I am making things with yarn and loving it

And now a word from a sponsor…

A few months ago, I took up crocheting – and I love it.

The first week or two were frustrating. I was teaching myself from YouTube videos, which I suspect is harder than having someone teach you in person, and I announced multiple times that I was finished trying, giving it up, not going back to it … and then for some reason I would always pick it back up and keep trying. I’m so glad I did, because now that I’ve figured it out, I love it.

So far I’ve crocheted scarves for everyone in my family and am in danger of offering to make them for strangers. I’ve made a dishcloth, three blankets, and have just begun a fourth. I cannot adequately explain how much joy I’m getting from doing it. (Apparently research shows it’s good for you when your brain and your hands are working on something together. It’s also hugely stressful-relieving, and as someone who mainly produces words, it’s so satisfying to produce a tangible thing.)


I made this blanket!

All this brings me to the Loopy Ewe, which is an incredible yarn shop run by a long-time Ask a Manager reader!

Sheri Berger started The Loopy Ewe in the corner of her basement in 2006. She and her daughter had taken up knitting, made about 40 scarves, finally realized they had enough scarves (I can relate to this), and transitioned to socks. But they were finding that the yarn shops around them only had a handful of sock yarn options, and they wanted more. So the Loopy Ewe was born.

The business took off and a year later they moved into a brick and mortar store. They’ve now got a 7,000 square foot shop in Fort Collins, CO that also sells yarns online. They carry yarns from large companies all the way down to indie dyers (dyeing small scale and running their businesses from home). They have gorgeous yarn that comes from all over the world. I’m particularly eyeing this yarn for a hat.

They have absurdly fast shipping (typically within 24 hours, which I haven’t found anywhere else that’s not Amazon) and great customer service, and they run programs throughout the year to encourage knitters and crocheters to learn new skills.

If you’re already a knitter or crocheter, or if you’ve thought of taking it up, check out the Loopy Ewe for beautiful yarns!

In fact, the Loopy Ewe is offering Ask a Manager readers a set of three free knitting patterns with purchase (for a scarf, a cowl, and socks — great for holiday gift knitting!). To get the free patterns: After you check out, you’ll get a page with a link to leave an order note. Click on that link, let them know you came from Ask A Manager, and they’ll email you the three-pattern set. Check them out today!

Loopy Ewe website
Facebook and their Loopy Ewe Knitting Circle
YouTubeDisclosure: This post is sponsored by the Loopy Ewe. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

{ 247 comments… read them below }

    1. another Hero*

      Same lol watch me read all the way through this ad knowing it’s an ad and also click through. (And Alison, your blanket looks great!)

    2. Becca B.*

      I mean, seriously, I’ve never felt so seen.

      I have a rule now that I can’t buy more yarn unless I have a SPECIFIC project for which I need exactly THIS YARN.

      After looking at the Loopy Ewe, I think I need to find some specific projects.

  1. honeygrim*

    My mom tried to teach me to crochet long ago. I never could manage turning around, and was just making a one-inch-wide scarf/blanket/rope? forever and ever until I gave up.

    Now I’m afraid to start because my 3 cats will not let me have anything string-like in their field of view for more than 2.8 nanoseconds.

    But this makes me want to try.

    1. Slow Gin Lizz*

      Helpful hints for yarn projects with cats around (I’m a long-time knitter and got two kittens two years ago): have a stick cat toy next to you and when the cats start getting interested in your knitting, redirect them to the toy. I also found that when they tried to eat my knitting needles, an actual real stick (which I picked up outside) was a great redirect; they would gnaw on the stick instead of my needles.

    2. Rachel in NYC*

      I can’t say anything about the cat issue. But I equally failed learning to knit when my mom tried to teach me but, a couple of years ago, learned no problem with a few in person classes a my local yarn shop.

      And I’ll admit, a local yarn shop is the most amazing thing.

    3. Works in IT*

      I put a paper bag on the ground when working on my needlepoint projects. The cats transfer their attentions to the bag immediately.

    4. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Some people prefer crochet to knitting. Some people prefer knitting to crochet. If you’ve never tried the other, give it a try. That’s what hooked me. So to speak.

    5. Warm Weighty Wrists*

      I concentrated so hard when my mom taught me how to knit that I literally passed out. Then we took a break that lasted basically forever. :-)
      When my stepmom taught me how to cross-stitch, though, it just clicked. I’ve been happily never completing projects for decades now! (whyyyyy don’t I finish projects)

      1. allathian*

        I used to knit with my grandma, she taught me to do it when I was about 6. I still have an almost-completed scarf in a box somewhere that I made when I was 15 and never completed. I’m 48 now…

    6. Red 5*

      You could always try loom knitting too! I failed at crochet multiple times and was so baffled by knitting I couldn’t get past step one. But I took to loom knitting so quickly it was kind of shocking. And bonus, using the loom actual helped me finally properly visualize the process the way I needed to learn needle knitting and get better at crochet.

      I’ve yet to find anything you can knit on needles that can’t be done on a loom, it’s just a different way to do it, but once it’s finished you can’t tell them apart. I highly encourage loom knitting for anybody that’s faltered at needle knitting or crochet, it might be the only new hobby you need, but it might also help you figure out the others. And as long as you’re happy and making things, any fiber art is good!

  2. Aunt Vixen*

    I love the Loopy Ewe! I have a shocking amount of Too Much Yarn (I know: there’s not supposed to be any such thing) but I can feel it … calling me …

    1. Beth*

      There is no such thing as Too Much Yarn, but there is SABLE (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy).

      1. knitcrazybooknut*

        Came here to say this. It doesn’t help when you start spinning. And work at a yarn store for a year and a half. I just gave away a drum carder, and three full bags of fiber, and it didn’t make much of a dent.

        And these days I’m cross-stitching. Ye gods.

        1. Persephone Mongoose*

          As a fellow spinner, I concur. The fibre stash becomes yarn stash, and it’s a never ending rabbit hole of fluffy goodness.

      2. Amethyst Anne*

        Oh boy, SABLE is a thing. Mom had that. She passed away 3 years ago. My sister, my youngest daughter, and I divided up Mom’s yarn stash. We are all working on it, but I fear we all had SABLE before 2017. YDD not so much, she is kind of fussy about what yarn she brings home from HobbyLobby/Joann’s/Michael’s.

        1. TardyTardis*

          I had a sad experience with give away yarn on Freecycle, two huge bags were being given away. If only I had been warned that they both smelled of cat pee, which I could not get out.

      3. Crochet person*

        I put down my crochet project –the start of a large blanket– to type. I think I may have reached as there is at least 10 miles of yarn in the house. I tell myself that it is excellent insulation. I keep promising myself that I will go “cold sheep” (the official term) but then some yarn will ask to come home with me.

        Allison, your blanket is beautiful. If you want to give yourself a challenge try crocheting something open and lacy. It’s still all the same stitches, just the order you make them.

  3. chocoholic*

    I love the Loopy Ewe! Its not super local to me, but I make it up there sometimes. They have this great sign painted on their wall that says “I like making a piece of string into something I can wear”

    1. Ms Frizzle*

      Same here! It’s about an hour away, but it’s such a treat every time I DO make it (especially since the other best local yarn store closed in March!).

        1. chocoholic*

          Was it Shuttles in Boulder? I knew they were closed. They were the first local shop I ever found when I moved here and started knitting. Nice people.

