All I ever needed to know I learned from grandma

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Crochet orange flower on blue granny square

So, to be clear… this isn’t entirely true.  I didn’t learn everything from my grandma.  But I did learn quite a few things from her…including how to crochet.  So I thought it fitting that I share our crochet bond as my first post here…

I learned to crochet from my grandma when I was 7.  When I was young, there was no internet and long distance phone calls were expensive.  My grandparents lived a 4 hour drive away and we only saw them a few times a year.

My grandma always had her crocheting with her and I longed to crochet long before she taught me to chain stitch.  Grandma was always crocheting for others.  Christmas brought slippers for everyone and if you were lucky you got to pick yours first to get the best color.  I had an endless supply of hats, mittens and barbie doll clothes.  Her house was filled with crocheted treasures…  potholders, tissue covers, afghans.  And doilies.  Doilies were everywhere!

Grandma came to the United States when she was 17 and dad taught her English when he went to school—though if you asked Grandma she’d proudly tell you she learned English from watching “the soap operas”.  She also swore (to my mother’s horror), loved to feed people and thought she knew everything.  She was feisty and opinionated and loved her family fiercely.  And could she ever crochet!  She had a hard time speaking English and couldn’t read a pattern, but she could look at a picture and like magic, she could crochet it.

Passport photo of woman with head covering
Grandma’s passport photo.

When you are young time goes by ever so slowly and it seemed like every visit I would ask grandma to teach me how to crochet.  Over and over I heard in her heavy accent,  “you too little… Grandma teach you when you get bigger”.  Finally I pestered enough that she very reluctantly agreed to teach me the chain stitch.  If I could do this, she would teach me more on the next visit.  She left me with a crochet hook and a skein of yarn.  I was over the moon excited.  She was skeptical.

Grandma lived a long way away and we only saw her a few times a year.  I was determined to be ready for my next lesson.  So I chained my way through the entire skein of yarn.  In 7 year old fashion, I tried to figure out what do with this incredibly long strand of chain.  I spiraled it.  I piled it.  I tried to make it into a shape.  I walked it through the house, trailing it like a giant measuring tape.  I rolled it into a ball and looked at it.  Then I unraveled it and did it all over again.  And again and again.  I was crocheting!! When I next saw grandma, she was surprised.  My stitch was really even, she said.  I had a lot of practice!  And so it began.  Every visit I learned a little bit more and grandma would teach me.

Crochet granny square afghan in yellow, green and oranges with black border
My first afghan in all it’s 1970’s glory!

Grandma had high standards.  If you made a mistake you had to rip it.  But she was a good grandma.  When I went to bed, she’d secretly crochet me back to where I was before the mistake was discovered and then crochet some extra for good measure.  So when I woke up, I would be so surprised (and pleased with myself) at how far my project had come along!

As I got older Grandma and I would crochet together and help each other.  She taught me stitches and techniques.  But Grandma couldn’t understand the English in written patterns and sometimes that created a problem.  I wanted to make something, but there was only 1 picture and the directions were too complicated.  So grandma encouraged me to read the pattern to figure it out.  When I got stuck, I would read it out loud and we would figure it out together.  Sometimes grandma would find a pattern in a magazine or book that she couldn’t figure out from the picture and she’d ask for my help.  Could I please crochet her a little sample she could follow?  Grandma had a bag of samples and I thought everyone crocheted little samples before they started project!

Various crochet samples in multiple colors
Grandma’s samples

It was the start of my design process.  I learned to crochet from Grandma and I learned to think about crochet in a way to explain to someone else.  I love to design patterns.  To me it is freeing…liberating…  I am free to design cute things that have no purpose but to please me!  It makes me happy.

And I hope to share my happy crochet with all who visit here.  I hope to fill this site with my crochet wanderings and adventures. Much of what you’ll find here is free.  But I also sell some patterns and you can find those here too.  I like to say it keeps me in yarn..but really it is just a way to share my grandma’s legacy… one stitch at a time.

Happy crocheting, my friends!

Remember, I love seeing your finished projects! If you enjoyed making one of my patterns I’d love to see yours on Instagram, be sure to tag me @crochet365knittoo.  If you are on Facebook, stop over to the Crochet 365 Knit Too Facebook page or pop over to the Crochet365KnitToo Club and share a photo!  I’d love to see your work!


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  1. ? I enjoyed reading your back story on you and your grandma. Thanks for sharing! I too, shared it on my Facebook. ?

