Guest Author - Beverly Elrod
Nobody likes to make mistakes; especially when crocheting a big project. I have some tips and hints that Iíve used, over the years, that have helped me to reduce the amout of mistakes I might otherwise make. I always pass these tips along to my students so they might learn from some of the mistakes that Iíve made in the past. Remember that prevetion is a lot easier than correction.
[b]Wash Your Hands:[/b] Our hands contain natural oils that are easily picked up by fibers. This includes the yarn/thread/other fibers we crochet with. Thus, itís easier to avoid passing these oil stains by simply washing our hands with soap and water.
[b]No Eating/Snacking:[/b] Most foods contain either a natural or man-made oil or dye; which may be spilled or transferred, by touch, onto whatever is in front of us. Therefore, itís best to keep eatables away from the area we use to crochet to prevent an accidental mishap.
[b]No Beverages While:[/b] Most beverages have either a natural or man-made dye; which is difficult to remove once spilled onto fabric such as yarn or thread. Water, although it doesnít stain, is also a beverage to keep away from your crochet work. Once yarn or thread is wet it doesnít glide through the fingers very easily and affects the tension and thus, the over-all look of our finished project. Therefore, itís much easier to avoid drinking beverages, such as coffee/tea/Kool-Aid and even water, in the area we use to crochet.
[b]No Dark/Variegated/Ombre/Specialty Yarns:[/b] Dark yarns and threads make it difficult to see where the hook placement should be and causes a strain on the eyes. Variegated and ombre yarns also cause a form of eye strain when working a few stitches with one color and then changing to another color. This is difficult for the eyes to stay focused on the crochet at hands. Also, some yarns are difficult to undo mistaken stitches. So, itís always best to work with a plain worsted weight before moving onto these dark, variegated, ombre and specialty yarns.
[b]Crochet in a Well-lit Area:[/b] Lighting is very important, especially to the beginner crocheter. Low lighting makes it easier to misread patterns, difficult to see where the stitches are and cause a strain on the eyes. So, please be sure to always work in an area where you get the best light possible or have a lamp with a good light bulb to reduce strain to the eyes.
[b]No Distractions:[/b] Distractions make it all too easy to lose your place in pattern-reading/forget what pattern stitching you are working with and to lose count. Turning off the television/radio, asking for some quiet time and putting the dog in the back yard for a few
[b]Crochet Every Day:[/b] Crochet every day, even if only for 15 minutes per session. This helps the brain and hands to remember the new stitches youíve learned. When you are new to crochet (or any other new craft/skill) just practicing it two or three times a week may make one forget it or to even forget just one or two steps; which can change the total out-look of what you are attempting to accomplish. By crocheting from fifteen minutes to forty-five minutes a day (in the beginning), this will train not only your memory, but also your hands, to remember this new skill and these new stitches.
[b]No Crocheting When Sleepy/Tired:[/b] Crocheting while tired or sleepy is the easiest way to make mistakes. Sometimes, complete rows need to be ďfroggedĒ (ripped out/undone) and redone correctly. Itís much easier to put your crocheting aside and working on it another time (when youíre well-rested).
[b]Crochet With-in Your Skill Level:[/b] Attempting to work outside of your skill level may seem great, when youíre looking at a pattern of the cutest little shrug that youíve ever seen, but jumping ahead will most likely find you working in a pattern thatís going to leave you wondering why you think you can possibly crochet. It can be very discouraging if you attempt that new pattern and find that youíre unable to work it. Therefore, itís very important to work only within your skill level before attempting to advance to the next level.
[b]Be Comfortable With the Stitches You Know Before Learning new Stitches:[/b] Skipping out on the practice of your current skill level is only cheating yourself of the practice needed to train your brain and hands to repeatedly and correctly work the perform the stitches youíve been taught. If you feel youíre ready to work ahead, on new patterns and/or stitches, let your instructor evaluate your skills and determine if youíre ready to move on to the next skill level or if she feels that you might need more practice to hone your present skills.