  4. Lifelong student*

    I am impressed with what you have accomplished in just a few months! The white blanket is awesome and includes some stitches I did not try for several years of crocheting!

    1. The Rural Juror*

      No joke! I learned to crochet when I was 12, but have never made it to that level of design/pattern. I’m really good at straight lines and straight lines only.

      Way to go, Alison!!!

  5. Kes*

    I was head of knitting club in high school for a year. We had a program to donate knitted scarves to a local homeless shelter (you could actually get community service hours for it, so it was fairly popular). Obviously consider the wearability of your actual output and save your first holey attempt for your own memories, but it’s something to consider if you’re running out of people to make things for.

    1. Kes*

      This was a general comment for anyone looking for something to do with what they make – the photos in the post look great

      1. The Rural Juror*

        This is great! That’s something I need to do…I have some yarn I didn’t like for a blanket that needs to be put to use. Thank you!

    2. Caramel & Cheddar*

      All of this. Check with your Local Yarn Store (LYS) to see if they have a drop box for donations for a charity they work with, but also check to see if they have any fiber requirements for donations before buying a bunch of supplies (e.g. some want 100% wool scarves/hats, etc.).

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        Yes, and also limitations about pet hair. I can’t do hats for cancer patients even though I would love to because the donation places near me don’t allow any kind of pet hair on the hats (for good reasons, but it’s too bad because they’d get lots of hats out of me).

      2. Dust Bunny*

        Actually, most of the donation places I’ve run across want synthetic for washability and because a fair number of people are allergic to wool.

        1. Mme Defarge*

          I knit / crochet for an online auction where the proceeds go to a charity supporting women who are pregnant or have young babies in refugee camps in Greece. (I am in UK). I can make things which are hand wash only or whatever (stash is full of wool mainly, even that sourced in charity shops) . Currently crocheting a simple blanket in left-over sock wool, just stripes not all those fancy stitches Alison showcased!

      3. TardyTardis*

        THE FRIDAY NIGHT KNITTING CLUB has an easy blanket knitting pattern in back, which can easily be adjusted to different sizes (it all has to be multiples of five).

    3. AnonInTheCity*

      There’s a group in my area that knits handmade hats for every baby born at the hospital! I knit myself so it was kind of funny that people kept asking me if I had made my son’s first hat, but it was really sweet and special to have something for him that a stranger made just out of kindness.

    4. knitting lady*

      Yes! In college I headed a knitting club, and we did blanket squares that were compiled into blankets for neonatal units. There are also plenty of places that accept hats for preemies. I have also tied scarves around lamp posts with a note that reads “take me if you’re cold.” Once your family is inundated with scarves, hats, gloves, and socks, there are plenty of other outlets!

    5. Jack Be Nimble*

      Yes! I came here to say this! In the Before Times, I was part of a knitting circle that distributed knits to shelters, community centers, and schools for anybody who needed them. My friends and family are at capacity for hand-knits, so it’s been great to be able to keep making for those in need.

    6. No Name Yet*

      Another donation option is the Snuggles Project (https://www.snugglesproject.org/), where you donate pet-sized blankets to animal shelters. I loved this because when I was re-learning how to knit as an adult, my creations were…questionable (at best), but this way they were actually used! I figured as long as they held together well and were washable, the animals wouldn’t care.

    7. Hello!*

      Just as another suggestion, I am donating a big box of scarves and extra yarn to my local nursing home’s activities department. A lot of older adults really enjoy knitting/crocheting but don’t have the money to keep up the hobby. Also, many nursing homes across the country are trying to keep doing outdoor visits for as long as possible before winter rears its ugly head so scarves/jackets are perfect for residents. It is a great way to put a smile on some faces.

    8. A First Rated Mess*

      If you prefer to work with wool, there is a group called Wool-Aid whose focus is on hand knitted/crocheted/woven wool garments for children in very cold climates. Recent donations have gone to Afghanistan, refugee camps in Greece, and Buddhist monasteries in northern India and Tibet.

      They have an active group on Ravelry for those who use that site, but participation there is not required and their own website (linked above) has all the information needed to donate.

      1. Jen M.*

        I commented below, but I also made this blanket this summer as a wedding gift for my sister. It was easy for a new crocheter (I learned during quarantine), and turned out beautifully. My sister loved it!

    1. DistantAudacity*

      I’m making it! Totally because Alison posted the pattern (I was going to use a different one).

      It’s good to be able to use small, local yarn producers and shops. I’m making the blanket using yarn from Hillesvåg Uldvarefabrikk (https://www.ull.no/produktkategori/garn/ – Norwegian only), which has roots back to 1898.

      And I just finished a scarf with yarn from Telespinn (https://www.telespinn.no/?___store=english), another small local producer that I was able to visit this summer (following all local COVID rules). I’m in Norway. The scarf was made from a pattern from Hopeful Honey that another poster posted in one of the weekend threads…

  6. CRW*

    Beautiful projects! I’ve been crocheting for many years (could never get the hang of knitting) and you are absolutely right that it’s a great stress reliever and very satisfying. I ran out of family members as recipients for my finished projects, so now I donate them to different charities. Project Linus (www.projectlinus.org) accepts hand-made projects for children in need. If you like smaller projects (especially in the summer months, when working with a large blanket can be too much), I make soap sacks to donate to local homeless shelters. You can find some info here: http://www.soapsacks.com/services/
    My kids make fun of my yarn stash, but I figure there are much worse things I could be hoarding. :)
    Happy crocheting!

    1. Thankful for AAM*

      Thanks for sharing those. If anyone else has charity related suggestions, please share here! TIA.

    2. HugsAreNotTolerated*

      Warm Up America! http://www.warmupamerica.org
      WUA is a charitable organization run by the Craft Yarn Council of America and works with makers all over the country who donate knit/crochet/loomed items that are donated to those in need across the country.

  7. Bridget*

    YES! From one crocheter to another – it has been a large part of what’s kept me sane during the pandemic. I LOVE that blanket pattern and I know I recognize it, but I’m not 100% sure what it is. I do know it’s on my to-do list though!

    Congrats on joining the club! Once in, never out ;)

  8. SusanB*

    Dying to learn! I tried with a few youtubes but I’d love recommendations on specific channels that worked for you! Please share suggestions.

    1. Paris Geller*

      Yes, seconding this request! I also tried to teach myself to crochet by watching YouTube video a few months ago and could not get the hang of it. I would love to actually learn but right now every time I look at the crochet hooks and yarn I bought they taunt me with my so-far failure.

      1. Chinook*

        That may be because of the style of knitter you are? I think there is European and American techniques and it is all in how you hold the needles and thread. I know that, if I want to look at a YouTube video, I have to find someone with the same knitting style otherwise I get all confused. I don’t know which I am, but I do know my two grandmothers knitted completely different and I could only learn from the one who originally taught me because the other one kept trying to correct my technique.

    2. Norsemermaid*

      I’ve heard good things about the tutorials from Mikey from the crochet crowd, if you search that in YouTube you should find lots!
      I’m seriously impressed at your crocheting skills though, that is amazing!

    3. HugsAreNotTolerated*

      Michael Sellick of The Crochet Crowd is truly excellent. He has a vast library of videos that go from the very basics (hook size, terminology, etc.) to complicated stitches and patterns. He even has a dedicated section of videos for left-handed crafters!

