A, B, Crochet: Learning to Crochet is like Learning to Write

Learning to crochet is like learning to write. When you first start holding a pencil in your young hand it is strange. By the time you learn to write you have likely used a fork, spoon, knife, crayon, marker, but previous to that point you haven’t been asked to use that kind of dexterity; to use your fine motor skills to create letters on a paper with a pencil. I have always felt that writing is one of the most human of things and when I write, I am awed by the ability. The ability to crochet fills me with similar sense of wonderment.

Remember the number of “a’s” that you had to write before your hand just simply wrote an “a” without thinking about how to shape the “a”. After enough times writing an “a” it became second nature. Then they challenge you with an “A”, then “b”, “B” and so on, within a short time you are writing words. When I sat down with my first crochet hook, a Boye, size G-6/4.25mm, the Vanna’s Choice yarn, a crochet instruction book and started learning to crochet, I hadn’t yet realized the similarity between learning to crochet and learning to write. One unfortunate aspect of learning to crochet from a book and not the wisdom of others who crochet, is that the book didn’t tell me that I should practice my stitches like I practiced writing letters.


The book did start me at the beginning of the crochet alphabet though, with a slip knot, the very beginning of any crochet project. The book said that to create a slip knot, you should make a pretzel with the yarn. It sounds strange but it was the most accurate description, and anytime food is used as a descriptor, I am instantly intrigued.

After making the pretzel and creating my slip knot, it was time to learn how to make a chain stitch, the foundation of nearly every project. There are three ways to start a project, but the most common is the traditional chain; then you build stitches onto the chain. You can choose from a variety of stitches to build onto your chain, the more advanced you become the more stitches you know, seems obvious enough.

Slip knot on my hook, hook in my right hand, yarn draped around my left, I began a chain. Each additional link in that chain looked like a kindergartner had just written a bunch of sideways “o’s”. I would tell you to keep making chains until all of your chains look like an adult wrote those “o’s”. I didn’t do that, so my first crochet project looked like my journal from kindergarten.

Do you have any stories about beginning a project? What did your first project look like? Post a picture or tell me about it in the comments.

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