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SolarSoda

Generally ... frustrated

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Note as of March 21, 2011: Much has changed since I originally posted this. Enough that I felt this initial post warranted a preamble of sorts. The response I got to my post below was so warm, so helpful, and thus so overwhelming that this incredible community of crocheters really bore me up and out of the doldrums I found myself in when I began this thread. So read my post below with a grain of salt, and to those who might find themselves in a similar predicament ... just keep reading, and by all means, feel free to send me (or anyone here) a private message for help. I'm always happy to help or to point in the right direction. Lord knows, I learned a LOT from this thread! Thank you.

 

I must forewarn you: this is more of a rant than asking for help.

 

I'm convinced that I must be the dumbest person on the planet. Either that or these "beginner" dishcloth patterns I pick up are liars, and are in fact designed for more experienced crocheters. Judging from some of the threads I've read here, that may very well be the case.

 

This is what I'm trying to make: "Granny Dishcloth" on label of Lily Sugar'n Cream Naturals

http://www.sugarncream.com/pattern.php?PID=2934

I'm using the "Guacamole" yarn, not the "Earth Ombre" color suggested for the pattern.

 

This time I approached crocheting differently than I have in the past. I scaled my expectations way down: I chose a really cheap, plastic needle and yarn I wasn't particularly in love with. My whole goal was to get myself crocheting.

 

I know how to make all the stitches. If I don't understand an abbreviation I look it up and have never had trouble figuring out how to make a specific stitch. I can sit here and stitch randomly till the cows come home. Making stitches is not the problem. I also happen to make nice, even stitches too.

 

The problem is, I don't understand where to stick my needle sometimes, or where to go next! Or what it all means! I wish I had someone I could ask who could show me the answer to my question.

 

When I lived in Grand Rapids, MI one of my co-workers started knitting. Then I saw her doing it and I wanted to do it, so guess what, we were both knitting. Up there I had a LYS to walk into and ask questions, and they showed me the way. Problem solved. I threw money at them buying yarn and needles.

 

So when I decided to start crocheting, because I heard about "amigurumi" and wanted to make some, I just decided to go looking for a LYS down here ... to no avail. The nearest one to me is nearly an hour's drive away. As for crafting amigurumi? *smirks* *snickers* Yeah ... right.

 

Or maybe I should just give up crocheting and go back to knitting? When I was knitting I actually completed a couple projects (dishcloth and scarf). Is crocheting harder than knitting?

 

It is sooooooo frustrating (can you feel the frustration in this post?) to come here and see thread after thread after thread after thread of what ya'll are creating and accomplishing. I can't even make a dishcloth. It seems like the farthest thing away from me and no matter how many times I set it down and come back to it later, I still wind up with the same result: I need a real live person I can ask who can show me. Videos and forums ain't cutting it.

 

Sorry to be such a downer ... no I'm not. This is a "poor me" pity party in full swing! (I know, I need to shut up and go open the first-ever LYS in Fort Myers, FL!)

Edited by SolarSoda
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Watch You tube videos. That is how I taught myself. It will show you exactly where to insert the hook. It is much better than someone showing you because you can stop the video, back it up, etc. I have tried knitting but I didn't like it, but I don't think crocheting is harder. I still watch you tube videos if I am not sure exactly how to do something.

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Hang in there! It can be frustrating at first. :hug

 

Can you access you tube? There will be videos about how to make all sorts of crochet items. That will help you learn where to put your hook. Post any specific questions here. We love to help!

 

As far as crocheting or knitting being easier, I suppose that depends on the person. Crocheting was easier to learn for me than knitting. I'm sure there are those that feel the opposite though.

Edited by nicolep

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I couldn't agree more about You tube videos. It's how I taught myself to crochet 2 years ago- please don't give up!! Crocheting is fun and to me easier than knitting!

 

We're all here to help and remember --there is no dumb or stupid question. If you don't ask you never learn! Trust me, I ask questions all the time- for anything I'm not sure of.

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I have been in your shoes but don't get discouraged. Do your high schools have any adult ed classes? Ours does and at times someone teaches crochet and knitting. I agree with the youtube videso. I also have the leisure arts DVD I can't believe I am crocherting and a portable DVD player so I can sit at the table and watch the stitches up close. I just bought the ones for bobbles and lace. Another thing see if you have any churches with prayer shawl ministries and maybe someone there would be willing to help you. If you want a buddy to email for help PM me and I will give you my email address. Mary

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I have been crocheting for I don't know how many years but I'll tell ya, some patterns just make me angry ... so angry I frog them and move on. It isn't just you - but I can definitely appreciate feeling like you are the only one.

