Keeping My Hands Out of the Biscuit Tin – Sewing Projects: Knitting Needle Case

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I’ve taken up crafting over the last couple of years (although Mr FFF says I’ve always been crafty!). I started with painting before investing in a sewing machine and beginning to explore the world of needlecraft.

I started last November after buying myself a sewing machine for my birthday. At that time of the year, it was easy to practise my skills by making a variety of Christmas-themed decorations for myself and my nearest and dearest. But once the festive season had passed, I was a bit stuck for what to make.

Imagine my delight then when my mum decided to take up knitting once again and requested a knitting needle case.

I found a pattern online, had a very enjoyable trip to Hobbycraft to pick some appropriate fabric and trimmings and got to work. It was a tricky little project and I considered giving up on it at one point, but I persevered and managed to get it finished in time for Mother’s Day. My mum was delighted with it and I’d honed my skills, learnt new techniques and enjoyed myself in the process.

Keeping My Hands Out of the Biscuit Tin – Learning to Crochet

As I’ve written about previously, I’ve been keen to try new hobbies and develop new skills over the last couple of years. Having made some very simple sashes for costumes for a school play last summer and being reminded of how much I enjoyed sewing on the few occasions that we did it in Home Ec at school, I invested in a basic sewing machine and have been completing some simple projects to improve my skills (more to come on these in future posts).

But, having very limited time to fit crafting into my already busy weeks, I decided I wanted to try something that I could do in front of the TV in the evenings. So, inspired by the clever creations of a couple of friends, I’ve been learning to crochet.

I had a little one-to-one workshop with my extremely patient cousin who showed me how to get started (apparently this is called casting on) and how to do some basic stitches – chaining, single- and double-crochet. I kept practising the basics until I was able to cast on independently without looking online for a video to remind me how, but I still couldn’t count the stitches properly. It’s sometimes harder than you think to count to 10 which is a bit embarrassing to admit when you’re a teacher!

Then I had a friend visiting from the US who is also into crafts and wanted to re-learn to crochet. She’d found a local crochet and knitting company who sell everything you need to get you started that she wanted to visit and so off we went. With her encouragement, I bought a beginner’s Octopus Kit and gave it a go. I actually completed it using my ‘practise’ yarn rather than the stuff that came in the kit because I’m a bit of a perfectionist and wanted to make sure I could do it before I used the kit (yes, I am aware this is ever so slightly bonkers but hey-ho!).

I’m pleased to say that, with the help of my friend in teaching me to read the pattern, my mum who helped me to count stitches and several YouTube videos, I eventually completed the pattern. Now, there are some mistakes (a couple of the legs are back-to-front but that doesn’t make him any less of an octopus) but I’m really proud that I managed to complete it. I can even count the stitches fairly reliably now. Well, I’m getting there anyway.

The best thing was though, it’s definitely not something that you can do whilst eating biscuits and chocolates. Although Mr FFF says the best thing about it is that he doesn’t have to spend the evening listening to the whirring of my sewing machine!

I’m looking forward to completing my next octopus using the actual yarn from the kit – if I ever get a minute to sit down and start it!

Do you crochet? What are your top tips for a beginner? Let me know in the comments section.

Thanks for reading,