This is one of the exercises in Hook to Heal: 100 Crochet Exercises for Health, Growth, Connection, Inspiration and Honoring Your Inner Artist. This exercise is about "letting go" by learning a new crochet technique.
Why Letting Go Is Important
It’s important in creative work to always come back to being a beginner. There can be comfort in doing work that we’ve gotten good at and there’s definitely a time and place for that (that’s why I have so many large granny square blankets at my house!) but it can be a hindrance to creative growth as well. When we forget what it’s like to struggle with a technique, things get routine and the creativity can stagnate. Going back to a beginner’s mindset and learning anew can refresh all of the work that we do.
Letting Go Exercise: Learn a New Crochet Technique
Take time to explore the emotions that arise as you become a beginner again. Is there fear of doing it incorrectly? Is there frustration at lacking skills? What negative things are you saying to yourself in this process and how can you turn those around into positive things? Here are the steps for this exercise:
1.Select your technique. What have you always wanted to try in crochet but haven’t learned yet? (Below you’ll find a list of possible options.)
2.Find the right instructions. How do you learn best? Crochet books, written online patterns, photo-based tutorials, online video instruction, in-person or online classes … there are many different ways to learn crochet techniques. Play around with what works best for you. Set yourself up for success.
3.Gather the materials. Most crochet techniques won’t require anything new; the hooks and yarn already in your stash will suffice. However, some techniques require different materials. For example, Tunisian crochet uses a different type of hook and broomstick lace will require a large knitting needle, dowel or other comparable cylindrical item. Make sure you have the materials you need to get started.
4.Practice the technique. Make some swatches. Learn the process.
5.Crochet a pattern using your new technique. It’s not enough to just learn the steps. You want to take it further and make sure that you can use them to make something. Choose a pattern that uses the technique that you’re learning and work it until you’ve got the hang of it.
Ideas for Crochet Techniques to Try
Here is a list of some popular crochet techniques that you might want to learn if you don’t know them yet. Of course, there are many different crochet techniques out there and this is only a partial list to get you started. One of my favorite things about crochet is that you can make many things with only a few simple stitches but there is also an endless array of other techniques to learn if you so desire! Here are more than two dozen suggestions:
- Colorwork Techniques including Tapestry Crochet, Fair Isle Crochet, Overlay Crochet and Reversible Crochet.
- Lace Crochet Techniques including Broomstick Lace, Hairpin Lace, Filet Crochet, Solomon’s Knot and Bruges Lace.
- Alternative Material Crochet including working with wire, beads, glass, recycled fabric and plastic bags. You can also do mixed media crafting.
- Alternative Tool Crochet including Tunisian Crochet, Finger Crochet, Cro-hooking and cro-tatting.
- Advanced Crochet Basics including working in different loops, join-as-you-go techniques, chainless foundation, crochet felting.
- And more! There is always more to learn in crochet. Try amigurumi, hyperbolic crochet, Bavarian Crochet, entrelac crochet or freeform work.
One of my favorite crochet books that would be great for this exercise is Crochet Master Class by Rita Weiss and the late, great Jean Leinhauser. It shares information about eighteen different crochet techniques, each one written by a master in that technique, so you get a lot of information and inspiration about things that you might want to try.
Tips for this Crochet Exercise
•Remember that you may not end up enjoying the technique. You don’t have to love it or master it. It’s all about trying it and seeing what happens to your creative process as you work through something new.
•Practice non-judgment. A lot of this “letting go” process is about letting go of the inner critic. That critic will tell you that you’re not doing this right, not getting the hang of the technique fast enough, not recreating the pattern the right way, that you can’t do this … Work gently with your inner critic, telling it that it’s not helping you anyway and you’re sending it on its way out of your mind!
•Set emotional goals for yourself. Write them down and keep them where you can see them as you work. For example, I have a tendency to give up quickly if I’m not getting the hang of something so one of my emotional goals when trying something new is to devote at least one straight hour to it before giving it up. That gives me enough time to run through a range of different emotions and get past my blocks to learn something new.
Take The Exercise Further
How about making a crochet quilt where each square is done using a different new crochet technique? One way to do this is to learn a new technique each month, finishing the month with a 12” square in that technique. At the end of the year, you’ll have one dozen 12” squares to join together to make a large crochet quilt showcasing all of the skills that you’ve learned. It’s a very empowering process to keep learning new crochet techniques all year long, weaving together your beginner self with your experienced self into one whole creative creature.
This is one of 100 creativity exercises in the book Hook to Heal. Buy Hook to Heal on Amazon.