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It’s National Crochet Month, so I thought this would be a good story to share with you.

Just after I finished second grade we moved to Ohio, where most of my father’s family lived. One of those family members was Grandma Clark, my father’s mother’s mother.

We would go to Grandma Clark’s apartment for Sunday dinner. I don’t remember if it was every Sunday, every other Sunday, the first Sunday of the month…I just know it was at least once a month, and it was Sundays. I loved it! Grandma Clark was awesome. She was a seamstress by profession, and she also crocheted. I knew I was an artist, just as Grandma Clark’s daughter, Vada, had been. At the time I had no idea I would become a costume designer, and then transition into a crochet and knit designer and blogger. I mean really, there was no such thing as a blogger then. There was no internet then. It would be 2 years before we even owned our first computer, an Apple IIe. But I knew I was an artist, just like Vada. I think I turned into a mix of Vada and Grandma Clark. Grandma Clark had the technical skills, the sewing and the crocheting, and Vada had the design skills. I have mixed them both.

I’m a bit off topic here, the story is supposed to be how I learnt to crochet. So let’s get to that.

I don’t remember if I asked her to teach me to crochet, or if she decided I should learn, but either way, she taught me. I remember sitting next to her on the couch in her little apartment in Columbus, Ohio. It always smelled so good in there. She made us such delicious dinners that filled the entire building with wonderful smells! I remember sitting there next to her, and the yarn and hook in her hands. I remember her fingers bent a bit the wrong way, but she held onto that hook and showed me what to do. She gave me a hook and some yarn and showed me how to crochet a chain.

As the Sundays moved by, she taught me single crochet, half double crochet, double crochet. She taught me crocheting in rows that go straight up, not all slanty to one side or the other. She taught me granny squares. She taught me decorative stitches, and other nifty tips. She taught me to crochet. She taught me to crochet with pride. She taught me to crochet without mistakes.

I remember the Sunday when we were working on rows. I couldn’t get the starts and stops right, so my work was slanting. She unraveled it all back to the first row and had me do it right. It was painful for my dad. He saw all the work I had done being un~done. I didn’t mind. I wanted to know how to do it right.

I am so grateful that Grandma Clark would take my work and unravel it if there was a mistake that needed to be fixed. I think about all the times I work on something and take a look at it and see something wrong. I have no fear of unraveling it and fixing it. Sometimes I design something and hours upon hours in I see it is just not working. I take a deep breath and remove hours upon hours of work. I do it because Grandma Clark taught me that crochet is art, and art is a process. Sometimes a very long process. I do it because Grandma Clark taught me it is OK to make a mistake, but only as long as you fix it. I do it because Grandma Clark passed away on a hospital bed in my living room when I was 14 years old, and now I crochet for her, and I design for her daughter, Vada, so I want it to be right.

At least I crochet and design partially for them, or maybe more because of them, I do it for my family. I do it so Doug can leave jobs 2 and 3 and see the girls more. I do it so I can be home with the girls, and I can go pick them up from school when they get sick. I do it because it makes me happy. I do it because I can, because I was raised to believe in myself, and to do what makes me happy.

Speaking of being raised to believe in myself and do what makes me happy; there are a LOT of skills I learned from my parents as well. My father owned his own business until a few years after I finished undergrad. My mother was a stay at home mom, who went back to college when I was in grade school, and had earned her masters degree by the time I graduated high school. Now she works for the Department of Defence, teaching the children of our military men and woman living on bases overseas. From them I learned the skills and confidence I needed to create my home business. To fearlessly decide, with a husband, twin girls, and a house to care for (OK, I neglect the house a bit), I am going to create my own little Jessie At Home empire.

Yet there would be no Jessie At Home empire without Grandma Clark. Without that couch in that wonderful smelling apartment. Without those Sunday dinners.

Thank you Grandma Clark. I love you.

 

P.S. I would love to hear the stories of how all of you learnt to crochet! Please post them in the comments here, or, if you have a page of your own and want to share the story there, post a comment and the link to your story here. Be sure to post a comment with your link, as posting just a link will toss you into my spam folder and I get far too much spam to be able to search through it all.

P.P.S. 🙂 Fiber Flux has put together a list of quite a few awesome designers and how they learnt to crochet. Check out her post here!

Jessie-At-Home

©Copyright 2014 Jessie Rayot / Jessie At Home All my videos, patterns and posts are my own work. Do not copy them in any way. If you want to share this information with someone, share the link to this post. If you want to share on your own blog / website, then you may use the first photo in this post and link back to this post. You may not give away printed copies of this post. Thank you.