  9. KnittingNerd*

    Hurray yarn!!

    Please add a disclaimer on the link to Ravelry. Their recent redesign has been reported to cause migraines and even a few seizures, so users should be cautious if they choose to visit.

    1. Bear Shark*

      +1 from one of the Ravelry users who isn’t severely affected by the new design (I just think it’s ugly and it gives me slight eyestrain), but is horrified by the way Ravelry has treated those users who are. Ravelry has handed out at least 1 10-day site ban to a user in an accessibility group and forum bans to a bunch of other users for trying to discuss the issues around the changes.

    2. Thankful for AAM*

      I am new to Ravelry, just a few weeks ago. I have no idea what you mean. I’m going to go look at the wayback machine and look at the old look, but what is the new part, what is the issue? It looks fine to me but I have no headache issues.

      1. Stella70*

        Can I ask as well? I get horrific migraines, but curiosity got the better of me and I checked the site. Which area is displeasing? To me, it looks like most other sites these days, kind of along the lines of Allrecipes. There is a lot of white, but that was the only thing I could think of.

      2. KnittingNerd*

        In your profile menu, you should have an option to view Ravelry in Classic (if you are in the redesign). That will give you a simulation of what the actual Classic Rav looked like, although it is just a skin – it is not truly the site design from pre-June 2020.

        The entire look of the site changed – colors, fonts, boxes and buttons. The new design does not pass accessibility standards; the contrast of colors used and spacing/fonts used, particularly when scrolling rapidly through text segments (like in the forums), causes visual effects that are disruptive to some users.

        1. Environmental Compliance*

          They are removing Classic relatively shortly, FYI.

          I have pulled all my designs from Ravelry due to this.

          1. KnittingNerd*

            Thank you for your support of accessibility.

            (For the record, I am not personally impacted by the redesign. I am trying to elevate the concerns of people who are affected by it.)

        2. AnoniKnitty*

          This post, from another website which had a redesign and received reports of the new layout causing migraines and eye strain, was shared around the instagram knitting groups back in June/July:

          PSV is what was happening on pages on the site itself — not helped by the newly introduced drop-shadows that appear under … well, almost everything now.

          But there were major issues with the NuRav login screen as well. It’s static now, but at the very start of the launch this was an animation. I did not go near the site while this was still an animated graphic (I couldn’t risk it triggering a migraine!) but heard from people documenting the accessibility issues that different parts of the animation were moving in opposite directions to each other. For example, the clouds were moving one way and the air balloons acting opposite to that. I understand that this was triggering migraines (and even seizures) in a number of people, meaning that they couldn’t actually get past the login screen to the menu to switch to Classic Rav. (And as KnittingNerd mentions, this isn’t actually the same design, so some people are still experiencing problems.)

          ((Additionally, if you’re only able to use Classic Rav, you’re gonna be out of luck by 31 March 2021, as they’re pulling it then.))

          I’m lucky in that I was able to avoid it when it was at its Definite Worst, but I do get eye strain after being on the desktop site for more than 10 minutes. It’s marginally better on phone for me (and an improvement over Classic Rav on phone) but there’s too many downsides overall.

      3. Ealasaid*

        After a bit of googling, it sounds like there are a couple issues – the new design has a bunch of animations while it’s loading pages, which can be seizure-inducing (apparently some of these have been changed to be static, but not enough). The second issue is most obvious on the forums – the new text is larger, and has more space between every line of text. It’s much less dense than it was, and when scrolling it can have a similar effect.
        Comparing the two side by side, my eyes do strain when scrolling the forums on the new site in a way they don’t when scrolling on the old one. The text looks darker in the new design, as well, which increases the contrast between letters and background.
        Ravelry has handled this terribly. It’s disappointing to have a big thing you’ve worked on for a long time get backlash, but I’d think wanting to make sure the site is accessible would be more important than hurt feelings.
        I don’t use Ravelry much, but I’m not going to be using it at all until they get their shit together.

      4. Crochet person*

        I have been a big Ravelry user since the early days and am totally appalled at how the owners and staff have been handling the mess they created. I find the new look tiring on my eyes (cataracts forming) and have been using the old “look” for now. The owners and staff promote diversity to a fault but they will not budge when it comes to those who have had migraines and seizures triggered or make the site useable by those with vision problems. At least one person, and likely more, had to surrender their drivers license as a result of a Ravelry triggered seizure. Anyone who disagrees with them is banned and their message hidden or deleted; one of the owners started going after critics and the other owner cut off their e-mail for a while. . There have been rumors that the total lack of any remote show of empathy and understanding about the issue stems from legal advice received after suits were filed.
        I am downloading my patterns and data stored there and will likeley pull out entirely this winter.

  10. Colorado*

    I’ve always wanted to learn and this place is close to me! As a very long time reader, thrilled to see a local sponsor. :D

  11. Stella70*

    I have spent the pandemic re-doing my kitchen and now, seven months later, I am finally done.
    I have wanted to teach myself to crochet for years and I have a weird amount of yarn, needles, accessories, etc for someone who has never crocheted or knitted a stitch.
    If the YouTube videos weren’t helpful, can someone suggest a book? Or — ?

    1. AnonInTheCity*

      Do you have a local yarn store? Mine has shifted all their classes online so even if it’s not quite as good as being there in person, at least you’ve got a live person to help you.

      1. DataGirl*

        Also JoAnn’s and Michael’s used to offer these kinds of classes pre-COVID, if you don’t have a LYS. Not sure the status now but you could check their websites.

    2. Slow Gin Lizz*

      I started knitting with a book “Teach yourself visually Knitting” and I think they have a crochet version too. Very very helpful for me and the one for sock knitting was also helpful once I had enough skillz to start doing that.

    3. Bridget*

      Honestly, I found YouTube VERY helpful so give that a try first. I can’t do anything from diagrams (I first tried to learn from a book), but watching videos and being able to repeat parts and slow things down made things relatively easy for me. Moogly has some great videos. Good luck!!

      1. NotAnotherManager!*

        Same – diagrams were only helpful to me once I understood the basics. Seeing someone actually make the stitch or cast-on/off or whatever is how I learned most of what I know about knitting.

    4. DataGirl*

      I taught myself to knit and crochet from You Tube. Honestly I found it better than in person classes (which I tried) because I can pause the video every couple seconds and replay it as many times as I need to get the stitch down. I would find a book more difficult as you would only have still diagrams or text to describe it, verses seeing it in action.

    5. higheredrefugee*

      I’m also a big believer in borrowing books from the public library when I want to learn something new in my fiber pursuits. If I borrow it multiple times, I then allow myself to buy it!

      MDK has a wealth of blog posts, videos, and tutorials I have found helpful, and love the Teaching Your Brain to Knit podcast, amongst others.

    6. The Rural Juror*

      I learned to crochet years ago as a kid, but never got the hang of knitting. A big help for me was learning to “arm knit” a big chunky blanket. Getting the basic down in a large format made it much easier for me to finally get the hang of it with needles. I love Peony and Thyme’s channel on YouTube. Good luck!

      1. London Knitter*

        I wish people posting links to Ravelry would include the important information that the current site design does not meet accessibility standards, has caused migraines and seizures in users, and Ravelry has not been receptive to feedback at all until fairly recently.

