There’s so much more to crochet than granny squares and ripple stitch! Take your crocheting in a new direction this summer when you learn new crochet stitches in my Crochet Stitch Workshop, a series of online classes.
Each 90-minute video-conference session stands alone, so you can take just the ones you are interested in, or take the whole series. Classes are priced individually.
Where Does it Happen?
It’s all online, so you can be anywhere! Just register for the classes you want, and you’ll get an invitation to the Zoom Meeting.
When Are the Sessions?
Live interactive streaming sessions take place on Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. Eastern during July and August.
Note that these sessions are not recorded, so you’ll need to be there to participate.
How Does It Work?
You’ll receive a handout with text and charted instructions for several different stitch patterns using the technique. You’ll watch a live-streaming demo of the techniques and the stitch patterns. Then you’ll be able to practice your choice of stitch pattern(s).
I’ll be right there to answer your questions and help you through any trouble spots, just like I would if we in the same room together.
This post contains affiliate links.
Are There Any Prerequisites?
We’ll be using American crochet terminology. You should be familiar and comfortable with the basic crochet stitches: chain, single crochet, half double crochet and double crochet.
You should know how to read a crochet pattern. Understanding symbol crochet diagrams is also helpful, but not required.
Knitting classes and crochet classes are almost the definition of “hands-on”. But now that we can’t be together physically, what’s it like to take a knitting or crochet class virtually?
Is it even possible to learn a new skill in these circumstances? The answer is an emphatic yes! Even in a distanced world, you can make the most of your next virtual knitting or crochet class.
This post contains affiliate links which may provide a small income to me if you buy something, but they won’t cost you anything extra.
You may already be familiar with video learning from YouTube or platforms like Creativebug and the (former) Bluprint/Craftsy. You may have found that those one-way classes are perfect for you, and that you don’t need live interaction with your instructor.
But if you want more, try out virtual classes with a live teacher. You’ll find more and more of these online as teachers pivot from teaching at large in-person events to virtual classrooms. Learn how with these best tips for learning in an online knitting or crochet class.
It’s no fun when your screen locks up or the little “buffering” wheel goes round and round. Make sure others in your household are not hogging shared bandwidth. Have them do something else while you are in class.
Can you go to a place that has a better connection? Most public libraries have public internet, and even if the library is not open, you may be able to connect from a parking lot or sitting area just outside the library.
Try to let the teacher know ahead of time if you know that your internet is unreliable and you might get kicked off at any moment. They might have to let you back into class at some point, and a heads-up on that is helpful. Find out if the class is being recorded and if it will be available afterward in case you can’t access it during class time.
You may want to leave your camera off as much as possible to help with streaming. Turn it back on when/if you need to show yourself or your work.
If you have a choice of devices, you’ll want the one with the most screen real estate.
You’ll need to be able to see the instructor’s hands on close-up shots. You’ll want to be able to see their face, and maybe those of your fellow students. It’s also helpful to see chat comments and questions in a sidebar (on some platforms).
Don’t count on using your phone as your main screen. You won’t be able to see well enough, and some of the teaching platforms don’t have as many features available on the mobile versions.
Well before class starts, do a dry run with your equipment.
Download the app you’ll be using. If you already have the app, check for updates. Sometimes updates take a while, so allow time to install them.
Make sure your speaker or headphones/earbuds work with your device. Check that your microphone is working and you have allowed the app to access it. If you don’t know how to do these things, ask for help from a family member or friend. Or Google it.
Practice using the platform. Most of the platforms have a free version. Set up a time to meet with a friend so you can become familiar with the features and quirks of the program.
At some point, you may need to show your work to your teacher. Especially if you are having trouble executing a technique, it will be important for the teacher to see your hands.
Think about how you can do this. Is there a way for you to set the camera above your hands, shooting down (at least temporarily)? Can you hold your hands up to the camera (which presents the reverse side of the work to the viewer)? Can you move the camera to your lap, so the teacher can see the work from your perspective?
Sit in a comfortable seat, with the screen on a table or stand where you can see it easily. Remember that you’ll need your hands to crochet or knit! Keep your lap free for your work.
If it’s an interactive class, where the instructor and other students need to see you, try to set the camera angle so that it gets your full face. You don’t want them looking up your nostrils or just at your forehead!
Make sure you have adequate task lighting, with the light in front of you. Turn off lamps and close the blinds behind you to prevent harsh backlighting which throws your face into shadow.
Place any class supplies within reach, including notions like scissors and yarn needles. Keep some extra yarn handy, as well. You don’t want to have to step away to look for a missing notion, and you won’t have a fellow student next to you to let you borrow their scissors!
