They Love Yarn!
Katherine Vercillo • Crochet Concupiscence
Name: Katherine Vercillo
Title: Author, Blogger, Writer, Dreamer
Blog: Crochet Concupiscence
Why do you love yarn?
I love yarn because ... it provides a soothing, relaxing, safe space where I can both find comfort and push the boundaries of my own creativity.
How did you learn to knit or crochet (did you teach yourself or did someone else teach you)?
I first learned the basics of crochet from my mom when I was a child but never really made anything. In my late twenties, in a period of severe depression, I was thinking back to the simple joys of childhood, hoping to find some peace in those things. I re-learned crochet, teaching myself from a children's book and moving on from there. I learn best from books but have also learned a lot of crochet techniques from tutorials and occasionally online videos. In a fun twist, my mom hadn't crocheted since I was a child and since I started, she's also picked it up again; her work has been featured in local art shows.
What was your favorite part about learning to knit or crochet?
It was something that was difficult enough to engage my mind but not so difficult that learning it stressed me out or caused me any discomfort. And I loved that I was able to make so many things after learning just a few simple basics.
What is your go-to project suggestion for beginners?
I started out by making a lot of scarves, one in each basic stitch (single crochet, double crochet, etc.) This gave me a solid foundation for learning all of the basics, and a chance to master them. Gauge doesn't matter so much in scarves so it was easy to make something functional (albeit imperfect) even when all I knew how was how to create a chain and single crochet. (Incidentally, although I started with single crochet, I strongly recommend learning double crochet first, as it is much easier to find where your stitches are supposed to go in this taller stitch!)
What tips do you have for teaching others to knit or crochet?
Take the time to find out how your student learns best and accommodate your teaching to their learning style the best that you can. If you are working with a group, provide several options for learning each step. Some people will learn best by watching you and copying, others with the help of videos, others with the help of printed instructions and photos. Don't assume that the way you learn is the way someone else will learn.
And be encouraging. Share why you love this craft. Share what it does for you and why you do it and why you want others to see if they might love it too. Spreading the love of the craft is going to go a lot further than teaching any one specific skill.
What advice do you have for someone learning to knit or crochet?
Have fun with it. Crochet is this place where it doesn't matter at all whether you get it right or wrong. Nothing bad is going to happen in the world or even in your life if you mess up your crochet work, so it's a great place to learn to be gentle with yourself, to refuse to demand perfection in any stage of your learning process and to just enjoy every comforting detail of making something with yarn and your own hands.