    7. Dancing Otter*

      Look for “Knitting Without Tears” at the library. If knitters recognized saints, Elizabeth Zimmerman would definitely be high in the hagiography. Any of her other books are also worth reading. The baby surprise jacket has a huge cult following.
      Also, “The Knit Stitch”, followed by “The Purl Stitch”. If I recall correctly, these are by EZ’s daughter.
      “Vogue Knitting”, the book not the magazine, is a good reference book, too.
      Sorry, no advice for crocheting. I think I learned from one of those Leisure Arts pamphlets sold at craft stores.

  12. AnonInTheCity*

    The Loopy Ewe is great! Huge selection and fast shipping. I may have kind of drunk-ordered something on a Saturday night and didn’t even have time to cancel before it shipped on Monday. :) They sent me a free tape measure with my order too!

  13. Alison Green*

    hi Alison! I am also named Alison Green (same spelling even). I’m a longtime reader and a manager too – of the design department at Berroco Yarns. I’m so happy to see that you’re crocheting! I’d be happy to hook you up with some of our yarns if you’re interested.

    1. RS*

      I’m late to the party, but I wanted to say I love Berroco! I picked up a bunch from a LYS several years ago. There were some really nice colorways (esp. rich jewel tones) that I put into a scrap blanket.

  14. Jen M.*

    I learned to crochet over quarantine as well — and made what looks like that same ivory blanket for my sister’s wedding (mine was a Mama in a Stitch pattern)! It’s made a stressful time much less stressful. I’m glad it’s giving you as much joy as it’s giving me!

  15. Tax Princess & Sower of Chaos*

    Bwa-ha-ha! Welcome to the cult, from a long-time knitter & mediocre crocheter! Not sure I’ve bought from the Loopy Ewe, but I’ve always heard great things about the place.

  16. Dust Bunny*

    I don’t crochet but I sew quite a bit and am a lazy knitter. I love YouTube for stuff like this, and if it’s not quite up there with having someone teach you in person it’s 100 times better than trying to learn from books. And that’s from someone who is generally pretty good at learning from books.

    1. Dust Bunny*

      I’m currently quilting the quilt top I made–drum roll, please–when I was rained in during Hurricane Harvey. I try to finish one quilt a year. Just finish, though; I don’t have to make it from start to end. I have a bunch of tops that need attention so I should be set up for awhile now.

  17. Beth*

    Lovely scarves!!

    You say that you’ve learned to crochet; and you also say that the Loopy Ewe is offering free knitting patterns. Are they also offering free crochet patterns? A lot of crocheters don’t knit and vice versa.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Just knitting for the patterns. Sheri said, “While all of our yarn works beautifully for crocheting, we don’t have free crochet patterns that we’ve designed that I can offer. So I apologize for that!”

  18. Not Australian*

    If you ever run out of people to make things for, or want a way to use up leftover yarn, please consider donating to Project Linus; there is an inexhaustible need for blankets (and quilts, which is what I make) for children in hospital, in distressing home situations, in the aftermath of tragedy etc. A quick Google will find your local co-ordinator.

    1. DataGirl*

      Interesting, the charities I’ve been in contact with over the years will only take store bought items, nothing homemade.

    2. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Many hospital NIC Units have regular donors and suggested patterns. Sometimes coordinated through the volunteer department, sometimes through the NICU itself.

  19. stampysmom*

    I taught myself to crochet too! I love it. Right now I’m doing the d’Histoire Naturelle Blanket Crochet A-long & Read-A-Long. The designer based it on the book All the Light We Cannot See. Crochet and books – my two favourite things!!! Hand me a coffee and my life is perfect!

    1. Thankful for AAM*

      I did not want to join that CAL, but I am looking for others to join in 2021. How do you find them? I am working now on a Sophie’s Dream pattern from a 2015 CAL. How do you find them in advance? Thanks!

      1. Code Monkey the SQL*

        Hey cool! I’m working on a Sophie’s Universe right now :D My sixth (?) crochet project since I started learning in January

        I almost joined the d’Historie one too, but I thought 2 CALs at once might be a bit much.

        1. stampysmom*

          I shouldn’t say that I’m doing that one too then? I put it aside to do the “live” d’Histoire.

      2. DistantAudacity*

        Oh yes! I just today picked up a package with the yarn for the Sophies’ Winter Dream pattern.

        I am not allowing myself to even open it until I’m further along on my current blanket (I just started Alison’s blanket pattern two days ago, upsizing it slightly)…

      3. stampysmom*

        I’m sure if you signed up for a newsletter on the Scheepjes website you would get notified. I stumbled on this one looking for a pattern.
        I love the CALs (esp now) because it feels like you have people to help push you through when you mess something up or you’re struggling with a stitch.

  20. vmars322*

    My mom is a long time crochet-er and has tried to teach me several times with no success. Finally, about a year ago, I sat down with her and suddenly it all clicked! Since then I’ve made scarves, blankets, an amaguri puppy, and am currently attempting a hat for the first time. I recommend watching videos on youtube by Bella Coco. I can follow a written pattern, but I find it easier to watch videos. Your blankets and scarves are beautiful, Alison…keep it up!

    1. Seeker of truth and light and grilled cheese*

      If you liked amigurumi, check out planetjune.com ! Such great patterns & instructions & tips.

  21. Secret Identity*

    Does anyone have any recommendations of youtube channels or specific videos to watch for someone who wants to learn to crochet? And, I mean for a complete newbie – like I have zero knowledge, not even basic knowledge so it would have to be something for beginners. Any suggestions?

    1. Bridget*

      Moogly! But really you can just google “beginner crochet video” and you can find tons of stuff. That’s how I learned.

      1. HugsAreNotTolerated*

        I second The Crochet Crowd. Michael Sellick’s videos are truly excellent and an excellent way to learn. They’re all available on youtube or on the Crochet Crowd website.

  22. Gul Ducat*

    I so rarely see anything mentioned online for my neck of the woods! Ft. Collins is where I go when I need to get to a “real” city :) Winter is long here and I was considering taking up crochet, this might be the nudge I needed.

  23. Heidi*

    I attribute my continued sanity to knitting. It’s so great for working out your stress. I took a class at the community center, which is really helpful because the instructor can watch you go and tell you where you’ve gone wrong. Once you have the basics, the online tutorials are the way to go for more advanced techniques. Knitting is great for zoom meetings – really helps me pay attention to the speaker and avoid getting distracted by emails.

    1. S*

      Totally agree re: zoom calls. I used to always get so frustrated in the office because I would crochet or cross-stitch on conference calls and people who saw me always assumed I wasn’t paying attention, no matter how much I told them that having something to do with my hands actually helped me pay BETTER attention and kept me from zoning out or being distracted by other things. At home I craft while listening to podcasts and audiobooks….same principle! But people were always weird about it. Now that I’m working from home I can craft during calls to my heart’s content (as long as it’s not a camera-required call) and there’s nobody to bother me about it or make faulty assumptions about my attention level.

      1. Anne of Green Gables*

        YES! I concentrate so much better in long meetings when I have something to do with my hands. Especially on Zoom when there are so many computer-distractions right there.

        I do wonder if the crocheting bug changes Alison’s advice to letter writers in the past about knitting/crocheting/stitching during work meetings?