 

I guess my first question to you would be "what is your main question" - you said you don't always know where to put your hook... well, post the pattern and ask away! We are kinda like that LYS you used for knitting questions, only a LOT bigger and open 24/7 :)

 

I have some YT videos about how to do certain stitches but I don't have anything up specific to a pattern although I'm wanting to venture in that direction. I'll tell ya, if you shoot me a PM with any questions you have, I don't mind spending some time and making some vids to help answer each question (although it may take me a day).

 

Which is easier? I think both can be easy and both can be equally as hard. It depends on who you ask and what pattern they are working on *smiles*

 

I would suggest finding a different pattern and giving it a go. Find one that has pictures or a video to go along with it. And once you start finishing more and more crochet patterns, you'll find the trends and when people tell you to do something different than the norm.

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First of all : take a big deep breath and let it out slowly.....next, ditch the cheap plastic hook and the yarn you're not in love with... get a nice hook, by whatever way you define nice... and some yarn you like. It doesn't have to be expensive, it doesn't have to be natural fibers...I personally LOVE red heart yarn....it get so soft once it is washed and dried... if you don't like the tools you're working with, you won't want to use them... Ignore the snickers from the people who think that the only thing you can do with yarn is knit...they are small minded. No, I don't hate knitting...I learned to knit years before I learned to crochet, I just like crochet much better.... You-tube is your friend...great resource...find the videos that show what you need to know and watch them over and over...stop action is great, you can pause them at any point, and they never get frustrated with you. As to where to put your hook, unless the pattern states otherwise, it is always under both loops: patterns will assume you understand this.

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I really appreciate all of your encouragement and thoughtful replies. I've calmed down a bit now too, hee hee. It helps to just come right out and say it, and get it off my chest.

 

I've found YouTube videos to be helpful, and I've found them to not be helpful. It just depends what you're looking for. If you're having trouble with a stitch then heck yeah, YouTube videos is the way to go! There are many good ones out there. I didn't finally crack the magic circle code until I saw a video showing how to do it. Very joyous occasion, that! However when it comes to specific patterns, that's a different story. And for as great as videos are they simply don't compare to having a mentor. But maybe I should try looking for a video that makes a whole pattern, not just the stitches themselves.

 

Sorry for the rant. I'm not giving up. I can't, I love it too much. I guess that means I'm a masochist, LOL! Honestly I didn't think you good people would pay much attention to my whininess, and just move on to the next honest question. I wasn't trying to get attention, or whatever. I just needed to vent. But I appreciate the help just the same. :)

 

Mary aka "acraftylady" - I'm going to take your advice and look into adult ed classes! I never thought of that. I know the people are out there, I just haven't figured out how to find them.

 

Cris - I sincerely appreciate your candid reply. It does make me feel better to know that even veterans feel what I'm feeling sometimes. And yes it would help to post the specific question wouldn't it? (This whole post was a practice in digression, lol!)

 

So here goes:

 

In the 1st rnd it says: "[3 dc. (Ch 2. 4 dc)] 3 times in ring" - So I took that to mean, after I make my 3 dc, then I Ch 2, then I make 4 dc, rinse and repeat 3 times in that order? So that there should be 7 dc next to each other separated by that Ch 2 and it goes 3 times around the ring?

 

My experience with that was that it seemed WAY too bulky for all those stitches in that wimpy little 5 Ch. ring! Then when I got to this part: "Join with sl st to top of ch 3." ... where the heck is "ch 3"??? I took that to mean the very first ch 3 I did at the beginning of the round (see web link in original post for the pattern).

 

By the way faedragon, I'm glad, glad, glad you said

As to where to put your hook, unless the pattern states otherwise, it is always under both loops: patterns will assume you understand this.
because I did not know that! That is exactly one of those things I could not figure out. Thank you so much for stating that!

 

Thanks to every single one of you for helping to make me feel better. This is a rare forum because of that; people can be so negative, especially on forums, and especially to stuff like what I posted. So I really appreciate your encouragement and tips. My goal is to crochet a little bit every day, even if it's one lousy sc stitch, and thanks to all of you I probably will. :hook

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First of all : take a big deep breath and let it out slowly.....next, ditch the cheap plastic hook and the yarn you're not in love with...

