How to be a Fabulous Knitter / Crocheter–Introduction

Vera says:

Have you ever…

  1. Come across  a stunning, yet astronomically priced crocheted skirt or a simply darling crocheted baby sweater and wished you could make it yourself?
  2. Been intrigued by someone knitting away in public and wanted them to teach you? Perhaps you learned to crochet as a child and would like to reconnect?
  3. Wanted to learn a technique new like sock knitting, granny squares, or working with colors.
  4. Desired to crochet even though you can knit or vice versa?
  5. Thought about having something to do that’s relaxing, enjoyable, portable and productive? An endeavor that sharpens your reflexes, brain and is good for many social settings or going solo?

If you answered “Yes” to any of the above (or have other reasons), then knitting and crocheting may be in your future.

You’d also become a part of a large–and growing–family of crafters. Over 50 million people in the United States knit and crochet.

I came to knit and crochet via Reason #2.  As a child in New York City, I was fascinated by the women I would see on the city subways and buses working away; it looked like magic to my 9 year old brain.  I used my allowance to buy needles, hooks, and yarn. I didn’t have anyone to teach me and any idea what to do, so I just made something up.

My first project was a  crocheted hat and scarf with a yarn in Halloween colors for my mother, and since I didn’t understand hat shaping, the beret was more like a cone, but she wore it anyway; such is a mother’s love.

In time, I purchased books and taught myself again. My school years were spent making mostly afghans, vests, and pillows–hey, it was the 70’s.  I pretty much put down my needles for some years while in college and the military, but connecting with others on line and in person encouraged me to pick them back up again and learn new techniques like sock knitting.

Today, I’m rarely without a project, and my crafting helps keeps me focused. I enjoy knitting while watching television, on my lunch breaks, or crocheting to smooth my frayed nerves in a  traffic jam.  Although I mostly work in private, I love knitting in public (There’s a day for that), and I have made connections with people locally and all over the world.

I’d love to pass along my knowledge, tips, tricks, triumphs, and disasters gleaned over the years with you.

Some ideas I have are the following…

  1. Tips, Tricks, and Techniques
  2. Reader Q &A
  3. Instructional videos
  4. Knit and Crochet Alongs–a virtual crafting circle
  5. The Crafting Life–Commentary on the world of, needles, yarns, patterns, magazines, etiquette, etc.

Let me know your interests in the comments.

In any event, it’s all about helping each other to become–and remain, no matter what the level–fabulous knitters and crocheters!

Vera Hannaford lives and crafts in Charleston, South Carolina and wishes she’d make more things for her husband, but can’t seem to get around to it.  You can follow her adventures in needlework on Vera’s Crafty Blog and on occasion, get some helpful hints at KnittingTips on Twitter


  1. Colean Oberkamp Brunner on May 27, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    I would also love this. I'm terrible at both knitting and crochet and would love to become an expert like my mom.

  2. Pattyann on May 25, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    I really would like to do this, and I could really use some help. A list of the best books and resources would be amazing. I also need to learn how to read the patterns, so any basic, beginning ideas would be great!
    My recent post Forgiveness Flour

  3. Deborah on May 25, 2011 at 11:21 am

    I have been crocheting for a year and still have issues reading a pattern! Any help would be appreciated!

    • Vera Thomas Hannaford on May 25, 2011 at 6:44 pm

      Last year , I had a student who crocheted all her adult life, but could read patterns. We picked out patterns she would like to and went though them step by step. As I teach new students, I incorporate pattern reading as I go along.

      I'd like to post in detail about it, but it's best to get a good standard crochet book. There are many good ones, but Donna Kooler's Encyclopedia of Crochet is one of my favorites.

      She has an excellent introduction, and that should give you a good start in reading patterns and symbol crochet (which I love).Once you have the basics, find a pattern you'd like to so and sit and read it before starting, and do exactly what it states. Asterisks, brackets, and parentheses can be tricky, so read thoroughly.

      One thing I will caution in pattern reading is that not everyone writes good patterns, and a lot of new crafters get discouraged and feel they can't read patterns when the culprit is sloppy pattern writing.

  4. Shelley on May 25, 2011 at 6:50 am

    I can knit and I can crochet – but patterns are Greek to me. They never turn out and life has limited applications – in the grown up business world and all – for squares and rectangles.
    My recent post Meeting Up in York!