Think about the things you might want to have with you in a regular in-person class: water bottle, pencil, notebook. Have those things handy, as well.
Turn off the TV. Put your cell phone in another room, or turn off the ringer. Try to be in a room by yourself, or at least have the kids and pets in another room. Don’t be doing laundry or other tasks while in class.
You’ve probably paid for the class, so get your money’s worth by concentrating on the class just as you would if you were attending in person.
Disappointing advice, I know. You don’t have to wear hard pants, but do make sure you are dressed. You may be on video, and even if you think only your upper half will show it’s safer to have all your clothes on!
Some people suggest that wearing “real” clothes will signal to your body that it’s time to work (or learn), so there’s that, too.
There are always unexpected background sounds in any meeting. Sirens, lawn mowers, barking dogs, shouting children, people talking in the next room, someone asking what’s for dinner. Multiply this by the number of students in the class, and it can get noisy fast!
Unless you need to say something, turn your microphone to mute (there’s a setting on the platform you are using). Your teacher may mute you, as well. You can always unmute yourself when you have something to say.
What Old Rules? The ones you followed back in the days when you took live classes in person with teachers and other students right there in the room with you!
Yes, I know you are at home in your comfy chair, with yarn in your hand. You have your favorite beverage nearby and you are ready to settle in to learn something new.
You didn’t have to get a baby sitter or a pet setter. You didn’t have to take a road trip or get on a plane. You didn’t have to get up early, deal with rush hour, find a place to park, locate a classroom in the bowels of a convention center. You didn’t have to pick a place to sit that was close enough to see the teacher but—God forbid!—not in the front row.
But the familiarity of home has a downside. Namely, you aren’t quite as excited to learn as you might be if you had gone to more trouble to get to class. After all, by now you may have attended a Zoom meeting or fifteen, and haven’t found them all that exciting.
Build up the excitement and enthusiasm you’d feel if you were traveling to a new venue. Pretend that’s what you are doing.
Pack a bag with all your class materials, throw in snacks and a water bottle, and put it by the door.
Now take a 15-minute walk in your neighborhood to clear your mind. You need the exercise before you sit before your screen for an hour or more. And if you were at a fiber event, it would probably take you a 15-minute walk to get to your classroom!
When you come back home, pick up your bag, go into the room you have decided to use as your “classroom”. Come a bit early and chat with your fellow students, do a little show-and-tell, and generally settle in before the teacher starts class.
This whole experience of interactive learning online is new to most of us.
It’s new to your Instructors. Instructors are learning to use their classroom skills in a new environment. Lesson plans have had to change. We are learning the new technology along with our students while we navigate classroom management, invitations, privacy, screen sharing and other hosting duties at the same time.
It’s new to your fellow students. Along with you, they are learning the ins and outs of muting, camera set-ups, and all the distractions that come from life. All this, while trying to learn whatever it is that the teacher is trying to teach!
Be patient with your teacher, with your fellow students, and most of all with yourself as you adapt to this new way of learning. With practice, we’ll all become more comfortable with interactive online learning in our yarn world.
As more in-person events go virtual, it’s a whole new world out there for teachers and students alike. Technology platforms and teaching/learning best practices are changing daily. I’ll try to update this post (and add new ones) as I myself practice and learn more about virtual learning.
The best way to see how live and interactive online knit and crochet classes work for you is to try it!
To recognize National Crochet Month, I’m giving away two copies of my best-selling crochet border book, Every Which Way Crochet Borders! It’s filled with step-by-step written instructions and crochet charts, and features 139 borders. Plus, just like my previous border book Around the Corner Crochet Borders, all of the borders in this book turn a 90-degree angle, so there’s no fussing when you’re trying to complete an edging.
This post contains affiliate links.
How to Enter
EDITED TO ADD: The Giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Winners Debbie and Angelia!
To enter for a chance to win, just comment on any March 2020 blog post! More details:
Comment on any March 2020 blog post
One comment per blog post, but you can comment on every post throughout the month
Each new on-topic comment counts as one entry
Only US residents eligible
Comments accepted as entries from now through March 31, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern
Two winners will be chosen at random on April 1, 2020
Winners will be contacted via the email they used to leave a comment
If winner does not respond within seven (7) days of being contacted, a new winner will be chosen
This is the story of my first knitting project. It’s a story that spans 50 years. It’s about yarn and memories and connections that come full circle. And it includes a free beginner pattern. This striped garter-stitch scarf is a good beginner project for novices who have the patience to knit a whole scarf. Don’t want to knit so much? Make it a coaster or cowl instead.
