Have you ever wanted to learn how to do something so badly? Something that has alluded you, taunted you, frustrated you, gnawed at you? That’s the way I feel about learning to crochet.
I learned how to knit when I was 12. My grandmother taught me and I made a stocking cap. And then I quit.
My grandmother knit afghans, sweaters, vests – anything she could think of. She even knit a full set of Barbie clothes for my dolls. My dolls had a beautiful skirt and sweater set, pants, several coats, dresses, etc. She even knit a beautiful angora stole like they wore in the 50s. They were beautiful. I hand washed them to ensure they stayed nice. My grandma was the best! She used the tiniest stitches using the softest yarn in beautiful colors. And, because each item was small, she used only the best yarn – angora, cotton, silk, wool.
My grandma also taught me to crochet but I didn’t like it. Fast forward 42 years. I am now on my third “Beginning Crochet” class. There were only three of us in the first class. The lady was very nice but wasn’t good at explaining how to do each step. She’d try and show us but because everything was backwards when she faced us, it was difficult to follow her. When she turned around, it wasn’t any easier. I left that class knowing how to cast on stitches (if that’s the correct terminology) and how to do a single crochet.
We ran out of time and in the last 10 minutes, she quickly ran through turning the work, doing a double crochet and … The clock ran out.
I then turned to YouTube, which I consider to be my second “class.” I was able to create a sample (see Exhibit A). When I posted it on Facebook, I received some encouraging comments. One person asked me, “What’s the finished size of your piece?” Ummmm. Perhaps 1 1/2 inches by 1 1/2 inches? I guess the close-up shot of it looked like it could have been a large washcloth or perhaps even an afghan. Ha! That was fun. In hindsight, it was pretty hideous but it took me a while to create it and I was proud of it – at least I had learned to single and double crochet. I lost stitches and my tension was awful, but I was proud that I hadn’t quit.
I almost quit but I didn’t want to admit defeat. If I was to quit, it would be because I was bored or I had so many other important priorities. I’ve never quit anything because I couldn’t master it.
When I was in my 20s, I was determined to learn how to ski downhill. My first time on the chair lift, I lost one of my skis and the couple behind me brought it up with them. The problem was, I needed the ski to step off the lift at the top of the mountain. I ended up in the snow. In front of the exiting skiers off of the chair lift. To say I was in there way is an understatement.
Come to think of it, I spent a lot of time laying in the snow. Once I ascended the mountain, the only way down was to ski and I did ski at least part of the time.
I only almost hit a tree once. The instructor was beside me, yelling, “turn, turn, turn” but for some reason, my skis weren’t turning quickly enough. I was headed toward a tree. I decided it was time to stop my rapid descent by landing in the snow. I immediately told him that I fell on purpose – to save my life. Not because I lost my balance or couldn’t stay upright. To me, that made all the difference.
After my third Beginning Crochet lesson, see Exhibit B! Notice the even tension, the beautiful color and the even rows. I actually ended with the same number of chain stitches with which I started the project. There is hope!
Our instructor’s name is Annie and she is awesome. She’s patient, kind and determined. And, surprisingly enough, she had six people in the first class and was able to get around to all of us, to assist us in progressing. Three of us returned to the second class. We all had similar successful swatches. She has the patience of Job! We’re now learning to read a pattern and do a Double Half Stitch (I think that’s the correct name). It’s exciting. She brought several shawls and a poncho-like garment that she’d made to show us what was possible. They were beautiful.
She told me that she can make two to three projects with crochet versus finishing one knitted project. She had me at “two to three” as I enjoy knitting but I’m extremely slow. Next week is our third class and we’ve talked about continuing on for another three classes. If Annie can teach me to crochet, she deserves a special place in Heaven. She deserves a cape. You get the picture!