Apr 182024

I’ve been knitting since I was five years old. My Grandpop taught me one rainy afternoon with 4 pencils and a ball of string. Yeah, I was going in circles even back then. LOL I found a book in the Five & Dime and taught myself to crochet two years later. I don’t think Grandpop knew what he created. I spent every waking moment as a child either knitting or crocheting something. All my money went to buy yarn. In high school, I was crocheting bikinis for all the skinny girls out of crochet cotton. Lining them, too! I knit enough socks to outfit an Army.

Fast forward to the present day. My age now starts with a seven and. . . well, that was then and this is now. I can barely follow a pattern. My arthritic fingers won’t make the intricate movements they once did. I still love yarn, but making anything that resembles what it’s supposed to be can be challenging. I had to develop some coping mechanisms or give it up. HORRORS!!!! So here are three tips for older yarn crafters. They help me. I hope they help you.

Two words: Stitch Markers

I can’t count a starting chain or a row of stitches to save my life these days. I simply lose track of the count. Stitch markers to the rescue! I have the kind that hook so you can use them on either knitting or crochet. If I need a long starting chain, I’ll put a marker on that chain every 10 or 20 (if I’m feeling lucky!) stitches. Makes counting and going back to recount much easier. These things are life savers if your brain these days has a lot in common with the spaghetti strainer.

Write It Down

Yeah, yeah, I know. We all think we can still remember. Funny. I do a lot of You Tube video tutorials without a written pattern so. . . . if I put it down for too long I can easily forget what I’m doing. Especially the ends and beginning of rows. I’m okay figuring out the pattern in the middle from what’s been done, but turning that row and starting the next one oftentimes goes in one side of my brain and out the other. I now keep some colored index cards at my desk or in my bag and I write down the end of one row and the beginning of the next. Just in case. You can also keep a small notebook by you if that works better.

Let the Yarn Carry the Project

I used to pride myself on elaborate and difficult stitches, in both knit and crochet. If I try it now, all I get is a big knotted mess. I just can’t do it anymore. But what I CAN do is buy fancy yarn. There are so many beautiful yarns out there, both cheap ones and more expensive, that have gorgeous patterns and colors on them. There are variegated yarns, speckled yarns, ombre yarns, sparkly yarns, hand-dyed luxury yarns and yarns that change color by themselves like Caron Cakes. Start using them. I now select easy stitch patterns with a one or two row repeat and let the yarn carry the day. Trust me. They come out looking beautiful and you aren’t ripping out your last gray hair along with your project.

Whatever you do, please don’t give up. The world needs us yarn crafters even if we’re a little slower and clumsier than we were in our youth. You can still make beautiful things. You just have to find ways that work for you. I did. Now it’s your turn. If you have any other tips for this ‘ole gal, please leave them in the comments.

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