Sunday, 19 February 2012


In February of 2010, Lesley and I did an interview for the UK handmade blog and the final question we were both asked was 'If you had time to learn a new skill, what would it be?'. Lesley answered 'Tatting' and my answer was : 'crocheting – using vintage thread of course. Also bookkeeping, I need all the help I can get with that one!'

The brain splinter I had the whole time was to be able to make vintage looking five petalled flowers in faded old threads to include in Medieval/Victorian workbox inspired accessories. I think I'd got the idea from these lace samples I'd bought at a vintage fair.

Well this Christmas I'd asked for 'The Happy Hooker' book and I bought a set of hooks from ebay but still to no avail, I just couldn't wrap my yarn around it! Once again the crochet got shelved and I resigned myself to a skill unmastered. Until my lovely friend Sharon stepped in. Almost immedietely on our arrival for tea at her house, she put a hook, some sparkly yarn and a glass of white in my hand and informed me quite bluntly that I was not leaving until I had made a granny square. She knew all along that she could teach me but I was a little resistant, I'd tried and tried after all and my loops were still tight and my yarn was still split. But with a quiet, smiling certainty Sharon insisted that if I followed her instructions I could do it - anyone can.

She firmly corrected me when I screwed it up, when I got it right she encouraged me in a 'Of course that's right - it's that simple' kind of a way and one glass later I had a 3" piece of very wobbly double crochet in sparkly teal wool. OK then, moving on - straight headlong into the granny square, guess what - it's easy! My friend's approach is that she is 'sharing' rather than teaching, she has discovered something joyful and firmly insists to the most unsuspecting people that they share in the joy. The yarn and hook is presented as both a gift and as a  binding contract between giver and receiver and you feel unable to fail. And she is right, we DO need crochet like we need those new boots or NY vanilla cheesecake, we will forgo sleep for it and work on a blanket in public unashamed.

As you can see I have now completed my first project with the balls of James C Brett Twinkle as bequeathed by my tutor, mentor and possibly my religious leader! My knee rug is 120cm square and used up more or less every scrap of Twinkle Yarn I had. I have since met some amazing crochetists and discovered some wonderful online resources. I'm never going to be in their league I don't think, I will always be a fabric and thread kind of a girl at heart, but what about my vintage flowers? Well using this wonderful tutorial from Applehead, they too are becoming a reality! I am definitely needing some even smaller hooks than the 2mm one I have used so far and I may also need a magnifier if I'm honest, but my first attempts are encouraging and I am looking forward to combining them with some old pearl beads and bronze findings to combine my new skill with some Wychbury style!

Happy Hooking!
Paula x

Many thanks to Sharon Lambert, Chrissie Freeth at The Yorkshire Craft Co. , Christine Harvey of Rose Cottage Crafts, and the Attic 24 blog which is amazing!


Ailsa (Topaz Magpie Jewellery) said...

I love this! I've also just started crocheting - I haven't braved a granny square yet, but it will happen. It's just so lovely to have something softer, which can be done whilst sitting in front of the telly to occupy the hands - and which looks so pretty!

Paula and Lesley, said...

Honestly Ailsa, the granny square is a breeze after tring to crochet single and double as you are putting your hook straight into the big holes between the clusters instead of trying to wriggle it into the chain. Glad you have the bug too - thanks for your comment px