 

You know what, the funny thing is, other than the frustration caused by the pattern, the hook and yarn I bought has actually grown on me, lol. I should have said it was not my first choice of all the yarn I looked at walking up and down the aisles (I was at A.C. Moore). I have a bad habit of getting yarn I adore and then never touching it because I've had so much bad luck with the patterns, I don't want to frog good yarn, LOL! And the plastic hook is kinda cute. I dunno, but luckily they DO make me want to sit down and crochet!

 

I understand what you mean though. Nobody's going to be excited about sitting down to something they just can't stand. That's the lovely side effect about this craft: a hook and yarn is better than none at all. :)

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here's a little trick that might make some of this a little easier

!. Read the pattern through BEFORE starting.

Most patterns will state something like this" Beginning chain 3 counts as dc"

Now the first row /round : no problem, but on the return row you'll see something

about stitching in the top of the chain 3 ( this would be the beginning chain 3 from the very start.) Now, of course you can't find it.

Here's what you doe: at the start, as soon as you make that chain 3, put a marker ( this can be a peice of colored yarn) in the 3rd chain. If you do this, you'll know where it is on the return. Also mark the last stitch in a row so it's easy to find. This helps to make sure you don't miss stitches.

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here's a little trick that might make some of this a little easier

!. Read the pattern through BEFORE starting.

Most patterns will state something like this" Beginning chain 3 counts as dc"

Now the first row /round : no problem, but on the return row you'll see something

about stitching in the top of the chain 3 ( this would be the beginning chain 3 from the very start.) Now, of course you can't find it.

Here's what you doe: at the start, as soon as you make that chain 3, put a marker ( this can be a peice of colored yarn) in the 3rd chain. If you do this, you'll know where it is on the return. Also mark the last stitch in a row so it's easy to find. This helps to make sure you don't miss stitches.

 

Wow, you are the bomb-diggety with clearing up mysteries for me tonight! I'd heard of using markers before - but I never understood how to use them! I'm really dense that way, sometimes I need things spelled out for me.

 

To you and everyone else taking the trouble to spell things out for me, you have my eternal gratefulness.

 

I went back to the pattern that was giving me fits - http://www.sugarncream.com/pattern.php?PID=2934 - and starting poking around the website some more and found even more answers to my crochet mysteries: http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/?q=tip_crochet.html

 

Honestly, if ya'll hadn't taken the time to cheer me up I probably wouldn't have even bothered looking. YAY! BIG THANKS TO EVERYONE! :yay

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check out meetup.com and see if there are any crochet groups near you, or start 1. put in it you need help and want other like minded folks to be able to get w/.

 

on youtube, look for teresa (shes a c'ville member and does AWSOME videos to teach/learn w/, BOTH left and right handed. i think its under her initials tjw, but look for "gator stitch" to find her, she just posted a tutorial.)

 

i can sympathize. took me over 20-30 YEARS to learn to knit. always felt like my hands were fighting each other. then, w/ rt teacher/class, it just clicked and away i went w/ it. believe you CAN do it. and be persistent. it will happen :)

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In the 1st rnd it says: "[3 dc. (Ch 2. 4 dc)] 3 times in ring" - So I took that to mean, after I make my 3 dc, then I Ch 2, then I make 4 dc, rinse and repeat 3 times in that order? So that there should be 7 dc next to each other separated by that Ch 2 and it goes 3 times around the ring?

 

something stills feels a bit off about that - i guess try it out and see if it looks like the picture? I have had to do that on a few occasions - becuase the instructions just didn't make any sense to me at first. and yes the chain 3 in most patterns counts as your first dc - and you need to slip stitch to that one.

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I've crocheted since I was a teenager. I was taught by an experienced crocheter which laid down the basics for a lifetime. A lot of the people posting here have crocheted for years. Then I wanted to learn how to knit. It would have been easier to build a house with matchsticks. Then someone showed me how to knit. She actually had to put her hands on my hands to make me do it right. I can knit now, but it will never be as easy as crochet. But I can understand how you feel about not knowing where to put the hook sometimes. But for me, I feel that way with knitting. But just keep crocheting. You'll get better. Practice really does make you better and eventually you will learn the anatomy of the stitches. You'll get better at reading patterns because you'll carry what you learned from one pattern to the next one. Before you know it, you'll be able to identify pattern mistakes and correct them yourself. Give yourself time. You've got the rest of your life to learn and create.