        1. Heidi*

          The whole issue with knitting in public during meetings and talks is really about how it is perceived by non-knitters and crocheters, so I’m guessing the advice won’t really change. I just keep my knitting in my lap out of view of the camera.

  24. higheredrefugee*

    I have lived in various places across the country, and many an LYS ships in less than 24 hours, as does Jimmy Beans. But I can’t recommend a visit to The Loopy Ewe highly enough, it is one of the most comprehensive shops with a friendly, multistituchal welcome for all fiberists. Though for weaving help, a quick trip up to Laramie for Cowgirl Yarn would be my rec, and her yarn bowls are the most original out there. I have to thank my fiberist friends for continuing to meet up via zoom throughout the pandemic, that support and laughter has been sanity saving!

  25. DataGirl*

    I took a knitting class in person many years ago and really didn’t get it. Later I taught myself to both knit and crochet from You Tube videos. I personally find learning from videos better because I can pause it every couple of seconds to make sure I’m doing it exactly the way they are. I’m impressed that you’ve managed three blankets in only a few months, you must be really fast! Congrats.

  26. Neosmom*

    I hope The Loopy Ewe also carries spinning fiber for us knitting nerds who create the yarn with which we craft!

  27. starsaphire*

    This is awesome. I’m literally grinning like an idiot.

    My Covid level-up was quilting, but I’m a longtime yarn junkie too, and I am SO thrilled just sitting here looking at the lovely pieces you’ve created.

    And I agree – doing something crafty (even if you’re terrible at it, like I am with yarn) is really soothing to the mind and the soul. No idea why, but it is.

    Yay for yarn!!!

  28. OrigCassandra*

    I learned to knit relatively recently. Question for those who do both: the sense I get is that crocheting is quite a bit faster. I have a blanket project on my knitting needles that’s going to take me FOREVER. Would learning to crochet get me to a blanket faster?

    1. Reluctant Manager*

      The general consensus is that crochet is faster but takes more yarn. It is excellent for blankets.

      1. The Rural Juror*

        For me personally, I can crochet much quicker and easier without looking (so I can actually watch a movie), but with knitting I feel like I have to constantly watch what I’m doing (especially if I’m alternating my stitches). So if I’m knitting, I have to do an audiobook or podcast. Crocheting definitely goes faster for me!

          1. asterisk*

            I still have to look when I crochet, but not when I’m knitting. After a while you get muscle memory and your hands know what to do. Kind of like eating with silverware. ;)

          2. Chinook*

            You will get to a point of being able to knit without looking with practice, especially if it is a repetitive pattern (so not one with a grid). It becomes muscle memory and, just like touch typing, you get to a point where you can feel you did something wrong without looking at your fingers. When that happens, you can watch tv or video meetings while knitting.

        1. AnoniKnitty*

          Completely the opposite here! I have to study every single crochet stitch I make, because the muscle memory just isn’t there.

          Whereas I knit everywhere, no need to look unless I’m doing a cable or patch of increases. (I’ve knit on the bus, in the cinema, when meeting up with friends, while walking or hiking, on one particularly drunken experience while *dancing*…)

    2. DataGirl*

      YES. Crochet is much, much faster than knitting.* I used to do both, but due to tendinitis in my left shoulder almost exclusively do crochet now since it’s only one hook rather than two needles.

      *I’ve crocheted two baby sweaters, two hats, 4 sets of booties, and 2 baby blankets while working full time in the last few months. Granted baby stuff is small, but I probably would have only been able to make 1 of those things, knitting, it that time.

    3. nona*

      I think crochet can get you a taller stitch per row than knitting, and that’s what gets you there faster. And of course, the larger the gauge, the bigger the stitch, the faster the blanket.

      And the fact that there’s only one stick-thing to coordinate. Mistakes are easier to undo (just pull the string) on crochet.

      1. Kay*

        Crochet stitches are overall bulker for the amount of time invested, so that’s what gets you there. And strong ditto to the ease of taking out stitches! It’s also easier to cover them up unless you’re doing a very intricate stitch…many crocheted things don’t look quite as uniform so you can sort of fake it up more easily.

        For some reason all the women in my family have always crocheted rather than knitted – I grew up with crochet afghans on every bed and now have them on the back of every chair, couch, etc. Maybe a response to living in drafty old New England houses…

  29. Marzipan Shepherdess*

    Say yes to the yarn! Alison, if you’re running out of people to crochet scarves for, please remember that there are LOTS of people who would LOVE to have a warm and washable scarf, especially now when the weather’s getting cold (well, at least it is where I am, in New York’s Hudson Valley.)

    Surely there’s a shelter for the homeless and/or survivors of domestic abuse in your area that could use some well-made, machine-wash-and-dry scarves for their residents. Or, if you live where it’s hot all year round, check out Warm Up America; they collect and distribute afghans, scarves and hats for people in need. You’ll enjoy crocheting them and knowing that they’re very much appreciated!

    Full disclosure: I’m a weaver who routinely makes and donates scarves to a nearby women’s shelter. Using synthetics to make these scarves ensures that they’re easy to care for. Anyone living in a shelter already has enough on their plate without having to follow exacting wool-care directions to gently wash the garment in mild detergent, refrain from wringing it out and then dry it flat! So any scarf that I make to donate can be tossed in the washer and dryer, taken out and used right away. You could use any of the great variety of warm, colorful, synthetic yarns to crochet scarves that will be lovingly used for years to come.

    1. DataGirl*

      see all the shelters here require store bought- whenever my work place or other groups have done drives for warm wear items for the homeless or shelters or hospitals there’s always a specific ‘no handmade’ rule.

  30. Sentimental Sap*

    My great-grandmother crocheted all her life, and she made blankets (“aff-aghans”, with her Italian accent) for each of us great-grandkids before she passed. I think mine is at my parents’ house because it was Too Nice for me to take to college. I swear Alison found the same color yarn and a similar pattern… thanks for the blast from the past. It’s such a thoughtful, tangible way to make something for somebody else. And I got a reminder of my great-grandma :)

    (What this means is, Alison, you can crochet giant blankets for everyone in your family and insist that they keep them forever because “it’ll mean so much when I’m gone!” as you sit in a rocking chair amid your herd of cats, waving a crochet hook like a magic wand)

  31. Amethystmoon*

    I love crochet. I discovered it several years ago. Crochet is definitely a stress-reliever for me. My level-up was socks this year.

    1. Amethyst Anne*

      I love to crochet also. I have done knitted socks, but not crocheted ones.

      I like your user name! :D

  32. Aggretsuko*

    I’m very happy for you that you’ve taken up yarn!

    I actually have taught people how to knit/crochet IRL before. I got asked if I want to do it online and in all honesty, I’m not sure…. I just suspect it might not go that great with complete newbies over Zoom when you can’t touch them and have to hold it up to the camera. Trying to learn off YouTube is kind of confirming my suspicions there a bit….

  33. NW Mossy*

    I took up knitting early last year, and it’s been fabulous – I’m wearing a pair of socks I made right now! I need more yarn like I need a hole in the head, but I’ll be sure to keep this shop on my list for my next order.

    I find that while YouTube is a great resource, it helps me tremendously to also look at other methods for learning. Sometimes a video doesn’t click, but another approach might – written descriptions, still photos, and illustrations have all been key at different points. All are readily available online and (gasp!) in print, and as the review of one reference guide I own stated, “sometimes the Wi-fi goes down.”

