Hooked on a feeling

Ten days ago, I finally got the chance to have crochet lesson number two and discovered that my brain had retained a surprising amount of stitching knowledge – a length of chain stitch was quickly accomplished and it was straight on to some single stitching. By church time an hour later I had a semi-decent piece of work and the generous gift of wool and a hook for a week in order to practice. 

Where I’d got to at the end of lesson two and the progress by the time I got home – note how much better the stitching is at the top than at the bottom. 

Practice is what I did – almost straight away. It was as though my fingers couldn’t bear to be without something to do. Nervously, I reached for the wool as the sermon began and hooked away throughout it. [I was paying attention and ensured that I looked up from time to time and laughed at the jokes.] Out it came again after dinner and in the pub and on the tube home, I was totally erm…hooked.

The next day it continued. While in the pub the night before I’d started my first ‘project’ – a headband – and this proved to be addictive. Out it came on my morning commute; over lunch at my desk [an excellent method of indicating “do not disturb me, I am not currently working and am taking my lunch break”]; and on my way home. It was at some point that afternoon or evening that I had something of a crochet epiphany: I worked out that the flat bit on the hook was for measuring your stitches (i.e. that a 4.0mm hook creates stitches of 4.0mm). With this discovery, I started my project over and found myself truly crocheting with confidence.

Maybe it was because I was slightly on edge last week, but I could not get enough time spent lost in hooking. The weather became miraculously beautiful and for two lunch times I sat in a sunny church yard stitching with a passion, setting an alarm so that I made it back to work in time. The passion was cemented when I made a trip to John Lewis’ haberdashery department to buy my own hook and some more wool. [Crafty tip: if you don’t need a specific type of wool for a project, check out their bargain bucket – I found some gorgeous multi-coloured balls.]

Over the last week I’ve discovered a few things about crochet (and its sister, knitting)…

  • It’s immensely therapeutic and can quickly become an addiction. (Or is this just because I have something of an addictive personality?) 
  • Doing it on public transport creates something of a sensation – people will stare at you, but it’s not because they thing you’re odd, it’s because they’re entranced by the movement of your fingers. 
  • It does strange things to people – a colleague confessed that she now takes a slightly longer commute purely so that she has more chance of a seat and a longer continuous chunk of time in which to get on with her knitting. (The same colleague apparently also likes to hang out in Soho’s bars knitting hats and making conversation with drunk people – whatever floats your boat, I guess.) 
  • The oddest people have, at some point in their past, stitched with wool. 
  • Carrying my wool in the (bright pink) bag I was given at the Olympia Horse of the Year show adds somewhat to the air of eccentricity this hobby gives me.

We’re now looking into organising a stitch & bitch group at work (I’d always been very good at the bitching element, but ‘bitching sessions’ are generally frowned upon) and I have – as of Monday morning – completed my first project. Voila: 

Well, it had to be seen in context, didn’t it?

The finishing off was a little amateur as I improvised, not actually knowing how to do it, but I’m pleased with the results. Now I can’t wait to learn a few more stitches so I can make something even more useful – like a tea-cosy for my mother. I know for a fact that she can’t wait to get some piece of crocheted tat from her darling daughter…

Now do excuse me, I’m currently in the quaint town (ok, city – there’s a cathedral) of Ely and yesterday I discovered a super-cheap wool stall, so I’m off to make some purchases. 


  1. Yep, all the signs of addiction here, Liz 🙂 well done on the first step – there’ll be no holfing you now.

    I’m a knitter and am just back from a morning at our local knitting group. Our daughter knits and crochets, and has been knitting during her commute for years, gathering amazed looks every single day. I’m going to get her to teach me to crochet so I can do it on aircraft, as European airlines still ban knitting needles in hand luggage. Sigh

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