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Magazines of the Week 14th July 202314th July 2023
Last year I embarked on an exciting self-learning journey to master the art of crochet. A new partwork series piqued my interest, promising to guide beginners through the crochet process, one week at a time. I felt an irresistible pull towards it and eagerly anticipated the arrival of these installments.
When they finally reached me, I lost no time in diving into my crochet adventure. It was an intriguing ride filled with challenges and occasional frustrations, especially when the reality proved to be trickier than my initial expectations. To overcome these roadblocks, I sought aid from various online resources.
It was during this quest that I stumbled upon Bella Coco Crochet’s Youtube channel. Her tutorials became my beacon in the complex world of crochet, guiding me towards proficiency. Her instructions provided such clarity that my progress became almost unstoppable!
I enjoyed working on the Disney squares I’d originally purchased, however, as I grew more skilled, a yearning for more complex and intricate projects started to develop. The journey, as they say, had just begun.
My passion for crochet truly solidified when I crafted an octopus and a hat. From that point onwards, I found myself entirely hooked on crochet – a pun intended nod to the crochet hook that had become an extension of my hand. Over the subsequent six months, I undertook and completed an impressive array of projects.
The pride I felt in acquiring a new skill, primarily self-taught but bolstered by the support of YouTube tutorials, was immense. This transformative journey of self-learning not only enhanced my creativity but also instilled a deep sense of accomplishment.
This newfound skill of mine has also proven to be an incredible source of thoughtful gifts for my loved ones. One of my most cherished projects was a blanket I painstakingly crafted for my nana’s birthday in March. This labour of love consumed nearly the entire month, and composed of 25 individually sewn squares.
The design was inspired in part by the 2022 Advent Calendar from Crochet Society. I incorporated half of their patterns, carefully selecting colors that would blend seamlessly with my nana’s home décor.
Every stitch, every square, every minute spent on this project felt truly rewarding when I saw her reaction upon receiving it. Her joyous surprise was worth all the effort I had put into this labour of love. Below, you can see a photograph of the completed blanket draped over the back of her sofa.
My crochet adventure has been made all the more enjoyable through the acquisition of an array of crochet magazines. Titles such as “Crochet Now,” “Simply Crochet,” “Inside Crochet,” and “100 Days of” are now treasured parts of my growing collection. Each edition is a veritable treasure trove of exquisite patterns, each more captivating than the last.
The process of collecting these magazines has become a joy in itself. Not only do they serve as a continuous source of inspiration for my future projects, but they also allow me to add a personal touch to each creation. I enjoy adding a unique twist to each design, whether that be through a change in colour palette or the choice of yarn. This approach keeps my work fresh and exciting, continually fueling my love for crochet.
Embarking on clothing items has been a thrilling addition to my crochet journey. There are countless designs I’m eager to bring to life! The first clothing piece I created was a charming cardigan. The pattern, extracted from a Crochet Society box I received in January 2022, turned out to be a perfect fit for my daughter. She absolutely adores it and the colour combination really sings.
Emboldened by the success of the first project, I then took on a slightly more ambitious endeavor – a long granny square cardigan. Inspired by the eye-catching designs flooding my Instagram feed, I set out to create my own. I started with an array of brightly colored squares, ideal for summertime wear, and then meticulously joined them together.
The response to this cardigan has been overwhelmingly positive. Not only have I received numerous compliments, but the sheer joy I feel when wearing it is immeasurable – so much so that I find myself donning it for work on occasion! This project truly embodies the joy and satisfaction that comes from seeing one’s handmade creations come to life.
The popularity of my creations has resulted in a growing list of friends and family eager to own a piece of my handiwork. Thus, I foresee my crochet future filled with many more such personalised items.
Following the major projects, I was craving a quicker venture. The result was an enchanting skirt that took only a few evenings of post-work crafting to complete. The pattern, which I purchased from @crochet.by.ge on Instagram, was another source of inspiration, as are the countless magazines I devour. As an added bonus, I tweaked the colour scheme to utilise some of the ample yarn supply I’ve amassed over the past six months. Once again, my daughter was the lucky recipient of my handcrafted item – are you noticing a pattern yet?
If you’ve ventured into clothing stores this spring/summer season, you’ve likely noticed the crochet trend taking the fashion world by storm. However, it’s important to note that not all items marketed as ‘crochet’ truly are – many are machine-knitted imitations designed to emulate the unique crochet style. Given the intricate nature of crochet, it can’t be replicated by machines, leading to this pseudo-crochet proliferation. To the untrained eye, these items could easily pass as crochet until held up against the real deal.
Bella Coco, a respected figure in the crochet community, wrote a comprehensive blog post on this very topic on her website. She details the process of crafting a handmade crochet bag and the corresponding costs, comparing these with high street stores selling ‘crochet’ items. You can read her insights here.
Interestingly, my mum recently spotted a bag in Marks and Spencer that caught her fancy. She sent me a photo of the bag, teasingly asking if I could recreate it in time for her upcoming holiday. Never one to back down from a challenge, I accepted, and managed to complete the bag with days to spare!
There’s a distinct satisfaction that washes over me when I see items in stores and realise, with a sense of quiet pride, that I can recreate them myself. Not just replicate, but enhance the quality through the tender care of handcrafting and the touch of love that infuses each stitch.
At present, I’m engrossed in making bags as year-end gifts for my children’s school teachers. If the idea of learning to crochet has ever crossed your mind, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Dive into some YouTube tutorials, and I guarantee you won’t regret it! Just be warned, you may need an intervention to curb your burgeoning yarn collection and an additional room to house it all!