  5. Vera Thomas Hannaford on May 24, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    I only work on projects when traffic is at a total standstill. It calms my nerves.

  6. The Little Wife on May 24, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    What a great idea! I am an avid crocheter, I can no longer sit still for any length of time with still hands. I learned from a book in the Klutz series. However, for the life of me I can not make my hands function with two needles. I would love some tips!
    My recent post Dress Up Bandanna

    • Vera Thomas Hannaford on May 24, 2011 at 9:20 pm

      While I taught myself to knit and crochet at the same time, I crocheted mostly for years. About eight years ago, I decided to pick up my knitting again, and I love, love, love being able to do both. Since you crochet, you are already familiar with needles and yarn and projects, so it's not a big next step to knitting; it's all pulling yarn through loops.

  7. Vera Thomas Hannaford on May 24, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    Thanks for all the kind comments and suggestions. Happy to be part of the Home-Ec 101 family. See you soon.

  8. floweryhedgehog on May 24, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    Sadly, I have tendinitis in my right forearm which acts up when I knit for too long. If you have any tips for knitters with tendinitis, I'm eager to hear of them.

    • Vera Thomas Hannaford on May 24, 2011 at 9:16 pm

      I have friends who have the same problem. Sounds like a great topic for a future post.

      • casey on May 25, 2011 at 8:17 am

        Vera any suggestions for knitters with arthritis? Not sure if that would cause the same issues as tendonitis or not.

        • Vera Thomas Hannaford on May 25, 2011 at 6:48 pm

          I don't know if arthritis and tendonitis have the same issues for knitters, but I have a few friend in the medical profession who are knitters and I plan to consult them before my post on the subject.

          • casey on May 26, 2011 at 9:07 am

            Thanks. I'm actually asking for my mom, she did a lot of knitting for us as kids but hasn't done as much recently because of her arthritis (hands and wrists). Now that she has her first grandbaby I know she'd like to knit her things.

  9. Marianne on May 24, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Vera, I'm excited to see you posting on this site. I bought a beginner's knitting kit with instructional DVD a few years ago. I learned to cast on and … some kind of basic stitch that I don't remember the name of. I did enough stitches to make something about the size of a pot holder, but I never bothered to put the DVD in again and learn how to cast off. Literally years later, that project is still attached to the needle in a shoebox with my yarn. What I'd love to see from you is a true beginner's project, something as basic as a pot holder, which could give us newbies a good sense of accomplishment in a relatively short amount of time. I think if I could get through that, I'd be more eager to continue on to other projects. Needlework is something that I'm truly interested in learning, but it keeps getting pushed lower and lower on my priority list, you know? As for knitting vs crocheting, I don't really have a preference, mostly because I don't know what the differences really are or what pros/cons are for various types of projects.
    Did I mention I'm excited to see you posting here? 🙂

    • Vera Thomas Hannaford on May 24, 2011 at 9:36 pm

      Thanks. Dishcloths are an excellent beginners project. They are small, inexpensive, and a good way to practice without committing to something large. Even for experienced crafters, dishcloths are fun to knit and crochet make great gifts.

  10. Sus on May 24, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    I can't knit or crochet at all, but I'd love to learn how! I bought a beginner set with a video once, but still couldn't get it. I'd love more videos and someone I could email questions to when I get stuck!
    My recent post Cheese- Glorious Cheese!

    • Vera Thomas Hannaford on May 24, 2011 at 9:33 pm

      There are lots of great videos on YouTube and I plan to share some videos and resources I like, but I'm also thinking about doing some of my own videos. Gotta get a manicure first. 😉

  11. Laura Ragsdale on May 24, 2011 at 8:33 am

    I learned to knit 3 years ago by accident. I discovered a local yarn shop and went in to get a birthday present and left after signing up for lessons. Great article 🙂

    • Vera Thomas Hannaford on May 24, 2011 at 9:25 pm

      Local yarn shops–or LYS are the best. I love mine, and I met some wonderful people there.

  12. Stephanie on May 24, 2011 at 8:05 am

    I love everything about this article. I've been a crocheter for 17 or so years and a knitting for about 10. I love to teach people and in fact my daughters are learning both crafts now.

  13. JanetLee on May 14, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Vera, you are an awesome sight to see when you are knitting away. I used to crochet, self taught, but it was so long ago. Some simple refresher type lessons would be welcome.

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