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So here goes:

 

In the 1st rnd it says: "[3 dc. (Ch 2. 4 dc)] 3 times in ring" - So I took that to mean, after I make my 3 dc, then I Ch 2, then I make 4 dc, rinse and repeat 3 times in that order? So that there should be 7 dc next to each other separated by that Ch 2 and it goes 3 times around the ring?

 

My experience with that was that it seemed WAY too bulky for all those stitches in that wimpy little 5 Ch. ring!

 

 

If I'm reading this correctly, you're adding additional stitches where there shouldn't be any. When you are finished with the first round, you should have four groups of 4 dc next to each other, separated by the ch 2's. I think the problem is, you are repeating that initial "3 dc". IMO, that line is written in a confusing manner because of the extra brackets around the entire thing - I don't believe that that '3 dc' part is supposed to be repeated. But, if I'm interpreting the pattern correctly, here is what should be happening:

 

You are doing only *3* dc at first, because your initial "chain 3" counts as a dc. So, the ch-3 plus that 3 dc that is written at the beginning gives you your first group of 4 dc. Then you do the part in parenthesis -- the ch 2, 4 dc a total of 3 times. When done with that round, you'll have four little groups of 4 dc's (again, that is counting your beginning ch-3 as the very first dc of the lot).

 

That should "fit" a lot better than four groups of seven dc's! It sounds like the beginning of a granny square type design?

Hope this helps!!!

 

ETA: I just looked at their photo & pattern --- it is indeed four groups of 4dc (not 7dc!)-- I still think they wrote that line a bit oddly -- it does make it seem as if the initial '3dc' is part of a repeat, when it's not.

 

Edit again to add - LOL, it's late..... I wish you were just a bit closer to me!!! Or I wish that I could make a run down to Ft Myers - would love to visit that area again... (I'm in central FL - Dundee) I *need* someone to show me knitting -- I think I've watched every video on YouTube a hundred times, have bazillion books & tutorials, and I just can't get it. Maybe if I actually sat down with someone, *maybe* they could somehow get my hands & brain working together to coordinate those two miserable pointy sticks!!! LOL! I could help you crocheting & you could help me knit.... we're just a bit too far apart! But if you are ever up this way for any reason, feel free to get in touch with me!

Edited by ferretlady

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So here goes:

 

In the 1st rnd it says: "[3 dc. (Ch 2. 4 dc)] 3 times in ring" - So I took that to mean, after I make my 3 dc, then I Ch 2, then I make 4 dc, rinse and repeat 3 times in that order? So that there should be 7 dc next to each other separated by that Ch 2 and it goes 3 times around the ring?

 

 

you were reading correctly, they wrote the pattern wrong. there's one set of parentheses too many. the only part that needs to be repeated 3 times into the ring is the (ch 2, 4 dc). before the 3 dc, there was probably a chain 3...that would be counting as your first dc, and where you slip stitch to join...so you will have 4 groups of 4dc with ch-2 spaces between them. (really starting a granny square, I bet there's youtube videos for granny squares)

Long and short of it. you're not dumb...they oopsed! (which isn't uncommon in patterns on labels, in my experience)

hope that helps get you going.

(and if you can do all of what that pattern is calling for, you can do ami's! they're usually all in single crochet. Start with a simply shaped one to get a feel for it. this pattern is a good example of that. (THUD--this isn't mine, it's just one I ran across that might help you.)there's lots more on crochetpatterncentral.com)

Hope this helps. and hang in there. as a friend of mine said, when teaching knitting, "once you get past the white-knuckle part, it gets fun".

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We love to share in our love of crochet here and will do all in our power to keep you from giving up.

 

I have to agree with someone who posted above me - ditch the plastic hook if you're working with cotton yarn. (Especially if it's a Lion Brand hook - they are WAY to bendable for cotton yarn)

 

You've come across one of the biggest problems new crocheters have - poorly written patterns. The way I would write it out is:

 

ch5, slst into last ch from hook to form ring

Row 1 - ch3 (counts as first dc now and throughout), 2dc in ring, ch2, * 3dc in ring, ch2* 3 times, slst into top of ch3 to join.

 

Round 2 forgot to add a 2nd star. ugh. Honestly - you should find a better pattern to learn from. It's just the way the entire pattern is written and ville guidelines won't allow me to re-write an entire pattern for you.

 

I'm sure that the ladies here will have tons of links for you for a basic dc square.

 

Keep on hooking - it really is worth it.

