S.O.S – Saving our Stitches in the era of YouTube

I admit that I am of a certain age that while I don’t remember a time without computers, I remember a time without the Internet: When Google wasn’t the ubiquitous resource that it is today (a frightening thought, I know). But with this, I also remember a time before YouTube – that delightful assistant/distraction that you swear you will only go on for five minutes and then realize it is 2 a.m. and you have to be up in three hours and you haven’t gotten any sleep. But, I digress.

When I first started learning crochet, I was younger than my daughter is now. I was about 6 or 7 years old and I was learning from my mother, who I assume learned from her grandmother. My mother had the patience of a saint, and was able to teach me to chain pretty well and to do a double crochet; beyond that, neither of us really knew what to do. We lived in a smallish suburb and most of our neighbors were younger people who really didn’t know how to do fiber art. So, when we had questions about patterns (which were on the inside of the yarn label), we kind of had to figure it out on our own. Combining that with the fact that I was young and had zero attention span….squirrel!…I really didn’t get too far.

Fast forward to a year ago when I got re-hooked on crochet. Not only did I have an awesome friend who was able to explain some basics to me, I discovered there was a world of opportunity and resources in front of me. There was Etsy where I could find the most unique and inventive patterns; there was Ravelry (if I can’t do enough damage on Etsy, there is another outlet for my OCD). But what was really helped to expand my world was the Internet. Yes, there are books out there that I can reference to explain a certain techniques, but sometimes that doesn’t give me the same level of detail that my attention span….squirrel!…can understand – even if the sketches are in detail. However, if I can watch someone demonstrating the stitch and be able to replay that demonstration as many times as I need, I can practice and learn how to replicate the effect.

Before I got comfortable with reading crochet patterns, the only way I could make a project was if I was following a YouTube video. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent with videos from The Crochet Crowd learning how to make hats and scarves. Then I found out about Craftsy (now Bluprint) and its video classes; watching those helped me learn to read crochet patterns (my bank account hasn’t thanked me for learning that particular skill, but it has opened up what I am able to make).

Even as I have gotten more comfortable with different stitches – and for the most part, amigurumi (my preferred crochet) uses basic stitches: Single crochet, half double crochet, double crochet. However, there are certain patterns that use different stitches to give a certain flair to a project; or, a scarf or a blanket decide to use a different method. Where in the past, I would either have panicked or avoided the project, now I have a way to find help and to learn something new. This has actually happened to me twice in the past week.

The first time it happened I was looking into a blanket project that called for a C2C method. Say what now? Turns out that was corner to corner crochet. Yep, I still wasn’t following. To YouTube!

The first video I watched, I was okay for the first row or two, but then the presenter started going a whole lot faster than my little brain was able to process and all that was happening was I was getting frustrated and ripping out my stitches. I started poking around some different videos and just like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, I found the video that was just right for me and was able to help me understand what I was doing wrong with my stitches. I’m still working on the project, but I have more confidence and even though my stitches aren’t entirely correctly, I have learned so much and know the next time I try, it will be even better.

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My work in progress C2C blanket square

And just today I went back to my friend the Interwebs and YouTube to learn how to do a front popping popcorn stitch. I usually have a high reading comprehension, but when it comes to artistic type things I totally am a visual learner and I need to watch someone perform the stitch and then I need to practice it with them. What didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me in print, when I watched the stitch being done in front of me, suddenly clicked and I was like….I can do that.

And that really is the beauty of having online resources. What in the past I would have looked at and have said – I can’t possibly do that, becomes within reach and I can sit there and go – yeah, I really can do that. I might not be perfect at it immediately (which is still hard for me to deal with – I want to excel right from the beginning), but I know with these tools and some practice, I can learn skill(s) and enhance my abilities, what I am able to make, and what types of projects I enjoy.

It does make a world of difference to be able to have such a wealth of resources available. I am so grateful to the artists, designers, and instructors who take their time to create these video tutorials and sharing their experiences and tips with us. I really wouldn’t be where I am today without this guidance.

So, the next time you come across an unfamiliar term remember the wealth of resources we have in this awesome electronic age and you will totally be able to save your stitches and create a killer project.

Hugs and cuddles,

Elisha

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