Saturday, 2 March 2013

Why make things trickier?

Well I'm off to a flying start with my work Crochet Club ladies - this is not an exclusive, prohibitive society. There's no secret handshake or initiation rites. I've just not convinced any of the men to join - yet.
We've had 2 lunchtime meetings and it's been really good for me to have a proper break and get away from my desk too - I don't want to give the false impression that I'm selfless!
I had a lovely time prepping - there are handouts and everything, I've not gone overboard with PowerPoint but I think there are useful tips and resources :D yes, I'm being teased about my 'class notes' but am not remotely bothered!
Everyone gets a goodie bag with a crochet hook, a couple of small safety pins, a selection of yarn leftover from my projects and an example granny square - all in a pink paper bag. Oh and I provide biscuits - obviously.
I've not actually offered my services, it's been a word of mouth thing but I'm up to 8 potential members with 3 already up and running (I'm trying to vary the week day I do it so as not to exclude anyone because of their working pattern). It's great not to have all of them starting together, it means some can get on and just need little bits of help. And I'm trying to get them to help each other and figure out how to fix stuff. They are doing brilliantly, I am loving it. D came to work wearing the first chain she made as a bracelet! And they've asked for badges - I'm working on that. It's fab getting to know them better and talking about non-work things. Seriously, I am totally loving it - can you tell?
First CC project is a giant granny square lap blanket - nice and repetitive, will grow quickly, forgiving of tension changes for a learner, easy to introduce colour changes and useful for using up leftovers. D's is the size of a cushion cover already - a pentagon now, not the square she started with, very creative :D
My brother Han's latest granny square blanket, I taught him last year

Which brings me to my pet peeve - all of the CC ladies have tried to learn before and have at some point or another bought a starter kit, either a magazine subscription or a set from the craft or toy section. They've brought this stuff with them - the yarn is horrid, static inducing and splitty. The hooks are bent, sharp or plastic. Don't get me started on the ridiculous wobbly knitting needles one lady came in with.
How is anybody supposed to learn with this stuff? No wonder they all think they've 'failed'. L said, "it's me, I can't blame the tools" so I gave her my spare bog-standard £1.20 hook and away she went - she was beaming when she left. It can't be right that somebody feels like they can't succeed for want of a £1 hook - some of these starter kits are really expensive.
I've shown them my Clover hooks, they think they're the best thing ever. I might have to buy a job lot because the deal is they give me back my hooks when they've decided if crochet is for them and then we can get somebody else up and running - kind of the 'watch 1, make 1 with support, make 1 on your own, teach' approach.
I love these hooks, am aiming for a full set

When my kids were small, we had a couple of bad experiences with 'beginner' kits - the face painting crayons being a total fail. Funnily enough, my daughter went on and ran the school fair face painting stall once she had good quality paints, from age 8! I always figured that if I couldn't get a good result with something, say a pair of kiddie's scissors, then my children wouldn't either so I tended to give them adult tools (and plenty of supervision!) from quite a young age.
I'd be interested to know of any good starter kits out there that I could recommend, there must be some. Or do I just stick to making up my own?

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  1. This is a really interesting subject. I know when you're a total beginner at something you don't want to spend lots of money on tools or equipment - particularly when you don't even know if you're going to like whatever it is you're learning - but some of the cheap tools and yarn are so horrible! And sometimes you only need to spend a few pennies more, or look in a different place for something much nicer that doesn't cost a lot.

    I've never bought a beginners kit for knitting or crochet, but I've bought painting ones in the past, and the quality wasn't good when you think how expensive they were.

    I'd say you're better off continuing to make your own beginners kits, it sounds like you've sussed out what's good to include and what's not.

    1. Hi Sam, I think you're right, I had another look this weekend but I'm going to stick with making up my little bags. I was given a bag of hooks - not all the sizes are suitable for beginners but there are 2 or 3, I'm going to look in the charity shops too :)

  2. I am with you on the starter kits and especially the yarn. I shudder just thinking about it. Having said that I do have a complete set of plastic crochet hooks from 1mm (or thereabout) up to 15 that I use to determine the size hook I need to get the desired effect with a new yarn.

    1. I can't seem to get a good result with plastic crochet hooks but that's a good use for them :)


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