (ha!)
2. It's really, really fast (if you're doing it right)
3. It's addictive

Single Crochet for BeginnersI'm down to two books from the library - having returned the other five. I kept Pauline Turner's Beginner's Guide to Crochet and Single Crochet for Beginners. Of the books I checked out, these two were my favorites. I prefer the patterns in the Turner book but Single Crochet for Beginners is the one that's helped me figure out where I've gone (terribly) wrong.

You may remember from my previous crochet post that I was trying to use a bamboo hook. This was the one I already had in my knitting arsenal. As a knitter, one needs the occasional crochet hook to help you pick up dropped stitches or fix errant pulls. Since I knit with bamboo needles, it only made sense to buy a bamboo crochet hook.

Every book that I read showed metal hooks - aluminum or steel (the steel ones are really small) - and I knew there had to be a reason why. So, the other day, I stopped at my local Ben Franklin on the way home. I find Ben Franklin to be a great resource for those quickie things you need on the fly - like a random crochet hook. So, I grabbed on that seemed suitably sized, not too big or too small, and I went home to try again.

My first crochet hook!
WOW! What a difference!

The bit I was struggling with when using the bamboo was picking up the stitch to start doing a single crochet. With the metal hook, picking up is a dream - the hook just slides into the stitch like butter. I found myself flying through rows in no time.

Now the bits I'm struggling with are primarily knitting habits that need to be broken. I keep trying to hold my working yarn in my right hand (I'm a thrower, not a picker) and I really want my tension to be tighter. I'm not sure if we've ever addressed this before but my local knitting friends know me as the "angry knitter" because my stitches are so tight. Gauge is a bitch in my world.  So... I find myself having to move the working yarn into my left hand a lot (it's amazing how much faster it is to pick) and I'm working hard at finding a good tension balance.

The INCORRECT way to hold the yarn
Here are my two attempts thus far:

This is my first attempt. Note how tight the stitches are. They look pretty nice, even though there are tons of mistakes in there. Also, if you'll note the sides, I'm inadvertently reducing.

Not bad. Good, tight stitches!
My second attempt is a bit better. Now my tension is almost too loose - note the big gaps in my work (granted a couple of those are mistakes) - and my stitches are really uneven. However, my "chains" at the top of each row are much cleaner and easier to pick up. Obviously, I haven't corrected the reduction problem. LOL  Although my co-worker, the lovely and talented Lisa, helped me figure out that I was skipping the first stitch on each row and that's why I was losing stitches.

Seriously wonky... you can see where I corrected the reductions
 Attempt number three is going to be to follow a pattern. That should be a laugh-riot. I'll be sure to take pictures and/or video so you all can laugh along with me.

- Alex


  1. Your crochet is better than I can do! I've tried and tried at it, but I'm a complete failure. I wonder if it's because my mind is thinking "knit" when I'm trying to crochet??? I so wanted to make those pretty little crochet flowers!
    Keep up the good work...it really looks like you've got a good handle on it so far.
    Have a great weekend.

  2. *laughs* that's exactly how I've been holding the yarn too. Trying very hard at the moment to force myself to do it right! I found that if I consciously hold the hook like a pencil then it works better. I also had the mysteriously decreasing rows ;) will be watching with interest to see how you get on!

  3. @Angela - Thanks for the encouragement! Truth be told, turning the "knit" brain off has been the hardest part.

    @pinkundine - Yeah... the yarn still has not found a comfortable spot in my left hand. I figure it'll get better with practice. Were you doing the same? Skipping the first stitch by mistake? I guess I need to incorporate counting as part of my crochet routine... :/