    1. starsaphire*

      I really, REALLY have to get good enough to learn to do socks. It’s both a small enough project that I could actually finish it AND an end product that I go through like blazes.

      Some day!

      1. No Name Yet*

        FWIW, socks seem much harder than they actually are! I re-taught myself how to knit as an adult 95% because I wanted to knit socks. If you can knit/purl and follow reasonable directions, you can do them! I used Silver’s sock class (https://www.kristinbelle.com/socks), as this was before YouTube tutorials were a thing, but highly recommend trying!

      2. NW Mossy*

        I agree with No Name – socks look intimidating, but you can rapidly ramp from a basic one to a complex one by layering in one or two new techniques at a time.

        I strongly recommend Kate Atherley’s book “Custom Socks – Knit to Fit Your Feet.” She walks you through the how-to on every step, especially the most important – knowing the measurements of the feet you plan to knit for and when/how to adjust a pattern to work with those measures. I’ve found it absolutely lives up to its title!

      3. Red 5*

        My craft is different (loom knitting) but I too was afraid of socks and thought they were going to be so hard. But a good beginner pattern was all I needed, it was fine, the techniques for the basic were really all things I’d already done, except the kitchener at the end, but a good video demonstration and I had it. Made my first set in a couple days. My point is, you’re probably closer to making socks than you think!

    2. Lifelong student*

      absolutely- a variety of methods can be useful! I generally use written patterns- but like have a video to look at if I get confused. If there is not a video for the specific pattern- sometimes I look for a video for a specific stitch or technique I may not have encountered before. I also like patterns that include stitch charts- although I wouldn’t rely only on a chart, I find they can clarify the written instructions. I crochet rather than knit- but instructions and learning techniques are similar.

  34. Kay*

    This is officially my very favorite AAM sponsor ever.

    Signed, the person who has been blasting through crochet projects while on Zoom calls including a 3 hour board meeting this morning.

    1. HugsAreNotTolerated*

      Same! So much same! This year alone I have donated the following: (this doesn’t count the stuff I’ve made for family and friends)
      71 preemie & newborn hats
      6 adult hats
      4 scarves
      4 baby blankets
      277 soap sacks
      40 7×9 blanket sections

      and I’m nowhere near done!

  35. Zutzy*

    Ahhh!!!! This is so great!!!
    I started crocheting in high school, and took up knitting about 8 years ago. There are some really great patterns (like Sophie’s Universe) on ravelry.com. I’m so happy for you!

  36. nozenfordaddy*

    I had a similar experience learning to crochet – and after I’d made scarves, hats and blankets for everyone I could think of I started making toys. People keep having kids so I keep having people to make stuffed animals for.

    1. DataGirl*

      I used to make a lot of toys when my kids were little, I look back now and am amazed at what I used to be able to do. Now it seems so daunting.

    2. knitcrazybooknut*

      I became addicted to making Log Cabin blankets for kids, using the Caron Pounders of acrylic yarn. It’s mindless knitting with enough casting on/off to keep it slightly interesting, and two pounders create a decent sized blanket. It’s lovely to see the kids’ reactions!

  37. Bootstrap Paradox*

    Speaking from personal experience. the folks at the Loopy Ewe are fabulous! And the store is a dangerous (in the most fabulous fibery way) place to go. They carry some favorites, including Hedgehog Fibers, Into the Whirled, and their own Loopy Ewe handdyed yarns (no, I don’t work for them. Just appreciate them).

    As someone who grew up in a yarn store many (!) years ago and does ALL the fibery things, I was so excited to see you picked up crochet, Alison. And that you are having fun with it! Welcome to the Dark Side. We have fiber (and cookies).

  38. Elizabeth West*

    My mum has been crocheting madly throughout the pandemic. The house is full of afghans.
    I’m determined to master knitting despite the dyspraxia that makes it difficult; haven’t worked on it in a while, but I still have my stuff.

  39. Environmental Compliance*


    This is the best sponsor ever!

    (signed, fellow yarnie but of the knitting variety)

  40. AKchic*

    I have to use up some of the 7 tubs and two trash bags of yarn before I can buy more. But, I’m adding the site to my favorites.

    1. Code Monkey the SQL*


      I (brilliantly) decided that I needed a stash to be a true crocheter, so I hit up the goodwill auction site (20lbs of yarn for 20 bucks!) . I have…um…a lot of yarn now.

      But, I crochet, which goes through lots, so I’m still adding this as a bookmark

      1. AKchic*

        So many babies coming, so I have been working on blankets and all the accessories, but I am really burning myself out on blankets. So, I have been switching it up a bit and am currently working on a scoodie with a faux fur lining.

          1. bee*

            omg thank you for that link. definitely making one of those for my incoming nephew!! what a clever little toy idea.

    2. HugsAreNotTolerated*

      Apparently there is going to be a yarn shortage this winter due to supply chain issues? I’ve seen that in a couple of articles and my craft stores do seem to be low on yarn….

      1. AKchic*

        I had not seen that, but with as much as I have stashed away, I don’t think it’s going to affect me much.

  41. Liz*

    I can’t crochet or knit, but I LOVE the store name. My mom attempted many many years ago to try and teach me how to knit and it didn’t go over well at all.

    i’ve always wanted to learn how to crochet; now would be a PERFECT time for it…hmmmm

    1. Code Monkey the SQL*

      I will say, the nicest part about learning to crochet is that if you mess up, yank hard and you pull the stitch(es) out and can redo it.

      Cross-stitch (my usual handcraft) is a LOT more picky lol

      1. bee*

        Yeah my favorite thing about crochet is that if I hate how it’s coming out, I can just frog (disassemble) the entire thing, re-wind the yarn, and start over or do something completely different. Knowing I’m not automatically wasting the materials gives me a lot more confidence to try out new things. This is not true for my other handcraft, sewing, where cutting the fabric incorrectly can completely ruin my material for that project!

    2. AGD*

      I had to try four or five times in order to get over the initial learning curve with knitting, and I’m still partway through that process with crochet. Every person/book/video explains it a little differently, and sometimes it’s just a matter of getting the one that happens to click with your brain.

    3. bee*

      IMO, crochet is easier than knitting, and more forgiving too. You don’t loose whole rows if you drop a stitch, and pulling out stitches to correct mistakes is very easy.

      The key, I think, is to get to the point when you can look at a line of crochet and identify on sight which loops are a part of which stitch. Once that clicked for me, crochet in general clicked for me. It does take a little time and possibly some deliberate study, though. Before that point, crocheted fabric just looks like a big dang mess.

      The other thing that takes a minute to get used to is the movement of your hands/hook. Everyone holds a hook a little bit differently and it took me a good project or two before I figured out exactly what method worked the best for me. It seems completely alien at first but if you keep experimenting with your style eventually you’ll figure out what fits.

      If you do give it a shot, I recommend using a yarn that doesn’t have much of a floofy “halo” to it. You’ll be pulling out stitches a lot, and untwisted or fluffy yarn, especially acrylic, tends to get stuck to itself, tangle, or become frayed much more easily when it’s worked over and over. Harder to see the stitches, too. Chunky twisted (plied) yarns are your best bet as a beginner. Happy crafting :D

  42. OhBehave*

    Beautiful work! That blanket is stunning.
    Make blankets for gifts. Scarves are needed by the homeless. Some many opportunities to share your talent.