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14 Comments

14 Comments on How I learnt to crochet.

  1. Destiny
    March 19, 2014 at 3:16 pm (3 years ago)

    I too learnt from my grandma. At the age of 8 I became very interested in the yarn that had been sitting for quite some time. I finally asked her about it and she was more then happy to show me how to start a chain. She is a very sweet lady and would teach her grandchild anything and everything!
    Once I mastered the chain to her liking she showed me a ‘single’ stich. Which later on through trial and error I figured out was a half-double. We worked on this afghan off and on for months. Her doing a row or two then I’d do some. But for some reason our edges were off, we decided to keep going and then put a edging hopefully covering up the odd edges.
    When it was almost finish my grandparents came to visit us at my house and she brought the afghan with her. She let me know that my grandpa had watched what she was doing and instructed that she was doing it wrong, 2 chains to start a row instead of 1. He has never crocheted but after watching his own mother he knew exactly what my grand mother and I were doing wrong.
    So we took the entire thing out and started over. I still have that afghan 12 years later and will keep it dear to my heart.
    I am now teaching my 8 year old step daughter. She has gotten the chain down and is now working on the real single stitch 🙂

    Reply
    • Jessie
      March 19, 2014 at 4:09 pm (3 years ago)

      What a lovely story!! And, on top of that, you also happen to be one of the National Crochet Month pattern winners! Check out my sale patterns at my Ravelry page a choose a pattern you want, knit or crochet, either is fine. Then send me a message on Ravelry letting me know which one you would like.

      Congratulations, and thank you!

      Reply
      • Destiny
        March 19, 2014 at 4:33 pm (3 years ago)

        Yay!!!! Thank you! I’m not sure if I sent the email correctly or choose from the right patterns.

        Reply
        • Jessie
          March 19, 2014 at 6:55 pm (3 years ago)

          You sure did! I sent you the Emma pattern, have fun with it!

          Reply
          • Destiny
            March 19, 2014 at 7:07 pm (3 years ago)

            Thank you again!

  2. Ann Le Roy
    March 19, 2014 at 5:55 pm (3 years ago)

    I really enjoyed reading your blog post, I don’t have an interesting story on learning.

    Reply
    • Jessie
      March 19, 2014 at 6:55 pm (3 years ago)

      That’s fine, I’m glad you like the blog! 🙂

      Reply
  3. Mandi Nowak
    March 19, 2014 at 9:17 pm (3 years ago)

    As a 4 and 5 year old, I visited with my Grandmother at her elderly friend’s house and was intrigued watching her friend make lacy doilies. I never forgot that. At age 10, I borrowed a book from the library. Opened from one cover, it was How to Crochet and if flipped over, opened from the other side it was How to Knit. I learned both from that little book. My first project was a lacy, doily type dress for my Barbie Doll, my own design with a full skirt. It fit and I was “hooked”. Ditto for knitting. I’ve done more afghans, mittens, socks, hats, scarves, and sweaters in the 55 years since that first project; than I could think to name. Over the past year, I’ve mostly been crocheting: 5 afghans and just started a 6th. Knitting: 3 cowls and matching slouchy beanies to match in the past few months. Two of my sisters liked what I was doing and the youngest one knits and crochets. The other one crochets and is trying to learn to knit.I’m starting another large afghan as soon as the yarn arrives. I am so very thankful to have picked up on these hobbies. They make me very happy.

    Reply
    • Jessie
      March 19, 2014 at 9:57 pm (3 years ago)

      What a lovely story!

      Reply
  4. Barbara
    March 19, 2014 at 11:41 pm (3 years ago)

    My grandmother taught me to crochet also. She taught me the basics but became ill with Alzheimers just a few years later. My grandmother didn’t have much money but the best gift she every gave me was that of crochet. She’s been gone for almost 30 years but I still think about her when I get out the yarn and crochet hook! I taught myself how to make simple things and to do it right. Since I am a perfectionist I have unraveled many projects, too! I’ve made so many presents and people seem to be delighted with them. I start at the beginning of the year so I have plenty of time to make lots of thing. When my children were in school, I crocheted gifts for teachers and school personnel. They always seemed to love getting them. Crocheting is a way to help me keep my sanity because I don’t get out much at all and I like to stay busy. I have made just about every craft you can think of but I always come back to crocheting!

    Reply
  5. Juanell d
    March 22, 2014 at 2:12 am (3 years ago)

    Hello. I taught myself how to crochet and a wonderful friend of my moms taught me to knit dishcloths, i branched from there on my own. My mom always tells me-no one will know you made a mistake–I know–so unravel and make it rt it is. My grandmother crocheted, embroidered, and quilted. Whenever i am making something- i think of her. I miss her so much!!!

    Reply
    • Jessie
      March 22, 2014 at 9:09 am (3 years ago)

      Isn’t it wonderful how yarn can remind us of so many! It really does tie us all together. 🙂

      Reply

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