By: Lorie Grant DeWorken

I decided to learn to crochet in college. Crazy way for a college student to spend free time? Definitely. I assure you that I was not as big a loser as it might make me sound though. One night, for some strange reason, I found myself on a creative kick. My mom had taught me to cross-stitch as a child but that wouldn't do anymore. I was ready for something new and exciting.

I ended up at Wal-mart late at night (best time to go for a college student!) browsing through the craft aisles and inevitably drawn to all the cool yarns. Ok, so what to do with them? Knitting or crocheting? At the time, knitting seemed over my head and maybe even a bit "granny-ish". Crocheting was so much... cooler. Yeah, that's it. So for whatever reason, I picked crocheting. I envisioned super trendy afghans and throws adorning my dorm room and great gifts to impress my fianc�'s parents. It was something that I could learn to do that could be useful in the future. I could decorate an apartment or house, clothe the children I'd one day have, and even give great cheap gifts to all my friends.

Good in theory, but I never finished my first project - an afghan. What can I say? I was an easily distracted college student. And my reason for not having finished it since college? Let's just say I'm an equally distracted adult. But despite my early failure, I did learn to crochet and, later, I even learned to knit.

Overall, there are two big things that I've taken away from my experiences in learning to crochet and knit:

First - you CAN be "self-taught" with the help of a good how-to book. There are quite a few out there. Just take a trip to any store that carries craft materials and patterns. Browse through the books to find one that is most user-friendly for you. One note -- don't be alarmed if some of the books with great instructions have patterns and pictures that take you back to the 70s or 80s. (My first how-to book had some real winners -- cheesy vests and sweaters with terrible color schemes -- but then again, 80s fashions are back aren't they?)

Also keep an eye out for how-to kits. I started with a kit that included several crochet hooks and tools plus additional patterns -- which were much needed! Except for yarn, these kits should provide you with the basics but don't walk away from the store yet. It's a good idea to go ahead and buy some additional crochet hooks or knitting needles since not all sizes are included in your kit. Other tools that could come in handy are: counters, markers, stitch holders, point protectors (knitting only).

Second -- it's good to have someone who can help you. This person does not have to be a full-fledged teacher, just a "consultant" -- someone you can turn to when you have questions -- because, let's face it, even the best how to knit or how to crochet book can confuse you at one time or another. In my early attempts to learn to crochet I got stuck on a particular type of stitch. No matter how many times I read the explanation I just could not make it work. It just didn't look right.

Lucky for me, I happened to be home from college on my winter break. I also happened to have what I was working on with me at a friend's house (not sure why -- again, I promise you I wasn't a loser!). Her mother had been crocheting for years and I took the opportunity to ask for her help. She was able to show me exactly what I needed to do. That set me straight and I've been crocheting just fine on my own ever since.

My knitting "consultant" was (and is) my mother. After I got my first knitting how-to book, I knew I'd have some questions. I found out that some friends wanted to learn to knit too. So we set up a "knitting night" and all learned from my mom. A good social hour and quite educational! If you're able to find some people to do this with, I highly recommend it.

Knitting and crocheting are great pastimes. I'm no expert, but I have learned how to do both. There are some great resources out there for anyone else to do the same. Find yourself a good how-to book, and that "consultant" you can turn to when you get stuck, and you'll be well on your way. I never did finish that college afghan but since then I have crocheted several dish clothes, a baby blanket, a girl's sweater, and now I'm knitting another girl's sweater. If I could pull off these projects, anyone can! So go get started! Learn to crochet, learn to knit today!

About the author:

Lorie Grant DeWorken left a career in advertising to become a stay-at-home mom. She's always wanted to be a writer. So now she's writing about anything and everything. To find out what other topics are crossing her mind plus more resources for knitting and crocheting - including FREE lessons, patterns, and troubleshooting - visit

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