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mandymae

Teaching Crochet to a Perfectionist

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I've been teaching a few of my co-workers how to crochet, and two of the ladies are catching on VERY quickly (one has moved on to making an afghan and the other a baby cocoon); however, I have a lady who is a perfectionist and became extremely frustrated when her chain didn't look even, and then even more frustrated as she began to work on sc and dc. I kept telling her that it takes time and practice, and that no one is perfect their first time out, but she never really seemed to relax. Any tips or suggestions on how to help her out?

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I have my students make chains and then frog them, several times. At first don't have them count how many chains they are making. It is just to get their hands coordinated, tension even, and chains even. After several times ask them to count chains so they work on adding in that step to the beginning process.

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For the chain you can tell her to pinch it between her thumb and pointer finger and run it through.  That'll even out the tension.  If it's still uneven after that - she just needs more practice.

 

Getting frustrated is only going to make it harder.

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She was at my house for about 5 hours, and spent over half of that just working on chaining. I told her that no one comes out of the gate perfect, and that I've been crocheting for 10 years and still make plenty of mistakes!

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Now that's a good idea!

 

Do you have her practicing chains at home?  What yarn is she using?  What hook - size and brand?  What hold - pencil or knife?  Are they coming out too tight, too loose or both?

 

It could be something as simple as switching from Boye to Bates or vice versa could help.

Edited by RoseRed

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She said that she she practiced at home and things were going a little better. She'll have a few chains that are WAY loose, and then a few that are super tight. I bought her a Bates I-9, taught her knife hold. She really liked the way my Tulip hook felt, and since she has a lot of pain in her hands (we work in a call center and we're typing non-stop all day) so I think a slightly bigger hook (maybe a J) with an ergonomic handle will be more comfortable for her. I told her to practice with the Bates and if she knows she's going to continue on and crochet regularly, she could invest in an ergo hook.

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The size of the hook shouldn't make a difference as far as her hands if she goes with an ergonomic handle.  It will make a difference in her tension.  Starting out with a hook that's even slightly too big can through off her tension and make her work too tight. 

 

If she's having problems with the Bates I would try switching her over to a Boye.  For some reason people seem to do better starting out with them.

 

For the really tight chains she's probably choking the throat of the hook.  That's when you tighten the loop to match the diameter where it shrinks towards the head instead of leaving it the size of the shaft.  The really big chains could be her hands getting tired.

 

The other thing you can look at is how she holds the yarn for her tension.  If her tension hand is off - that in itself can cause the same problems as the above.

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I think that her progress is just going to be very slow, and as long as both of you are okay with that, it's fine!  I remember learning to crochet from my mom, who is also a perfectionist.  Turns out I am also a perfectionist, so I'm really glad I was a kid when I learned how to crochet, as to not run into the same problems as you and your friend!

 

I honestly would just let her take things at her own pace, and not even move on from chaining until she is happy with how that looks.  Then, I would say have her move to dc.  I find dc is easier to teach, since the stitches are more obvious.  I would tell her to count every row, especially when she is first starting, so she can avoid making the inevitable triangle everybody makes when they first start out!

 

I see from some of the posts above that she might be having some trouble with tension as a result of hand pain/the hook she's using.  Maybe once she finds a comfortable way and is a bit more natural with a hook and yarn, she might be a little less stressed.

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I am teaching a friend to crochet and was able to get her to accept some Bates Bamboo hooks for her birthday.  She was having trouble holding the metal hooks she had purchased. 

 

We are starting with dishcloths because I keep telling her even when it isn't "perfect" at the end, you will clean with it.  That has helped with some of the stress over the stitches not being perfect.

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She told me on Monday that she did go home and practice chaining, and that she was liking the way things were looking. Her hands still hurt, so maybe for her birthday this summer I'll grab her a Tulip or Amour hook (I have both and I love them!).

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if her hands hurt she needs something like a soft touch hook or tulip..and I would tell her to get one NOW.  If her hands hurt that is not going to help her tension one bit.

 

I have a bad/old wrist injury and I can tell in less than 5 minutes when I'm not using a soft touch or other hook like that.  I have found I really like the Crochet Dude hooks (thanks Drew!) as well as the soft touch.

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If you have access to some different brands maybe let her try some to see what she likes.  It took me a few tries before I got to the Bates Bamboo.  I had tried several brands people often post about and they didn't work for me.  The person that taught me had only ever used metal hooks so other than different brands of metal, I didn't have lots to try before buying them myself.

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