I wish I knew why I ultimately decided I had to make a blanket for my mother, and why it had to be a blanket for a king size bed. Why couldn’t I just have made a throw? An Afghan? Why wasn’t I satisfied with a scarf? Why? It is probably because I always feel I need to swim the deep end. I wouldn’t recommend learning to crochet the hard way, like I did. If you are going to learn how to crochet, start small. Make a dish cloth, coasters, a beanie, don’t make a huge blanket. But, no matter what you make as your first, or even fifteenth project, there are some important things that you should do as a beginning crochet maker. As I mentioned previously, it is essential that you practice your stitches. What comes after that?
Embracing crochet specific arithmomania. What is arithmomania? It is a disorder which involves the obsessive counting of surrounding objects. My favorite arithmomaniac, Count von Count from Sesame Street. If you need some inspiration from the Count you can follow him on Twitter.
I know that you may not think that counting is such an essential part of crochet, but trust that it is. Here is why. Let’s do the math to figure out the number of stitches that went into the three-year blanket for my mom. My goal was to make each row 300 stitches wide. I mentioned previously that I picked up a Vanna’s Choice yarn in cranberry, dusty rose, and dusty green, but then I also bought navy, chocolate, dusty purple, pale grey, and beige; eight colors total. I don’t think that I mentioned this before, but I decided to make the blanket for my mom for her 45th birthday, so I decided that there should be 45 rows of each color.
45 rows multiplied by 8 colors is 360 rows total, multiplied by 300 stitches per row is 108,000 stitches.
Fortunately, you don’t have to keep counting up to 108,000, but you need to count the stitches in each row. I don’t know about you, but I don’t regularly count to 300, and when I have occasion to, I often miscount or lose my place. I am not Count von Count, I need some assistance, when crocheting this assistance comes in the form of stitch markers. When crocheting you must count, I cannot stress this enough. Not keeping track of stitch counts can leave you with holes in your project, or more egregious, will make the sides of your project look like a kindergartner tried to draw a straight line with their eyes closed, using their non-dominant hand. So not pretty. Use the stitch markers to help keep track of stitches using easy to remember multiples, i.e. place stitch markers every 20, 40, 50 stitches or as many stitches along the project as you feel is appropriate. I did not do this. As I was making this blanket I could see that the sides were not straight, but I didn’t know why. Now, I know that one of the biggest reasons for this was not counting my stitches.
Working on your first project? Just finished a project? Count von Count knows how you feel.
Are you a fan of the Count? What techniques do you use to help you keep track of your stitches while you crochet? Let’s talk!
Video from the Youtube Channel of Sesame Street.