  43. LadyProg*

    I started crochet during lockdown as well!! Started with Amigurumi animals and now I’m all over the place… Shawls, baskets, scarves… It’s so relaxing!!
    Thanks for the tip, Alison!

  44. Amethyst Anne*

    Ooohhh cool! Another crafter to join the fold. YEA! May I suggest a few things?
    1. Handsome Fibers, in Oregon is a terrific source for knitting needles, crochet hooks, and assorted goodies. Their shipping and handling times are extremely fast. (I sometimes wonder if the USPS has a special express truck just for them) I live half way between Nashville and Louisville, and have received my packages from their store within 48 hours of placing my order on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday via from their eBay store. They have an Internet store as well.

    2. I am reading a book of cartoons by Franklin Habit. His craft is knitting, and loves redoing vintage patterns from the 1800’s. A few years ago he was a regular writer for the Internet magazine ”knitty.com”. I recently printed out his article detailing his adventures in making a pineapple purse from a 1840’s vintage pattern. If you type franklin habit, pineapple purse into the Internet search bar, the article should be the first result.

    3. Crocheting is productive fidgeting. Waiting for a doctor’s appointment? Have craft bag, will travel.

    4. A quote from a source I cannot remember: you know you are a crafter, when preparing for a trip, you plan and pack your craft bag first.

    4. It is a good thing to do if you are having trouble putting thoughts to paper. The working of the yarn and hook together somehow makes your thoughts flow easier.

    1. Crochet person*

      Point #3: I took a commuter bus for a couple of years and always had a small crochet project in my tote bag. I made a lot of small shawlettes from nice yarns that work great around my neck under a winter coat or around the house on a chilly day. One morning I sat down next to someone on the bus and he remarked that I had a new project; he had been watching my progress on the one just completed

  45. KWu*

    As a longtime knitter and recent crocheter, this is the sponsor post I have been most interested in of the ones I’ve seen!

  46. TM*

    I’ve been a knitter (and crocheter) for quite a while, but the quarantine really ramped it up for me. I also can’t put into words how much knitting means to me, especially now. The act of creating something with my hands, the tactile nature of touching the yarn, having a warm thing to wear when I’m done…all of it is incredibly soothing in these troubled times.

    Thanks for sharing and thanks to the Loopy Ewe!

  47. asterisk*

    Awww, this is my favorite ad ever! I used to go to TLE back when they were still in St. Louis. I didn’t know that Sherri was also an AAM reader.


  48. Chinook*

    As a longtime knitter (I can’t remember a time before grandma taught me), may I also recommend an e-newsletter called knitty.com. They have a back catalogue of knitting patterns and informative columns on yarn craft.

    And my knitting also ramped up over quarantine. I usually put it away during the heat of summer but this year I have knitted “quarantine blankets” and even moved from small squares to knitting on circular needles.

  49. Smilingswan*

    You may want to consider donating any extra scarves/socks, etc to the homeless. My mom and sister both do this (I don’t crochet or I would as well!), and it’s always greatly appreciated.

  50. HailRobonia*

    I wonder if there are any llama groomers out there who can supply Alison with some alpaca yarn…

    1. OyHiOh*

      There are lots of beautiful alpaca yarns out there if you have some patience looking. Odds are, a lot of local/independent yarn shops can place special orders if you have an idea of the colors and weight you want.

  51. Mariana*

    These pieces look great!

    I took up crocheting (uh, finally figured out how) years ago and it’s been great. It’s my form of meditation and seriously helps deal with some mental illness issues. As the saying goes “I crochet[knit] so I don’t kill people” It truly works and so many lives have been saved. LOL

    Make sure you check out all the amazing crochet pages around the web, youtube tutorials, and FB groups (if you FB).

    1. OyHiOh*

      Knitting has gotten me through so much anxiety and grief. I call it a meditative practice also!

      I like knitting throw blankets of around 160 to 180 stitches across – it’s a good size when done but also, right around 320 stitches/2 rows, my brain shuts up and I can get to a state of not thinking and only feeling the yarn, needles, and what I’m sitting on. On bad days, I can easily do twelve of those rows before my brain shuts up, though

      On learning things without a teacher next to you – I taught myself to knit about five years ago from a combination of videos and text instructions. Casting on was the hardest thing for me; knit and purl made perfect sense, as did simple stitch blocks. Anyway, I’d been knitting for about a year when I happened to attend a “let’s all meet at the farmers market and knit!!!!” gathering. Which, unknown to me since it was my first time going, included a woman who is a Master Knitter. She complimented the piece I was working on (I’d worked up my own pattern for a garden gnome hat), and said something very nice about the faint herringbone pattern in my stockinette stitch. I protested that I wasn’t doing anything special. She asked if she could watch me for a minute (yes, of course :-) ) and then rather suddenly exclaimed “oh, you’re knitting ‘wrong,’ you’re twisting the yarn when you move it to the front of the needle!” You see, when I was teaching myself to knit, I’d decided that neither the English nor German methods felt completely comfortable to me and developed my own little hybrid style and with no one watching, unknowingly developed a habit which puts a bit of additional stress on the yarn.
      I’ve tried a few times to undo the habit and it just kinda makes me hate knitting. The knitting instructor who pointed this out, by the way, told me that she’d learn to knit in almost the same way I do, and that when she went for her master certificate, the instructors made her relearn her technique by one of the two traditional known methods.

      And now, my work day is done so I’m going to log off and pick up my current project, a blanket in blue ombre alpaca laceweight yarn. I’ve been making things for other people for five years; this blanket is intended to be *mine* when finished.

  52. Help Desk Peon*

    This makes me want to pick my hook back up. It’s so relaxing, and I love making my own patterns. Have you found the Harmony stitch guides yet?

  53. Joyce Pugh*

    Welcome to slow craft! I’m a needlepointer. I learned to knit, but couldn’t figure out crochet, but needlepoint is where it’s at for me. So glad you’re enjoying!

  54. FCJ*

    Me: I need to spend less money on yarn.
    Alison: Here is a great small business that sells awesome yarn and ships!

    How dare you. ;-)

  55. Information Goddess*

    I’m trying to remember but I think there’s a series of murder mysteries that used this shop for the inspiration for the setting in those books.

  56. Kate Lathrop*

    Welcome to the dark side – we have lovely, lovely yarn :)

    What a small world! I’ve know Sheri for years since she started her shop in her St. Louis basement. I’m a long time happy purchaser from her store. She and her elves set such a high bar for amazing customer service.

    Happy crafting!

  57. Wool Princess*

    Hooray for local yarn shops! A lot of yarn shops/makers are having tough times due to lots of in-person fairs being cancelled. Please remember these places this holiday season! The gift of yarn addiction (or really any fiber craft) is a wonderful one :)

  58. HugsAreNotTolerated*

    Welcome to the Craft side Alison, we’re pleased to have you! Your pieces look fabulous and much better than mine did as a beginner! I’ve been crocheting for over a decade and live in a warm southern state that only has winter for like 2 months a year. My family and friends love the stuff I make them, but don’t need anymore! Warm Up America is a fabulous organization that is run by the Craft Yarn Council of America and is a great way to donate your excess yarn items. I highly encourage you and everyone else to check them out at http://www.warmupamerica.org

    1. HugsAreNotTolerated*

      Doooooo ittttttt! There are many benefits, but my favorite is that even when I’m sitting watching netflix I’m not doing ‘nothing’ because my hands are being productive. Yeah, I may have binged half a season in one sitting, but look at this scarf I made!

