It was March of 2006 when I learned the "right: way to crochet. It was almost by accident, since I was actually taking a class for a knitting loom called the Knifty Knitter. After that class was over, I was talking to the instructor. Somehow the topic turned to crochet. Even back then I always had a hook and yarn with me. I whipped them out and started crocheting...my way.
The instructor looked at me and told me that wasn't crocheting! Ummm, it may not be the conventional method, but what I ended up with was exactly crochet. What she mean was I didn't have the smooth fluid flow of my hands and the yarn. Each stitch was excruciatingly more complicated LOOKING than it actually was.
She showed me how to hold my yarn in my left hand to pull tension. Okay, I got that down by pulling yarn through my fingers over and over. Now how was I supposed to hold this yarn like that AND crochet MY way at the same time?! She then had my move my right wrist back and forth, the way you do when you crochet.
She then stepped back and told me to crochet. I looked at her like she had just told me to kill my husband with the crochet hook!! I didn't think I could do either of them...give me a knitting needle, and my husband might have been doable. I just sat there for a second, and finally she spoke. She told me I already knew how to build the crochet stitch. I nodded while I stared blankly at her. She told me to TRY it.
I thought for a second or 2, while staring at my hook and yarn. I shrugged slightly and figured I would try it. At the same time though, I was thinking there was NO WAY I was going to be able to crochet a stitch without using the fingers on my left hand. It was very slow going, but alas she was right and I was wrong...I hate being wrong!
I left the store with new yarn, something that plagues me to this day...I can not go into a craft store without buying yarn for crocheting or fabric for quilting. It is like going to Walmart for milk. When you leave the store, you have 3 bags and are $30.00 poorer. I got home and I couldn't wait to start crocheting the "right" way. I sat down, got out my hook and my new yarn, and I stared at the two without a single clue as to what I needed to do next! 10 minutes prior I was crocheting the "right" way, and now I sat there with nothing.
I decided I would chain a few stitches, since every method of crochet starts with some sort of chain. After many miles of chaining, I decided that wasn't really doing it for my memory. Okay, it was probably more like 6 or 7 feet, but if you have ever chained that long, you know it looks LOOOONNNG. I pulled out the chain, and started again. This time I got to a reasonable length and thought for a second. Okay, I DID know how to build the stitch. I could do this.
I wrapped the yarn around the fingers on my left hand as I had been shown. I held my chain in my left hand between my thumb and index finger. I had my hook in my right hand. I went in through BOTH loops (remember, I had only been using one loop before), picked up my loop and stopped. I then wrapped the yarn around my hook and pulled it through the loops. HEY!! I COULD remember how to crochet using my right hand for the stitch making and my left to guide the thread and pull tension! I was off...like a crocheting turtle!
I was slow crocheting when I used both hands to form a stitch, and this new way was even slower. It took me hours to crochet the length of a small blanket, and then come back and do the next row?! It was daunting! I kept at it though, since I found my hand and finger were very sore and stiff if I missed a day. Slowly I picked up speed, and I learned that all crochet stitches are built off the same basic principle of the single crochet. Today, my friends watch me and comment on how fast I am, or how quickly I finished a project.
I have to make time each day to crochet, it is what keeps my right hand in working order with the least amount of pain. Since I have to make this time, I am able to work on my projects every day. I also get more time each day since I stay at home with our dogs and cats...and let's not forget all of my "imaginary" friends online ;-)
I put quotation marks around the word right in this post, since I have learned through the years that each crocheter holds the yarn and hook a little bit differently. There is no right way to crochet. I have taught a few people to crochet. I always tell them that if they don't mind their "mistakes", to keep going. Embrace your work and love it. If you are gifting it to someone, unless you confess, that person isn't going to know how you crocheted it, let alone if you crocheted it the "right" way!