If you came out of quarantine without a new skill or hobby, then did you really even quarantine at all? I’m joking of course, but lots of people did find themselves looking for new ways to pass the time while being sheltered in place at home. I’ve seen people who started new blogs, began baking homemade bread, started cookie decorating businesses, learned how to refurbish old furniture, and more!
There are a few things that I enjoy doing as creative outlets but for some reason, none of those seemed to ease my mind during the quarantine. I couldn’t write anything because there were too many thoughts running around in my head with everything going on. I also couldn’t seem to get into a creative mindset to paint or draw anything because once again there was (and is) so much going on in the world that I just couldn’t focus.
I discovered that what I needed was something creative that didn’t take quite as much brainpower as my normal outlets but was still fun and productive. Instead of needing a way to get my mind going I needed a way to turn my mind off from all the worries of the world and just create. This manifested itself in two ways for me. One way was through refurbishing some furniture for our house and the other way was by teaching myself how to crochet!
What is Crochet?
You’ve probably come in contact with crochet at some point in your life. Hats, shirts, bags, blankets, and even toys can be made with crochet. Crochet is a method of connecting loops of yarn or string together to form some kind of textile. It’s different from knitting in that knitting uses long needles to move loops from one needle to the other while crochet is done with a hook and links the looks together one by one. Also, a crochet “fabric” is usually a bit stiffer and more secure.
Crochet is pretty easy to learn because in its most basic form it only requires you to learn how to create a slip knot, a chain, and one type of stitch. However, crochet can also be fairly complex. For my first project, I landed somewhere in between (even though I definitely took on more than I should have for my first project).
What Have I Made?
Granny Square Afghan
When I first started teaching myself to crochet it was because I was browsing Pinterest, as one does, and found a picture of this gorgeous afghan that I just had to have. I clicked on the link which took me to Esty and low and behold, it was $80. Now that’s not a crazy price considering it was handmade, but there’s no way I was going to be shelling out $80 for a blanket. This led me to try and figure out how to make it myself!
I found a very pretty granny square pattern courtesy of Creative Grandma that was similar enough to the blanket I saw (honestly I like my granny square better). I then figured out my color pallet and how many of each color square I would need. I ended up crocheting 80 granny squares, joining them, and adding a cute border.
I did the math and my afghan took me around 90 hours to make from start to finish. I love my blanket, but maybe that sounds like too big of a project for you to take on. I understand. Here’s another project I’ve worked on recently.
This project is super simple and just takes a little bit of time and practice. By the time you’ve made 2 or 3 of these, you’ll be an expert. This pattern comes from TL Yarn Crafts and is called the Hexi Puff Coaster. She also has a step by step video on Youtube that tells you how to make these.
I began making Hexi puff coasters because my in-laws came over for dinner one night and I realized I didn’t have any pot holders or placemats to place under the serving dishes to protect our newly refurbished table. I decided to make my own and found the Hexi puff pattern. I particularly loved the shape of them. I’ve even made several for friends as housewarming gifts and wedding presents.
*Pro Tip: make sure you use a mostly cotton or wool yarn because your typical acrylic yarns have a higher chance of melting if you put hot serving dishes on top of them.
Striped Baby Blanket
The final project I’ve been working on recently is a plethora of baby blankets. So many of my friends, family, and co-workers are having babies so I figured a sweet little crochet gift would be perfect for those friends.
I decided not to use a pattern and instead just took some inspiration from a couple of different patterns. This blanket is a simple half-double crochet blanket with a double crochet border. I was almost done with my first blanket when I realized I made it WAY too wide. A baby could be wrapped up about 5 times easily in the size blanket I was creating, but instead of unraveling all my hard work, instead, I just added another section to it and created a lap blanket for myself to use at work.
I’m now in the process of starting the baby blanket process again, this time at an appropriate width. If nothing else, my first attempt at least gave me some practice so that the blankets for the babies are even more perfect!
Regardless of what you did or are doing during quarantine, I hope you’re taking care of yourself both physically and mentally! Maybe you could take up crochet to pass the time. There’s no end to the possibilities of what you could make!