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Monday, May 13, 2019

How to teach crochet to beginners

Teaching crochet to a person or a group of people that totally new about crochet could be challenging yet fun!
Soon after few minutes teaching a crochet class for beginner, we will notice that there is someone who easily engaged to crochet, while others struggle even to hold both yarn and hook at once. I remember my first class teaching crochet, pretty awesome to me. Gives me insight what to prepare for next classes.

Later on, when we talk about crochet classes in a closed group, everyone shares their experiences teaching a crocheter beginner, and here are some points to put into consideration for those who will have their first crochet class. 

1. Preparation speech

I always think that giving a front speech about crocheting to beginner is nice, to give them idea that we are at the very beginning point of becoming a crochet crafter. I always do this for the class, not very long, it is usually around 5-10 minutes include introducing myself. I usually explain that later on, we might face the feeling called a crochet block, but then there are also days when all we want to is just crocheting, nothing else! We have to understand that all these things are normal, everyone been there! But to maintain our crochet mojo is a must to make a fortune, even if we must also consider taking a break during the way. Don't forget to tell them that the beginning is always the hardest, then should get easier by the time.  

2. What to make?

For the first meeting on crochet class, almost all audiences will love something finished to take home.
Chose the small project carefully. It should not be too complicated, because we might have to introduce many stitches at once along with learning to understand the pattern.

So here are some lists of small projects that might help for teaching a beginner.

* Making a super simple wash cloth, granny squares, coaster.
Remember that they will have something to make since day 1 and show progress. Start from the easiest. A lot of crochet crafters recommend granny square is good to learn stitches and tips at once.

* When we teach teens, it might a little bit more challenging. Because sometimes they automatically think that crocheting identical to grandma stuff and definitely not cool at all, lol.
Well, one of my crafter friend experienced this too, haha. But then she stole those little girls heart by teaching them making pompoms, because the idea is to make them feel comfortable with the yarn first. Other suggest making stitches using bare hands (hand crochet), but this option might be more challenging when we have a left handed person.
Next class there will be some people refuse to attend, but don't worry, crocheting is always only picking the right person, :P. Next crochet class for teens we can try to make book markers, which they can use when they back to school. 

3. What to learn?

-Definitely, how to hold the hook, yarn and start chaining, make a constant chain is the very first thing  they should master at.  Some people who are teaching crochet many times suggest to use hook J or H,  they are perfect for beginner, not too small neither too big. So the purpose of having finished project to take home could be easier.

-Soon after the class member feel more comfortable handling the hook and yarn, it is a sign to learn the basic stitches. As I mentioned before, use medium-large hook (H or J size) and thick yarn. it would be more advantageous to use solid and light colour, so the class members can see the difference between stitches.  Using too small or too large hook and yarn tend to make the beginner frustrated. Too small hook and yarn will take longer time to finish, and the tension also a little harder to maintain, on the other hand, using too large hook and yarn can be challenging in making the stitches.

-Next step is teaching them about how to change row without losing stitches, here we remain them the importance of counting. Sometimes I feel sorry when one of the learner made mistake in changing rows, yet feel grateful at a time because they will know exactly what will happened if they miss even only one stitch, and of course it is a good lesson for the whole class too. What I usually do is we then teach them how to count properly and match it with the pattern, so they clearly have ideas where the mistake was, and not to repeat it in the future.

my crochet note of the first year learning crochet. Reminds me that things  are not always easy, but  passion is worth to follow.

-Reading a pattern is one of crucial thing of crochet crafter should be skilled. I have met some people, they can crochet neatly (which is amazing). They learned it from other people by watching them to see how it works and able to repeat it. However, they cannot read pattern, this put me into a shock. Months later, I did not see any improvements or any creative products making they could have, just because they can't read patterns which are available and accessible freely from internet or books. So, this is our duty to get the learners understand the importance of reading pattern and how to do it correctly. Please introduce them with both diagrams and written patterns.

4. What else to prepare?

I put these lists just in case we might forget something prior the class. I usually prepare the bags of crochet stuffs for class at least 1 day before.
- make a copy of lesson ( written instructions and charts) to take home so they can make a practice at home.
-videos or youtube might help too! prepare suggested lists to watch at home.
- bring at least one of our finished product that they are going to make at the class. Believe me it helps a lot, it is helpful to show them mistakes (if they made it) and a great way to compare between pattern and the end product.
- get someone as a helper to reach all people to make sure they are doing right thing. If it is impossible to have a helper, having the beginner itself who is already engage with the lesson might help too, she/he can teach others next to them to make sure they are fine.
- carry a box of paper clip to mark stitches and rows, it help them counting.
- if the class is for teens, make something fun and funky because they don't want to be seen like grandmas. We can try bracelets, hair clips, etc
- bring our stock of excess yarn, make something quick with the scraps in multi colours is what most girls love. It is also good to give them a skill on changing yarn during the project.

At the end, all I just can say is to be patient. We are all know that crochet might not for everybody. The first and second class are usually the hardest. Notice that even holding a hook and yarn altogether are also a big progress, remains them and our self that there will be a lot easier later.
Have fun teaching!

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