  2. Hi and thanks for sharing this wonderful story. It really brings back memories of my experience with mine.

  3. My grandmother also taught me. The memories are similar and special. I stopped crocheting long ago and only recently started up again. Your blog is the first that I’ve enjoyed the stories and learned from the information. Thank you.

  4. Ah, each of you is participating in another long-time tradition!

    Storytellers weave, or knit stories together. It is a wonder-filled way
    to build community.

    A friend of mine, who does needlepoint and has won many blue ribbons,
    started The graduate level course in Storytelling at East Tennessee
    State University, Johnson City, TN. She uses words to weave stories, and yarn
    to use with her needlepoint art.

    Thank you so much Cheryl for sharing your talents and stories to engage and
    educate your readers. I really reading the stories you and the members contribute
    as this community of crocheters grows and finds such pleasure in working with yarn
    and sharing stories/experiences along the way.

    Storytellers use the phrase, “do tell” when they end a performance or telling of a story. It means to go
    forth and share stories.

    Do those of us who create stories and tales with our yarn have a word or phrase we can use when we part?

    Might be fun to toss the idea around!

    Until we meet again with our hooks, yarn and stories waiting to be shared,


  5. Hi Cheryl,

    We could’ve had the same grandma! The only difference was that mine was US born and her grandparents were Irish and German immigrants.

    Grandma Goo Goo (her name was Gertrude) taught me many things: crocheting, sewing, quilting, gardening, cooking, baking, preserving, playing backgammon,

    and most importantly, taking care of family. Family was everything. You never went to someone’s home empty handed and you never left that way either. And you always cared for others when times were tough. I made her proud when she saw I was taking care of my stepmom by bringing her meals and giving her some much needed time to get a few things done when my dad was sleeping. He passed away from stomach cancer in 2016 at age 63.

    I learned compassion and patience, attentiveness and empathy. I learned to give a shoulder to cry on, give hugs when needed, or just an ear to listen. To sit quietly in a crowded room and just watch and listen. And everywhere she went, she always crocheted. Afghans for new babies, hats/mittens/scarves for Christmas, “medicine” blankets when we were I’ll. At home, she made quilts, doilies, and rag dolls. She had a cedar chest and closet full of afghans to be given away after passing and many sets of embroidered flour sack kitchen towels with matching crocheted washcloths. When times were lean, she’d unravel old sweaters for yarn. Her 5 sons and husband would hunt for whatever critter was available at the time and that was used in the winter along with whatever she’d canned or fermented. Fishing was when it was warm and she would pickle northerns and walleyes and pan fry sunnies and crappies, catching an occasional turtle for soup. We cousins learned very quickly to not ask what it was we were eating lol. It was all fantastic and made with love.

    My grandma passed away in 2017, at age 83, from kidney and lung cancer. I’ve made a point to make sure I passed down what she’d taught me to my sons and daughter. My youngest son, a corporal in the Army National Guard, even knows how to crochet! He’ll be 24 on the 29th. Now I have a sweet little grandson who’s 2 years old. I’m going to be the best Nana that I can be. After all, I had one hell of a roll model.

    Thank you for letting me ramble and relive cherished memories of a fiesty, well-loved woman.

    Melissa Groth

    1. Your lovely story of you Grandma brought many wonderful thoughts of my Nana. She taught me to knit and bought me a book to learn how to crochet. I miss her she lived to a wonderful age of 110. She crocheted to the last few weeks that she lived. I miss her very much

  6. Cheryl, in your story, the love of family, furbabies and crochet are ever present and you so freely pass it down to we readers. Opening your heart and home, invites your followers to do the same and so they feel free to do the same.
    What a gift you are! I just had to stop and thank you before my hooks continue their dance. ?

  7. Cheryl, I do love your orange & blue granny square and esp. your first afghan. Nothing cringe-worthy there. I think that the colours in the afghan are wonderful. Thanx for relating that most interesting personal history of your induction into The Crochet Community. And I just love your grandmother’s samples.

  8. This is the story both of my grandmas! Thank you for sharing. Many memories Here! One of my grandmas made every one of her grands a many colored granny afghan with black borders on each Square and around the outside! I requested mine be done in Brown! She did not like it but she did it. I still have it. My daughter was very sick for several years and always wanted that afghan with her. I still have it. I want to get it out and display it now. Not to be used because it is wool and very fragile. I will share a picture when I get it!