This post contains affiliate links.
In the Beginning
When I was about six, one of my favorite books was A Gift from the Lonely Doll, by Dare Wright. In the story, The Lonely Doll —whose name is Edith—knits a scarf for her dad, Mr. Bear. She knits diligently at every possible opportunity and (spoiler alert) the scarf ends up too long. It’s worth reading the book for all the adorable details.
Like my doll heroine, I wanted to knit a striped scarf for my father’s Christmas present. The scarf must be red and black, the team colors of his beloved University of Georgia Bulldogs.
My First Knitting Project
My maternal grandmother lived with us and was happy to teach me to knit. We started with a skein of black Germantown worsted wool, some leftover bits of red Germantown, and a pair of straight needles. She showed me how to cast on—the German twisted cast on, no less!—and how to do the knit stitch.
I knit and knit. The stitch count changed from row to row, but that didn’t matter to me.
I knit and knit and knit. I learned to change colors, although not always on the correct side.
I knit and knit and knit. The scarf grew slowly. Yarnover holes and incomplete stitches magically disappeared overnight. It’s the only time in my life that the Knitting Fairy has corrected my knitting.
I knit and knit and knit and knit and knit. Now it was starting to look like a scarf. I tried it on frequently to see if it was long enough.
I knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit . Nana kept urging me to knit a few more rows, but I was on deadline and anxious to finish on time. (Sound familiar?)
Just in time for Christmas, the scarf was long enough. Because the edges were so wobbly, Nana single crocheted around the whole thing to tidy it up. We wrapped it up in anticipation of the big reveal the next day.
On Christmas morning, Daddy opened the package. He made all the appropriate noises about how beautiful the scarf was, and how hard I must have worked to make such a special gift. Apparently it was the best gift ever!
I never saw him wear it, and I eventually forgot about it.
About 25 Years Later
Visiting my parents’ house, I caught a glance of red and black rolled up in the back of a drawer. It was my first scarf! Daddy had saved it all those years!
But that photo doesn’t really do it justice. Let me help you understand the scale of this scarf.
It is 4″ wide x 22.5″ long. Despite all my efforts, and even trying it on my skinny six-year-old neck, it was way too small to be worn by an adult male! Furthermore, we lived in Georgia where scarves aren’t even needed. The scarf came home with me, to remind me how much my technique had improved.
About 25 Years Later
As I wandered the aisles of a trade show, my eye caught a familiar sight: Germantown yarn from Kelbourne Woolens. I’m pretty sure I squeed out loud. I may have jumped up and down a little bit.
About Germantown Yarn
For that first scarf, and for many projects after that, Brunswick Germantown Worsted was my go-to yarn.
Knitters who have been around for a long while will remember this ubiquitous yarn. There weren’t nearly as many yarns available as there are now, but Germantown was a classic worsted weight standby that came in many colors.
When Kelbourne Woolens owner Courtney Kelly heard the story of my first scarf and what Germantown meant to me, she immediately suggested that I make another scarf, and provided the yarn for me to knit it.
My First Scarf Knitting Pattern
So here, fifty years after the original scarf, is the pattern for My First Scarf. This version is meant to be easy enough for new knitters to knit, and long enough and warm enough to actually be worn by an adult.
Presented in Georgia Bulldog red and black, of course. Note that black is not the best choice for beginners; feel free to use different, lighter colors for easier visibility.
The free pattern is below; you also can purchase a printer-friendly pdf.
Want to knit it in Germantown yarn? You’ll get 10% off the price if you use code EDIEECKMAN at checkout here.
Kelbourne Woolens Germantown (100% North American wool, 220 yds/201 m, 100 g), 1 skein each #005 Black (A) and #625 Scarlet (B), or colors of your choice.
US size 8 (5 mm) knitting needles or size to obtain correct gauge
Leave a 4-5″ [10-13 cm] tail of yarn each time you change yarns so that you’ll have enough yarn to securely weave in the tails. Each time you change yarn colors, the yarn tails should be on the rightmost edge of the scarf.
Recently a new player has arrived in the crochet world. WeCrochet is a new multi-faceted brand that focuses entirely on crochet. I interviewed Heather Mann, Marketing Coordinator of WeCrochet, about what crocheters can expect to see.
This post contains affiliate links, which may provide a small income to me if you buy something, but doesn’t cost you anything extra.
Tell us a little about WeCrochet, and why you felt there was a need for a crochet-specific brand.
