A little while ago I decided that I was going to learn to crochet. I’d seen some tiny sloths online and fancied making some fuzzy faced, claw-handed little friends for myself. ‘How hard can it be?‘ I thought. Erm… hard. The first night I tried to crochet, I ended up with nothing but a large knot and pretty much launched my pointy hook across the room. I’d purchased a magazine that promised their “Christmas dog” pattern was for beginners. I’m not sure what kind of “beginner” they meant, but it was definitely not me!
I was whinging about my predicament on Twitter, when a tweet appeared from one of the lovely folk from Hook-A-Monster. They promised that even I could make a beautiful (or terrifying) monster with the help of one of their classes. They offered for me to come along and see for myself, so off I went to rainy Stockwell to see if they could fix me and my massive ball of knotted wool…
Hook-A-Monster is the brainchild of friends Viv, Mya and Mel, who launched the classes with their shared love of crochet and of Amigurumi, which is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small, stuffed yarn creatures. The word is a portmanteau of the Japanese words ami – meaning crocheted or knitted – and nuigurumi – meaning stuffed doll. I was invited along for one of their three hour workshops.
I’m going to be honest here and say that I definitely considered cancelling. My social anxiety can be pretty crippling at the best of times, and the idea of trying to do something that I knew I was no good at with loads of eyes on me was horrifying. I was scared that I would look like the class noob or just not be able to do it at all. I was also scared that everyone else would pick it up really quickly and I’d be left behind tying my yarn into a huge knot and making everything except for the planned monster.
Things I learnt? Never listen to social anxiety. Social anxiety is a big ole liar. I had a fantastic time at the class. And yes, there were people with varying abilities. Yes, some people were ahead and some were behind, but was there pressure? No. Did it matter if you had to be shown things four or five times? Nope. Was anything too much of a problem? No. Did I get mocked when I made my 100th mistake and had to unpick my monster’s head AGAIN? No! Absolutely no need for the anxiety at all. I was completely comfortable, and that is testament to the excellent teaching.
The three hours went by super quick and guess what? I made a monster! A lovely, pink, slightly-donkey-faced monster! And I made it all by myself!
The class literally covered EVERYTHING. From how to hold the hook and the yarn, through to several types of stitches and some troubleshooting too. I missed out on how to do the magic circle, so I’m going to go back over that myself once I’m more comfortable, but everything I learned was SO useful! I’m not going to say I am a crochet expert now – far from it – but the achievement of actually making A THING that isn’t a knot is immense!
I also purchased the Hook-A-Monster goodie bag after the session. It costs £15 and contains a workshop booklet with extra patterns for monster accessories, 1 ball of stuffing, a bag of yarn, a darning needle and a hand
y stitch marker. All thrown together for the princely sum of £15 – which I thought was great value.
The class definitely gave me what I needed in terms of crochet basics. I feel like I’ve got a fair bit to practice now and a good solid foundation to build on. The teaching style was absolutely excellent and I loved that no matter what went wrong, there was a number of ways to fix it satisfactorily. My only regret was that I haven’t quite mastered eating HobNobs and crocheting at the same time!
I was gifted the class in exchange for an honest review, but the classes themselves retail at £35.00 for the three hour class. You can add on the goodie bag at booking stage too, making your total £50.00. You can either book a specific class, listed on the Hook-A-Monster website or you can buy a gift voucher to use for a future class or to give as a gift to a friend or family member who wants to learn to crochet. Classes are mostly in London.