One of my goals for this year was to learn how to crochet. Being a child of the Internet era, I dutifully took to YouTube to find some tutorials - and found myself completely stumped. I knew that I'd need a teacher's gentle guidance to help me stumble through the first few clumsy stitches at least, so it was with great fortune that the wonderful wool shop Baa Ram Ewe moved in just across the road from me a couple of months ago. Was it fate? I like to think so.
I roped along my friend Tash who, as a member of a sewing circle is far more crafty than me, and pottered along to the shop on a sunny Saturday ready to learn everything I could about crochet. If you like to knit or crochet, then Baa Ram Ewe is total heaven. It's a dreamy place, stacked high with every colour yarn you could imagine and I could happily browse for hours, but on this occasion I had my mission. We were ushered into their back room, given our name tags and waited happily for tuition!
It turns out that Tash and I were the only real novices of the group, having never picked up a crochet hook in our lives. The others, most of whom identified themselves as grandmothers who wanted to pass on the craft to their grandchildren (#lifegoals), were there to refresh their skills rather than learn from scratch - with one lady crocheting almost a whole glove whilst we struggled with the basic stitches. We were not disheartened, though, and the teacher was very patient as we tied ourselves in knots. Although we were pretty much the only true beginners, she took us through everything - from different yarn types, to how to hold the hook and the first few basic stitches.
It was a long day, and it was tough to concentrate the whole time. 6 hours of crochet is enough for anyone, but I am proud to say that I walked out having learnt enough to continue on my own at home, which is exactly what I was aiming for. The workshop definitely equipped me with the basic skills and knowledge, and I've since been using this delightful book to improve on what I've learnt. If anything, I'm slightly addicted and have temporarily abandoned my knitting needles to get stuck into some crochet projects. My first, dishcloths, was not adventurous but I surprised myself by making them extra neat (which, in knitting, took me years!) and I'm planning on a cushion next.
If you're a Leeds resident and into a bit of crafting, I would definitely recommend checking out Baa Ram Ewe's workshops. The 'How to Crochet' class cost me just £40 for a whole day, including all the materials needed and a lovely little tote bag, which feels like a bargain to learn a new skill. They've actually got tonnes of options, and I'm tempted by their 'Beyond the Basics' knitting course, as well. Maybe one day I'll be able to knit something that isn't a square. A girl can dream...