A Strong Left Hook: Crocheting Under Pressure
I was filming a series of videos with Robyn Chachula in February 2015 when she asked me to whip up a quick granny square for an extra segment on crochet blankets. I froze. What type of square design did she mean? What yarn and hook? Did she know that, because I’m left-handed, all my work was backwards? Did she want me to block the square? Most importantly, did she know I crochet really slowly (compared to her)? Robyn is such a great crochet designer; would my square be good enough?
About halfway through my mental freak-out, Robyn found some extra yarn. In less than a minute, she completed a square and we carried on with filming. I was quite relieved.
In my time filming with Robyn, I learned that she has dyslexia, which makes it hard for her to distinguish letters and symbols from one another and has a big effect on her reading and writing. When Robyn was first starting to crochet from patterns, her dyslexia made it difficult for her to decode the symbols and diagrams. As a result, she developed her own way to follow crochet diagrams. When Robyn teaches, she has found that even students who do not have dyslexia have an easier time following patterns and diagrams when they follow her methods. Through overcoming this difficulty in her own life, Robyn has helped countless people to enjoy crochet and pursue patterns and designs that might otherwise have been outside their reach.
Whether you’re crocheting on a deadline or challenging yourself with a new pattern or technique, crocheting under pressure can be frustrating and stressful, as I learned during our video shoot. It can be helpful to take a step back and remember the reasons why you love to crochet. You might feel a family connection, a connection to crafters who have gone before, meditation and calm, joy at the beautiful colors and textures of yarn and fabric, a sense of accomplishment at having completed a finished garment, or delight at seeing a loved one’s face light up when they receive a handmade gift. For me, it’s about meditation and the calming effects of crafting: I love the rhythm of the stitches and curling up on the couch with some yarn and a good cup of tea.
If you’re interested in learning Robyn’s helpful tips and tricks, check out her fun crochet videos. Crochet Flowers and Solomon’s Knot are two great places to start. For even more information, check out Robyn’s book Blueprint Crochet Sweaters: Techniques for Custom Construction.