There are many websites, publications, and brands devoted to knitting, but almost none that focus exclusively on crochet, yet crochet is increasing in popularity according to Google search trends. We wanted to create a place for Crocheters, by Crocheters, with patterns and content that is tailored to what Crocheters want.
What does WeCrochet offer than is different from other sites that offer yarn and crochet patterns?
carry our own yarn (co-branded with our sister site, Knit Picks), our
own crochet hooks, and develop our own patterns, but that’s just the
The most important component of WeCrochet is the community we are building within the already vibrant online crochet community. We feature Crocheters on our blog and in our magazine, feature community crocheters’ photos on Instagram and Facebook, interact with people via our Ravelry and Facebook groups as well as all our social media channels. I think the passion our staff has for crochet (we are all Crocheters too) spills out into everything that we do, and you can feel the love we have for crochet and our crochet community.
How did you become involved with WeCrochet?
I was a professional craft blogger (at DollarStoreCrafts.com) for 10 years, as well as running my own influencer marketing company, but I was ready for a change. I’m a super crafty person (I call myself an “omnicrafter”), and I’ve been crocheting for 15 years. When I found out Knit Picks was starting a crochet site AND that their headquarters are in my town, I couldn’t apply for the job fast enough.
I was the first person hired for the new crochet site and I participated in all aspects of defining the brand. I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished in the last year.
Your site is bright and appealing, and has resources for beginning crocheters. What do you offer more advanced crocheters in the way of content?
We are dedicated to serving Crocheters of all levels. Right now what we are doing to serve more advanced Crocheters is providing intermediate and advanced crochet patterns. We have focused on developing beautiful sweater and garment patterns, as well as resources and patterns designed to help beginning Crocheters level up into more advanced Crocheters. We also talk about intermediate and advanced techniques in our magazine, podcast, and blog.
It’s National Crochet Month. What is WeCrochet doing to celebrate?
We’ll be celebrating with a segment on the WeCrochet podcast, donating staff projects to Warm Up America, and doing some fun giveaways on our social media accounts. We’re also starting a new Crochet Along for the Bobble Diamond Blanket, that will go from March-April.
What else do you want us to know?
If you are a crochet designer, keep your eye on our Ravelry group for our submission calls so you can submit patterns to our upcoming publications. And all Crocheters, please feel free to reach out to us anytime via social media.
Yay Crochet Kits from WeCrochet are deeply discounts kits that contain the WeCrochet magazine plus tools and yarns you can use to make some of the projects in the magazine.
Here are some of the beautiful yarns available from WeCrochet’s website:
You can never know everything there is to know about crochet, but take this month to learn more. The more you know, the better (and happier) crocheter you will be.
Don’t get stuck in a rut. Let this be the month you try a new stitch pattern. There are thousands of ways you can combine basic crochet stitches to make fabulous fabrics.
Check out online sources for individual stitch patterns, or look at some of the following stitch dictionaries, which offer many stitch patterns in one place.
Every Which Way Crochet Borders
Indepensable Stitch Collection
Japanese Craft Book - Crochet Motif Edging 300 Patterns
Japanese Craft Book 300 Crochet Patterns
The Big Book of Crochet Stitches
The Crochet Stitch Bible
Crochet Stitch Dictionary
The Complete Book of Crochet Stitch Designs
Crochet Stitches Visual Encyclopedia
Continuous Crochet Motif 60
Get comfortable with symbol charts. If you’ve shied away from crochet symbol diagrams, take some time now to understand them. Symbol diagrams are a visual representation of crochet stitches. They can be a huge help in understanding the sometimes confusing language in crochet patterns.
Put crochet in an unexpected place. Crochet a border on a picture frame or basket. Or go big and yarn bomb something! It’s always fun to see crochet in a surprising place.
Join a Crochet Along (CAL). Crochet Alongs happen all the time, so you should be able to find one at any time you happen to read this post. This month, I’m finishing up a 5-Panel Blanket Crochet Along with Plymouth Yarn, but you can still join in and catch up in your own time.
It’s fun to crochet with others. If you’ve crocheted in public, you’ve probably run into like-minded souls there. Collect their contact information and meet up at a local coffee shop.
Find a local crochet guild, form a lunchtime crochet group at work or school, or see if your local yarn shop has a “open table” for yarn crafts.
Consider going to a crochet conference, where you’ll find oh-so-many passionate crocheters. The Crochet Guild of America hosts the annual Chain Link conference. It includes a market and crochet classes for all skill levels. There’s plenty of opportunity for sharing laughter and knowledge with other crocheters.
What you are going to do to celebrate National Crochet Month?