Patterns and skill level – a little positive reinforcement

Hello all!  I hope this entry finds you all in good health and good spirits!  This past 4th of July took us on a very long road trip for a very short visit.  Ten hours of driving for one night was a bit much,  but my family definitely makes it all worth while!  Since we didn’t leave until 9:00pm Friday, it stands to reason I didn’t do any crocheting on the drive.  Being exhausted from all the  packing and loading (hubby was working 36 hours) and with two little ones snoozing in the back – I didn’t dare!

However, on the way back I was able to flip through my binder of patterns and take a good long look at some of them.  That got me to thinking about the massive number of patterns, skill levels, techniques and materials out there.  It’s sort of amazing.  Hopefully this post will get you excited about the wide world of patterns.  It may all seem like common sense, but sometimes we just need a little encouragement to take the next step.  We were all beginners at some point, and the only place to go from there is up!

Do you have a project “to-do” list?  Well if you don’t, I highly recommend it.  Now, with modern technology, we have access to sooooo many sources, places to purchase materials and websites for inspiration; my grandmother would have been in her glory!  We have the ability to “bookmark” and email ourselves patterns, or even purchase and download them right to our computer.  It’s fantastic!  A true crafters dream.  I will recommend though, printing out any projects that you would like to do in the future.  I am a chronic bookmarker/emailer, but I try to get as many of them printed as I can.  Even make a word document and cut and past them, saving them to your computer.  Because what technology easily giveth, it easily taketh away as well.  You never know when a website or link is going to be moved or taken down, so get them on paper as soon as possible to prevent heartache later on.

Now, while I am in no means a professional, and there are people that have been crocheting a lot longer than I and who have with oodles of talent and experience, I feel like I have picked up a few things since I started a decade ago.  Bottom line though, it doesn’t matter what your skill level is, there is ALWAYS room for learning and improving.  My mother taught me the basics of crocheting which wetted my appetite for the craft, and from there I was able embark on a tour of endless stitches and patterns.  If you are just getting started, welcome!  I can guarantee you will be coming back for more; that is if you start simple.

We all see things that we look at and think “oh heavens, that is gorgeous, I just HAVE to make that”.  Only to look at the pattern and have our dreams of grandeur quickly dashed.  But wait – don’t toss the pattern aside just yet.  The whole idea of expanding your crochet is finding the delicate balance between knowing your limitations while at the same time pushing yourself enough to improve and learn.  To put it another way, when you are a beginner, you want to make sure that you stick to patterns that say beginner or are not too large in scale.  However, you have to make sure that while you are a beginner, you need to venture out into more advanced patterns, you will never grow as a crocheter.

How to do this do you ask? Start with the “small things”.  Granny squares, scarves and dishcloths, and other things with one repeating, fairly easy stitch.  Most patterns will tell you the skill level as well.  For example, check out very beautiful yet simple textured dishcloth pattern from one of my favorite blogs, Petals to Picots (they make great hostess gifts or can replace your drab washcloths).  Once you have gotten a few stitches down and completed a few projects (it is important that you finish a few all the way to the end so you know what a complete project takes), then push yourself a little further.  There are so many great resources for online videos, classes and tutorials.  If you haven’t stumbled upon the Craftsy website, it is a wonderful place for classes, supplies and more.  Also, reach out to fellow crocheters and see what they recommend for the next more-advanced patterns and stitches.  Once you get comfortable with trying something new, it will become easier and easier to tackle something that once seemed impossible.

I guess the three most important things I can say about patterns are these.  One, always save patterns you are interested in, regardless of their difficulty level; you get better and be able to do it someday if you stick with it.  Two, always be willing to try something new while not getting frustrated if it doesn’t work the first time.  Keep trying and know that there are plenty of places and people that can help you, you just need to look and ask; crocheters love to share tips, tricks and ideas.  Also, never underestimate your own abilities.  You would be surprised at what you can teach yourself and accomplish with a little confidence and patience.  Lastly, enjoy crocheting.  You should never dread it or have it feel like a daunting task.  It is a beautiful and rewarding art form that can let you create so many wonderful things.  Jump in and let your imagination run wild!

Well, that’s all for now.  I hope you have a hook in hand and are excited about your  next project, big or small.  The possibilities are endless!

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