This month I tried…crochet

When you think of crochet, you probably think of your grandmother, or an elderly lady sitting in a corner making tea cosies and doilies that will never be used. However, this stereotype has long been blown out of the water. Not only crochet, but other creative hobbies such a knitting, sewing, colouring in and cooking are becoming popular.

Moneybags journalist Jessica Anne Wood tried crochet and found that patience is a virtue, but if you stick it out, the rewards can be great.

Getting started

I have no experience crocheting and there was no one at hand with any experience that I could approach for help so I resorted to researching it on YouTube.

The good news is that you can find videos on a variety of stiches and how to get started to more advanced projects when you are more competent.

It does take patience and perseverance though. You have to be prepared to make mistakes and just keep going. It might be a time consuming task learning how to do it, but since picking it up, I have found crocheting much easier than knitting. Admittedly I am still learning and can only work two different stitches at present.

The costs

Like any hobby, it can be as expensive as you want to make it. As a beginner, there is no need to spend hundreds of Rands on wool and equipment. When I went to purchase my crochet hook and first ball of wool, the woman in the store, Chocolate & Vanilla in West Coast Village, Cape Town, was very helpful. She advised it’s best to buy cheap wool that will not spilt when starting out, as you are bound to make mistakes. I spent R20 on wool, but this price may vary depending where you purchase the wool and what type of wool you purchase. I chose Charity wool in fuchsia.

For the crochet hook, there are a variety of sizes from tiny heads to large ones. The sales woman suggested that I start with a 5mm hook, and it is the standard size. As a tip, if you look on the label that comes with the ball of wool, it will provide an advised crochet hook size for the type of wool you are working with, as well as the washing instructions.

My hook cost me R15, but again, this may vary depending on the type of hook you choose and where you purchase it. There are now crochet hooks available with LED lights in the head to help you see better, and you can find them made from a variety of materials including wood.

As a beginner, I would definitely recommend starting with something cheap and if crochet is something that you think you will stick with, then consider spending more money on hooks and wool as you become more experienced.

Teaching yourself

Online videos are not the only way to learn crochet. There are a number of books and magazine subscriptions that come with wool and hooks. Recently launched in South Africa is ‘The Art of Crochet’. With each issue you learn a new stitch and get a ball of wool. With each new stitch you work into a ‘granny square’, will eventually be made into a colourful throw, a final product for all your hard work.

With each magazine, you also get patterns to make a variety of items. At present I am working on a scarf made using the double crochet stich.

The first issue costs R19.95 and comes with two balls of wool and your first crochet hook. After that the cost does increase. According to the website, issue 2 costs R29.90, after which it will be R49.90 an issue.

There are a number of other magazines that contain the same content as ‘The Art of Crochet’, but many of them are imported from overseas, and cost more.

The fun side of crochet

It might not be for everyone, but I find that crocheting is calming as I am forced to focus on what I am doing and block out other thoughts and stresses. You can also work with any colour you want (as long as you can find the colour wool you are looking for). There is also no end to the projects you can tackle once you have mastered the skill, from a relatively basic item like a scarf, to clothing.

The Internet is a treasure trove of instructional videos and patterns. At the end of the day it can also be a great skill when it comes to giving presents. A ball of wool at R20 and the time it takes you to crochet a scarf, can save you and money if you give it as a gift. Being homemade, you can also pick the colour you know your friend or family member will like, and has the special element of being made especially with that person in mind.

To read our review on another creative pastime, colouring in for adults, click here.