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SolarSoda, thanks for that great link to the craft yarn council!

 

""" found even more answers to my crochet mysteries: http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/?q=tip_crochet.html """

 

Even after crocheting for more than a half century, I read thru this page you linked to and cleared up some bits that I've been wondering about for years!!

 

I guess we never stop learning, even after many years of working with a ball of yarn and a hook.

 

Keep asking those questions - we all continue to learn from them, Thanks!

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check out meetup.com and see if there are any crochet groups near you, or start 1. put in it you need help and want other like minded folks to be able to get w/.

 

on youtube, look for teresa (shes a c'ville member and does AWSOME videos to teach/learn w/, BOTH left and right handed. i think its under her initials tjw, but look for "gator stitch" to find her, she just posted a tutorial.)

 

i can sympathize. took me over 20-30 YEARS to learn to knit. always felt like my hands were fighting each other. then, w/ rt teacher/class, it just clicked and away i went w/ it. believe you CAN do it. and be persistent. it will happen :)

 

Aha! I completely forgot about Meetup.com! I will give that a try, definitely. I also forgot about Teresa. Funny thing is I'm subscribed to her on my YouTube profile, ROFL!! Thank you so much for taking the time to respond here. :)

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SolarSoda, thanks for that great link to the craft yarn council!

 

""" found even more answers to my crochet mysteries: http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/?q=tip_crochet.html """

 

Even after crocheting for more than a half century, I read thru this page you linked to and cleared up some bits that I've been wondering about for years!!

 

I guess we never stop learning, even after many years of working with a ball of yarn and a hook.

 

Keep asking those questions - we all continue to learn from them, Thanks!

 

Oh my goodness, that is too funny! I started this thread with zero hope and then a veteran comes along and learns something from me! TOO FUNNY! I'm just astonished by that, actually, hee hee. Glad I could help! I will be marveling about that all day, hee hee! And I'd been to that very website before! Must have missed that page, LOL! ;)

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Merkity, ferretlady, Momcrochets, and RoseRed - many, many THANK YOUS for confirming my suspicion about the pattern being wrong!!!

 

So here's an update: after I logged off for the evening I picked up that yarn and needle and said, what the heck. I know how to make the stitches, if the pattern's wrong let's see what it looks like then. As you probably guessed, it's a curly dishcloth, ROFL!!! But still pretty to me, and it makes me laugh now whenever I look at it. My "big mistake" has ironically turned into my greatest crocheting success thus far. This confounded project is the furthest I've gotten since I picked up my first crochet needle a couple years ago. So for that I consider this horrible dishcloth a smashing success, hee hee hee! :h5

 

Momcrochets: wow, you have given me new hope for creating ami's! :woo

 

ferretlady: You've got yourself a deal with a trade on the knit/crochet help! Oo, I do wish we lived closer too! You know, there is a way we could help each other without being in the same room, and this just might help other crocheters desiring more of the real-time, "mentorship" style of learning too: Skype is essentially video-conferencing. It's free (there are other things Skype charges for, but not Skype-to-Skype calling) but you'd need a webcam and either a microphone and speakers or a headset with a mic. And it doesn't take up too much space on your computer to install it. You can also use it for IM (also free). That would truly be the next best thing to being in the same room with each other! We could hold up our work to the camera to get a better look at how the stitches are made, and all this takes place in real time on Skype. But you're more than welcome to come down and visit, and if I ever find myself up your way I'll give you a holler for sure! :D

 

But ferretlady, I want to assure you, if I can learn to crochet you can definitely learn to knit! It's been a long time since I've knitted anything so I'd have to give myself a refresher, but then I'd be more than happy to show you.

 

My main reason for picking up crochet is because I want to make amigurumi in the worst way. Someone at work showed me a book they bought for a gift (to someone else; she knits, so no crochet help from her), Creepy Cute Crochet. Well I fell in love with those little creatures and decided I must make some of my own! From there I discovered sooooooo many more I want to make! But that is a long ways off for me. Right now I'm thrilled to pieces with my goofy, curly dishcloth, :rofl

 

When I am done with this thing I'll post pictures, or post a link to pics.

 

And after I'm done with this, I'm going back to the store to get a ball of Lily Sugar'n Cream in Earth Ombre to make the dishcloth the way it looks in the picture, now that I have the correct pattern.

