TYLE in the Rearview Mirror

The wind has blown with gale force fury for at least two months across much of south Texas. Saturday, April 23rd was no exception. The poor vendors had to anchor their tents and wares to prevent utter chaos from happening on the fields of Blue Mule Winery in Fayetteville, Texas. Fortunately, I was not a vendor this year. I came prepared with clip boards and tools to help my students keep their handouts and other items secure. But, alas! Classes were set up inside the winery so there was no need to worry.

This event was my first go at teaching Intuitive Crochet, and despite nerves, I believe it was a success. I define success by my students. If thy had fun and left with new knowledge and a fresh perspective, then I did my job. Judging by the feedback, that is exactly what happened. Each time I teach this I will add and remove certain aspects while tailoring it to the students present. This was also one of the rare times I didn’t try to teach too much. I’m usually so worried about giving folks their money’s worth I try to cram in as much as possible. This seemed like a good mix of creativity and crochet.

I made them paint before I let them crochet.

The concept that crocheters are free to insert the hook where they want and work any stitch they want is generally revolutionary to my students. Once they wrap their heads around that knowledge they are free to create. I think this is my single most important contribution to the crochet world…setting folks free from constraints so that they make things that are pleasing to them. When I give them simple guidelines (not rules) then they can try different things and make discoveries of their own. It is as if I am giving birth to baby crochet artists. I love it!

Thanks to the internet and the vast resources available to us today, I believe that my next venture is going to be figuring out how to do video lessons so that my methods are available no matter the geographical location. It is an exciting new world we live in today. Follow me on Instagram (@sheryls_hook) and subscribe here to get updates when I blog. I plan on doing little tutorials here as well as general crochet postings.

Until next time, grab a hook and crochet outside the lines.

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What Is Intuitive Crochet?

Clues From History

The origin of crochet is hard to pin down to a specific time or region of the world; however, what we do know is that it is a much younger technique than knitting or weaving. Definitive archaeological records exist for both of these two methods of making fabric. Much less is known about crochet. The Crochet Guild of America has a fascinating article on this subject and is well worth a read. I love that examples have been found in China and Guiana which indicates that crochet was not purely a European skill.

Image: antiquepatternlibrary.org

Long before crochet patterns were written, women and children were taught crochet visually. One of the most well known of the early forms of crochet is Irish Lace. Crochet was used to replicate the more expensive laces worn by royalty and the upper echelon of society. Women would examine the designs of these laces then create their own versions using basic crochet stitches. Once Irish lace became a cottage industry, women would create individual motifs that were sold to lace brokers who had them assembled into full pieces of lace. Often these artisans would create signature pieces that they guarded from others who would seek to steal their design. Some things have not changed except we now have laws to aid in the protection of intellectual property.

The Evolution of My Method

I am of the opinion that those who learned to crochet visually and not introduced to patterns until later in their crochet journey tend to have more of a “gut feeling” for crochet and what the stitches can do and how best to use them. This is my preference for teaching beginners to crochet. I want to get the hook and yarn in their hands, allow them to perfect the skills and then introduce them to the written formulas and designs.

Oddments crocheted by me using hand spun yarn in a variety of methods.

Intuitive Crochet Is Not A Roadmap

I am of the belief that the same is true of crochet. If all a crocheter knows is how to follow patterns, then what happens when the pattern doesn’t work, or they’ve made a mistake? I want crocheters to have an intimate relationship with crochet. I want them to know that a single crochet is basically a cube and that a double crochet is essentially two single crochets stacked. I want them to know what happens when a variety of stitches are worked in a particular…or random order. I want them to learn they can make something by just picking up yarn or thread and a hook. I want them to know what happens when you use a variety of hook sizes with different yarns. I want them to recapture the innocence of childhood and just have fun playing. Once armed with this skill all crochet projects can be approached with confidence. Not everyone who learns intuitive crochet will use it in a freeform style, but they will know they have the skills to tackle anything.

I have taught crochet to adults, children, as well as a few seasoned citizens. The anxiety of making a mistake nearly ALWAYS steals their joy. I am now on a mission to teach crochet intuitively. I am still in the process of figuring out exactly how this will look, but you are here at the conception and I hope you follow along.

As I write my lesson plans for Texas Yarn Lovers Event in April, the first place I will teach in this way, I am excited for the possibilities. It is as if everything I have ever done in crochet has prepared me for this moment. I want to share my love for crochet and sprinkle seeds of crochet love everywhere I go. I hope you come along for the ride.

Until Next Time…crochet outside the lines,

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Crochet Outside The Lines

Hi, my name is Sheryl and I crochet. But…I don’t crochet well with others. By that I mean that I am not good at following other people’s patterns. I buy them because I want the crochet designers I love and admire to be successful. I admire the patterns. I contemplate making the design to the extent I buy yarn and plan to make whatever it is that captured my fancy. But…I never do, or at least I don’t finish. It is just who I am.

Dealing With Reality

I love to crochet. I love to make things. I just don’t love being told what to do. Enter my philosophy: “Crochet outside the lines.” I know this sounds scary, but I am here to guide those of you who are like minded down a path of crochet bliss.

I am also a crochet geek, particularly crochet history and crochet art. This is such an exciting time to be a crocheter: new designers, new magazines, international art installations, new techniques, materials and methods.

For those who know me well, I can be hard to keep up with. It isn’t intentional…really it isn’t. But, now I have a clearer crochet path and two Instagram accounts for my creativity:

@continuousthreads – all of my textile adventures including crochet @sheryls_hook – crochet only – lace, freeform, technical and history

This blog will feature my intuitive approach to crochet and how I use it to make art. I hope whatever kind of crochet you love that you find a home here with me and learn something new to enhance your craft.

One Stitch At A Time

I thought this to be the perfect name for my blog. My crochet technique is based on working a stitch a time just as a painter paints one stroke of the brush at a time. I want to inspire, instruct and encourage all who are interested in what I do. This blog will be my primary focus. No matter the material or the final product, I am not, nor will I ever be a pattern following crocheter. I am an artist and my hearts desire is to teach, inspire, and encourage others to explore all that crochet has to offer. Buy patterns, support designers, crochet from patterns…but also know that you have the ability to crochet outside the lines.

Until next time,

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