I made my first crochet stitch 7 years ago. Never had I held a hook until that time. All things considered, that is not a lot of time at all to become a professional. But now, I have people asking me on a regular basis for crochet advice. There are ladies who give me their yarn and hook stash when they decide to minimize their collections. I’ve been told that I should teach a class…I’m not so sure about this one, but maybe one day. The world looks at me as an expert crochet artist, and it only took me 7 years to get here!! So, what did it take? What did I do to become a professional?
TIME. There is a myth that has been going around for eons (really, I don’t know for how long), that argues it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at something. I do know that I crochet a lot! Bare with me while I do the math: On average, I spend 9 hours a week with a crochet hook in hand. It’s just what I do when my children are asleep. So, multiply that by 52 weeks over the course of 7 years…we are looking at an approximate of 5,000 hours. So, not the extreme of 10,000 hours, but obviously there needs to be time to master the craft. I wasn’t an expert after that first lesson, and I certainly wasn’t an expert when I released my first crochet product for sell 5 years ago. But all of that added up to create experience. And time is a requirement of experience.
ERRORS. I love this quote from Scott Adams: “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” I’m not perfect, by any means, no one is. God made us as flawed beings, and that’s ok. It’s actually better this way. I’ve created entire projects that I then turned immediately around and threw away (not even worth frogging). It was all part of the learning process. I figured out, on my own, how different crochet stitches affect a garment to shape and mold it into the desired outcome. I learned how to deal with persnickety customers who thought they wanted something in pink and orange but then decided that those colors are indeed horrid together. I learned how to deal with the frustration of wasted time from said persnickety customers. I even ran the books wrong and had to deal with all of that mess. But now, I know better. I don’t often make the same mistake twice, and that has made me an expert!
ADVERTISEMENT. It is no secret that I love to crochet, that I do it a lot, and that I excel at it. I am not a closet crafter. My children carry around the toys that I have made for them, my friends have the hats that I have created for them, my family wears the slippers and scarfs that came from my hands. That is extremely effective advertisement! Not only does other people see what I can make being used, but they often strike up conversation based on my creations: Cute scarf, thanks my daughter made it, wow she’s really talented! I post pictures on social media platforms (in natural lighting, of course), and show off my work at every chance I get. I am equally as proud of the products that I make.
DIVERSITY. In the world of crochet, there are lots of little facets: Sweaters, softies, hats, blankets, pillows, slippers, dresses, purses, scarfs, curtains, book covers, and really anything else that you could possibly think of. Yes, it is possible to become an expert in any specific field, but to be considered a true expert in crochet, it is necessary to have at least dabbled in all of these. I’ve made hats, and slippers, and blankets, and dolls, and dresses, and skirts, and probably some other things that I am forgetting right now. Each different item requires a different set of skills. To make a hat, I need to know how to crochet in the round. To make a dress, I need to know how different stitches are going to affect the structure of the garment. To make a doll, I need to know how to work with tiny hooks and stitches. To make a blanket, I need to know how to be patient and persevere, and hopefully work with a larger hook. All of this compiles together to make up my knowledge. Now, if anyone has a question about anything involving crochet, I can probably answer it, because I’ve done it before.
NATURAL TALENT. I know, this one isn’t fair, but I think it is equally as important as everything else that I’ve mentioned here today. I had a knack for the hook and yarn from the moment that I picked it up. A God-given ability to not only work with my fingers, but to know which colors work best together, and to be able to recognize what style is going to be cute (and which are dated).
INTEREST. The last thing on my list of requirements in order to become an expert is to have interest in the craft. I think this one is a given, but still worth mentioning. If you aren’t at least interested in the craft, you aren’t going to put forth the time required to achieve the experience. Also: The first error you make is going to discourage you greatly.
Now you have the keys. Go out and become your own expert in your own craft of choice! I have faith in you, and I’m sure you can do it.