 

By the way ... don'tcha think the yarn companies would sell SO MUCH MORE YARN if they would just take the time to make sure their patterns are written correctly? I wonder how many people gave up or quit because the dumb pattern was wrong? And they didn't know about the 'Ville here or they didn't have internet, or whatever.

 

Again, many, many, many thanks to EVERYONE'S help, encouragement, suggestions, and pointing me in the right direction! :ty

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I've crocheted since I was a teenager. I was taught by an experienced crocheter which laid down the basics for a lifetime. A lot of the people posting here have crocheted for years. Then I wanted to learn how to knit. It would have been easier to build a house with matchsticks. Then someone showed me how to knit. She actually had to put her hands on my hands to make me do it right. I can knit now, but it will never be as easy as crochet. But I can understand how you feel about not knowing where to put the hook sometimes. But for me, I feel that way with knitting. But just keep crocheting. You'll get better. Practice really does make you better and eventually you will learn the anatomy of the stitches. You'll get better at reading patterns because you'll carry what you learned from one pattern to the next one. Before you know it, you'll be able to identify pattern mistakes and correct them yourself. Give yourself time. You've got the rest of your life to learn and create.

 

Yes to everything you said. I like your analogy to building a house with matchsticks! YES that's how I felt too last night! Thank you so much for the encouragement, it really means a lot. You are right about learning the anatomy of the stitches and carrying what I learn from pattern to pattern. That's how knitting was for me, and it's already beginning with this dishcloth.

 

I actually learned both crocheting and knitting when I was a little girl, before I was a teenager. I learned crocheting from a group of old Polish ladies who met at the local library (in Toledo, OH, my hometown) and I learned knitting (the first time) from my BFF's mom. But I never stuck with it, until I started knitting again with my friend at work a few years ago. Point is, I had real live people showing me how to do it, so I concur about how you learn those skills for a lifetime when you have the benefit of a mentor. Also, that was back before anyone had a computer at home, much less internet access, lol. And then even when I re-learned knitting a few years ago, my primary source of help was from the LYS.

 

That being said, I'd have to say the internet is still an amazing resource for these fiber crafts we do ... for any craft, really! And for as amazing as it is it still doesn't substitute for what you can learn from a seasoned veteran in-person! Then again, many people learned all they needed from what some seasoned veterans posted on good ol' YouTube, myself included (at least where the magic circle is concerned).

 

Regardless, this whole thread has turned up some amazing people and I'm grateful to every single one of you that has taken the time to post something, I really am. :manyheart

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I am coming back a little late but I wanted to confirm that pattern is just BLAH! There are so many different ways they could have wrote that to be more "beginner friendly"... heck, more "friendly" in general.

 

I am so glad I came back to this thread because you went from sounding absolutely frustrated (which, now I see the pattern I don't blame you!) to having enjoyed creating something and going back for more :)

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From looking at the pattern, I think there is an error in how the pattern is written;

 

Pattern reads:

1st rnd: Ch 3 (counts as dc). [3 dc. (Ch 2. 4 dc)] 3 times in ring. Ch 2. Join with sl st to top of ch 3.

 

I think it should read

1st rnd: Ch 3 (counts as dc). 3 dc. (Ch 2. 4 dc)3 times in ring. Ch 2. Join with sl st to top of ch 3.

 

So that you would have the chain three+3 double crochets and then 3 more 4 double crochets separated by a chain 2. Counting the chain 3 as a double crochet that would give you four sides of 4 double crochets separated by a chain two.

 

Does this made sense?

 

If you look at the picture it will give you an idea about where to put your hook and a way to compare your work to.

 

Again, hang in there and keep trying.

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SolarSoda, i am so happy for you that you feel better now! Crochetville is the best:hook Such a supportive gro up here.

 

in my sig is a link to a thread where a lot of people posted thoughts on choosing patterns, you might find useful.

 

I think a good reference book is a real help, my fave is Crocheting in Plain English by Maggie righetti. it really walks you through how to make stitches and how to read patterns.

 

Another thought.....if you are making nice pretty, even stitches, you don't really have to have a pattern. check out freeform crochet. there are quite a few posts about it in the free-formm section here, and links to other resources such a James Walters' site.

 

You can post here to see if there are Villers in your area who are interested in getting together. also think about looking for a group that does fiber arts in general, not just crochet. Or even a group of knitters will probably include several who crohcet. the local library or community center may host a group. Or just take your crocheting to the library or coffee shop or wherever, and "crochet in public", and fellow stitchers will stop and talk to you :)

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