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Simple Beginnings with Simple Crochet

I cannot remember how old I was exactly. Nineteen maybe eighteen. I remember I had graduated high school not too long before that. Before England, after graduation. So somewhere between 2000 and 2003. My friend and I were starting to look into crafts. We were determined to be artists, not craft ladies. Both our grandma’s had passed away though and both of us were looking for a connection to them. Craft. She wanted to learn how to knit, her grandma’s choice technique. I wanted to learn how to crochet, my grandma’s primary means of yarn usage as well as my mother’s when I was growing up.

We went to Borders and perused the latest art magazines, then the art books, then craft books. Knitting and crocheting were just starting to take off again in the mainstream, but still pre-Stitch N’ Bitch era. The selection was, well, not so great. Either really old looking patterns or teen books. A lot of sweaters that looked like they belonged in the 80’s. Yikes! I wanted a crochet book, my friend a knitting book, that had good diagrams for the beginner to learn from with some interesting projects that were not fun fur or over our heads completely. Where were the good books….?

Right there! Simple Crochet! It was perfect, and I feel it still is honestly. I know some people will feel it’s a beginner book only, but I still love it! Look at those dog eared pages and scuff marks:

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I picked it up and just couldn’t put it down. I bought it that day. I tried to make this blanket so many times. Granny squares, they were supposed to be easy. I love this picture of the little dog on this blanket. I wanted one for my kitty to cuddle up in. They had great instructions, both for visual learners and reader learners. It still alluded me.

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I still tried and tried to learn. Failure after failure. I bought another great book, Weekend Knitting and it was way over my head and I gazed longingly at that one too. I graduated with my associates. Moved to DeKalb. Jason taught me to knit. I started going to the yarn shop. Knit my first project from Weekend Knitting (I’ll tell that story another time) and returned to crochet. I so wanted to crochet. To fall in love with it like my grandma had… I think my hang up was so small, but such a big factor, where to put the hook, which loop! Haha. Such a little thing, but it had me stumped. I could not avoid the trapezoid effect. A woman at the yarn shop, Andrea, set me straight on that detail and I took off. I got it, it just clicked and everything made sense.

I picked Simple Crochet back up and made my first hat, haha. There is no hat pattern in this book! It was actually supposed to be this, a lovely tea pot cozy:

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I didn’t read it all the way through, I didn’t have the right gauge, I tried to make it in one piece instead of two. Geesh. It’s still pretty cute though. It kind of looks like it has little cat ears.

It took another year before I started crocheting things that I liked having around. I’ve made the market bag, one of the afghans, and am hoping to make those cute Turkish slippers that are on the cover in time for cooler weather.

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I have used this book time and time again to be inspired, by the patterns as well as the photography. They are beautiful. The instructions are well written in a friendly, clear, concise voice. There are these great Inspiration sections for some of the patterns:

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There are so many patterns in this book I still want to make. This one being another. Such a lovely throw, maybe this winter I will get to it:

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And since buying this book I have fallen in love with many of Erika Knight’s other books, of which there are many. Since Simple Crochet she has put together many books that I would love to add to my personal library, Classic Knits being one that I can think of off the top of my head and Cables & Arans being another. She is definitely one of my role models. In the beginning she inspired me to pick up my grandma’s hook. And now, I strive to her level of expertise with her presentation, continued creativity, and amazing collection of books.

This is the book that I recommend to anyone who wants to learn to crochet, anyone who wants ideas for home decor items, anyone who wants to be inspired. I know most intermediate to advanced crocheters may not need this book, but I still recommend it to them as well. It’s just beautiful to look at and to a pleasure to read.

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And with that I’m going to head out. Sorry this came so late. Jason and I ended up playing a long game of Scrabble at Borders and it was so fun. For me anyway, because I totally won! Hehe.

Have a good night! See you on Friday!

++ Kristin Roach ++

One thought on “Simple Beginnings with Simple Crochet

  1. My mother and grandmother were both crochet ladies too. I knew how to do it once, but then forgot and have since been working on knitting. I got Weekend Knitting for Christmas and had the same reaction, greek to me! But then I picked up Stitch and Bitch which made it all make sense and now I can knit things. I’ll definitely have to check out this book to jog my memory about how to crochet again. Thanks!

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