  59. Horserg*

    I started crochet too a year ago and the light finally came on. You may try Tunisian crochet—I’m hooked on that right now!

  60. Monarch Tiger*

    I learned to crochet while in a domeatic violence shelter. Please consider donating to a place like this. It helped me quit smoking and saved my life!

  61. Holy Carp*

    My mom taught me to crochet as a child, but I didn’t pick it up again until I was in my 50’s. I found the right youtube videos to be easier than reading a pattern (where I’d continually lose my place on the sheet).

    I finally worked up to making hats, scarves and mittens, and I gave some away to the students at the middle school where I taught. Enough students expressed an interest that I started a crochet club after school. What a thrill it was to see their first projects finish!

    I’m retired now and miss my crocheters, but the pandemic has spurred me to finish many projects for homeless shelters.

  62. Kate*

    So this is one of the only non-craft blogs I read, and I got a little confused when I visited AAM today. Love it! I’ve been an avid knitter since college (2002). Then, about five years ago, my family somehow ended up with some Shetland sheep. So I started spinning. Then I acquired a rigid heddle loom a few years ago. This summer, my mom started teaching me to sew (on her mother’s 1934 Singer sewing machine!). Yet I’ve never managed to learn crochet. I can never figure out where to put the hook! One day….

  63. Sarah in CO*

    The Loopy Ewe is my LYS. They are always helpful and friendly. And their selection of yarn is fabulous! I can’t get out of there without buying something (They have a frequent buyer program, I just made Loopy Groupie and they gave me a lovely little gift of a project bag with a gorgeous skein of sock yarn), and of course, being local, I am lucky enough to be able to arrange pick up instead of shipping when I order online.

  64. criminallycreative*

    Welcome to the rabbit hole. I started with knitting and crocheting, but now I also spin, weave, rug hook, tat, cross stitch (to be fair that one predates the rest), and I’m learning to do bobbin lace. You might say I’m a bit obsessed.

    The Loopy Ewe is awesome, I’ve ordered from them several times. Would love to visit their store someday.

  65. Courageous cat*

    Man I’m so jealous that you just like, set out to learn this a very short time ago and just … did it. I’m looking at that blanket pattern (I vaguely know how to knit, I don’t know how to crochet) and my mind is just like ???? It seems SO complicated/advanced. I would have given up out of frustration. Kudos.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I got so frustrated when I was learning! I wanted to throw my yarn across the room many times, and I announced I was giving up multiple times. I don’t know why I continued — normally if something is very hard, I just stop, but something made me continue and I’m so glad that I did! All of which is to say — the frustration doesn’t last; eventually you have a moment of clarity where it all comes together.

  66. Miriam*


    Can confirm that The Loopy Ewe is a great yarn shop. I am not lucky enough to live near them to shop in person, but I’ve bought a lot from them online over the years. Really great customer service, too.

    I’m only sad that they stopped selling fabric right before I learned to sew. :-(

  67. FoodieNinja*

    Oh, I love the Loopy Ewe! They’re such a lovely store, for both the yarn and the people.

    I’m a long-time knitter (with the typical too-much-yarn problem) and took up weaving during quarantine. After wondering what I was going to do with all these scarf-shaped objects, I was happy to learn that a local homeless shelter actively solicits winter accessories (hats, scarves, gloves) as donations.

  68. Erin*

    That blanket is stunning!!

    I wish I had the patience to knit…. I have tried and it did not end well, lol. I love watching people knit – it is just so soothing to watch.

  69. Rocky*

    Oh my goodness, those are so beautiful! You’ve inspired me to pick up my crochet hook while my sewing machine is in the shop for the next few weeks. Congratulations on some truly stunning pieces!

  70. bee*

    Welcome Alison to the crocheting community!! I’ve spent basically all of my pandemic isolation time crocheting so this post really speaks to me.

    For Alison or anyone else who has gotten the basics of crochet down and would like to find an excuse to use some of the absolutely incredible colorways available in hand-dyed yarn, might I suggest making a cocoon shrug? You basically just crochet (or knit, if you want) a rectangle where one side matches your elbow-to-elbow measurement when your arms are held out, and the other side matches the length from the base of your neck to your hips. You fold in the corners and sew them partway together to make armholes, then if you want you can add a border around the edge to form a shawl collar.

    Basically any stitch pattern or yarn will work for this. Google “cocoon shrug crochet pattern” for lots of options. I used the Dakota Shrug pattern from hookedontillylife dot com as my baseline, but they’re basically all the same. Mine was made with 3 skeins of Malabrigo Rios (sold at the loopy ewe!) plus a 4th in a different color for the border, and it’s the coziest, squashiest, prettiest dang thing in my entire cardigan collection. Highly recommend as a first garment because it’s so customizable and so easy!

    1. Gela*

      Ooooh – that shrug sounds like such a good idea! I’ve been wanting to make something for myself and I don’t often wear shawls, so this would be perfect!

      Also, excellent choice of yarn. Malabrigo Rios is one of my favorites, along with Manos del Uruguay Alegria.

  71. Remove Worker and Dog Lover*

    I love this kind of sponsored post!! I’ve been knitting for a couple of years. It’s so fun. Wearing cozy things I’ve knitted myself is very satisfying, too.

  72. Jennifer Wheeler*

    I’ve been crocheting since I was 7 or so. YouTube has been a godsend for me, as I’m a visual learner. I may or may not have a yarn addiction and quite a yarn stash….does that stop me from buying more yarn? Nope! You do you!

  73. Jennifer Eight Thousand and Seventeen*

    Just placed an order at The Loopy Ewe. I love the selection, especially exclusive colorways and dyers I never heard of. Since lockdown began, I have struggled to stick with reading a book, but I have been a knitting fool.

  74. Katherine*

    Those are gorgeous! Knitting gives me repetitive stress injury, I wonder if crocheting would be different?

  75. chewingle*

    That blanket is beautiful! I can SO relate to announcing you’re quitting and then coming back to it. I did that quite a few times with knitting (and have been doing it with crochet—how are they so different??? Arg!). But it’s so worth figuring it out. I’m making my very first sweater this year (eep!) and have been immensely enjoying it.

    Definitely checking out this shop. Thank you so much for sharing!

  76. RB*

    I will never knit or crochet but I would so totally buy anything you want to sell. I especially like the pink one in the first photo. I would pay a lot for that.

  77. Former Admin turned Project Manager*

    I keep inheriting bags of yarn when old people pass away or are cleaning out their stashes (my great aunt, my brother in law’s step mom, a lady at church) and I did about 20 dishcloths during the month of August because of the supply of cotton yarn I had. I was hopeless at crochet when I first tried it, but managed to pick up knitting fairly well. A few years after becoming an adept knitter, I gave crochet a try again and now I’m bicraftual.

    Looking forward to checking out the Loopy Ewe!

  78. Judy*

    Something I wish I had done, and I have been crocheting for over 50 years, is to keep a scrapbook with patterns and pictures of all my projects. Especially I wish I had taken a picture with the recipient of anything I made for someone else.

Comments are closed.