Last week over in the Facebook Group I shared a bit of the story behind my very first crochet project and how I got started designing. If you missed the livestream and you're already a member of the group, you can catch it here!
It was a lot of fun chatting with folks about how their first crochet projects went and I even learned a few things about my own journey into designing because my mom popped into the comments to set me straight. I loved it! I couldn't believe that there was a piece of the story that I didn't remember. She said that I was complaining about not being able to find a pattern that I liked for a specific project I wanted to make and so she told me to design one.
"I can't design," I said.
And she said, "Why not? Have you tried it?"
And so I did!
Although it wasn't the thing I was originally looking for. I've never come back around to that idea, actually. (Anybody know a great pattern for a crocheted angel tree-topper??)
But I digress.
My very first crochet project was a worsted weight cotton doily in a mega bright variegated yarn in a ... very groovy colorway! I ... didn't love it. Ha ha, I still don't!
But I do still have it:
Thirty years later. (Shhhh!)
So I must have been proud of it, right?
It lives on the table I normally use to film my video tutorials, actually. And it's very definitely faded on the front side! So it's seen a lot of light over the years. Which is pretty cool.
I was around ten years old when I first learned to crochet. I ... kind of hated it!
Doilies seemed to be particularly without purpose in my eyes. But that's how my mom learned and so that's how she taught me!
She would show me what to do for the first few stitches or the pattern repeat and then I would go do it. When I finished one round, I'd go back to her for the next one. And repeat.
And so a doily was made.
Two, actually! And she has the other one, still. That one might be even uglier than the first one! It's a red and brown variegated thing and she actually has it pinned to a cloth covered embroidery hoop. It may or may not be hanging on her wall...
She does have a love of turning doilies into wall art! Usually with silk or dried flowers attached. I'm not sure why this one escaped such adornment. Or perhaps it didn't and she just relieved it of the flowers once they got too old and dusty? It IS rather hard to dust dried flowers!
To this day I've only ever made one other doily.
And, to be honest, I still don't see much point to them. I made this one with a purpose in mind, though: a background for my new crochet business!
That's a story for another day, though.
This story is about how I first learned to crochet and my first projects. But, since I didn't particularly enjoy my first experience with it, once my mother forced me to finish the two doilies she'd assigned me as part of my home economics school work (she was homeschooling me at the time), I was done with it.
Done! No more crocheting for Connie.
Until ten or twelve years later, on the heels of a deployment to Kuwait, I decided to pick it back up again. I recognized that I missed being creative and I needed to add it back into my life again.
I really don't know what made me pick crocheting.
But I went to the store, found a pattern booklet for a sampler afghan, bought a bunch of yarn, and then called my mother up to teach me how to crochet again. Yes, over the phone!
Remember now, this was way back in 2006 and YouTube was still a pretty new thing (I probably hadn't even heard of it yet) - I didn't have a plethora of tutorial videos to go learn from! So I used the pictures in the booklet and called in help from my mom when I couldn't quite figure something out.
It was probably a bit frustrating for her, but it worked out in the long run!
I went on to crochet scarves and baby blankets and one rather ugly sweater that died a quick death after its first washing. I dabbled in amigurumi, baby clothes, and even baby booties. Those were probably the hardest things I ever made! The instructions were impossibly confusing.
But I never did finish all those squares from the sampler afghan project... I made about 30 of them and then toted them around with me every time we moved. They moved from Missouri to Colorado to Alabama to Texas to Virgina BACK to Texas and then to California.
15 years later, I finally admitted that I was never going to finish making those squares and I joined them all together to make not a full sized blanket, but one that's big enough to be considered a throw blanket.
It was remarkably rewarding to finally join them all together!
I used a braided join technique that I've never been able to find fully fleshed out instructions for, but after improvising my way through doing it a couple times, I sat down and wrote out my own way of doing it.
I'd still like to film a tutorial (or maybe it would need to be a whole class!) one of these days, but for now, the instructions live over on Patreon.
So those are some of my first crochet projects.
Looking back on them now, one thing that I notice if I put my teacher hat on for a moment, is that the stitches are impressively consistent. My tension was more even than I would expect from a beginner crocheter. So perhaps it's a skill I was always meant to have after all.
Just for fun, here's a look at some of my early work. Not designs, just projects for gifts or myself or occasionally for commissions. I linked through to my project pages on Ravelry for the ones that I put in there - some of these were actually pre-Ravelry projects! But that way you can get more info on patterns or yarns if you're curious.
Here we go!
Wow. What a trip down memory lane!
I made a lot more amigurumi than I remembered, ha ha. I made a LOT of those baby birdy rattles. They were great gifts and sold pretty well at the occasional market or craft fair that I attended.
Most of these I made before I really started dabbling in design. So most of these were made by working off of someone else's pattern. I found myself getting frustrated often and then improvising when I didn't quite understand what I was supposed to be doing.
That's a big part of why I started designing! Perhaps I'll share more with you about that next time.
Until then, happy crocheting!