Monday, September 8, 2008

Knit 1; Crochet, too?


Yesterday I dragged myself out of my sickbed to meet up with several of my fellow Terminal City Yarn Wranglers for our regular meet-up. I probably would have skipped this session, but beentsy had promised to teach me to crochet, and I needed to get the lesson in. No, really, I needed to. It’s for the House Cup.

I signed myself up for the September Transfiguration class, for which participants are expected to produce something in the craft they don’t normally do (or, it turned out after several enquiries from students equally talented in knitting and crochet, to practice a skill they haven’t yet tried in their usual craft).

Everyone I know who crochets says it’s easy; easier, in fact, than knitting. But I could never get it. Way too many things to keep track of: single crochet, double crochet, half-double crochet (really, shouldn’t half-double be the same as single?), turning chains, treble crochet...yikes. Give me knit and purl any day.

I had attempted to crochet on several occasions before. I’ve even bought a few books on the subject, each promising me how easy – “and FUN” – it was. To which I’d always respond, after an hour or so of complete frustration and zero results: Bollocks!

To be fair, I didn’t learn how to knit from books. I learned by having someone actually show me. I’m spatially challenged. You know those questions on IQ tests where they have a two-dimensional shape, and you have to choose which of several three-dimensional forms it would look like when it is put together? I could spend the whole time allotted for the test on those questions.

But I conveniently managed to forget this each time I tried to figure out the diagrams in the crochet books. So, I took beentsy up on her offer to show me how it’s done. My choice of first crochet project: the Luna Lovegood scarf, which I figured was a good choice for the purposes of the House Cup. Of course, I couldn’t find any appropriate yarn in my newly reduced stash, so a pre-meetup excursion to Three Bags Full was in order. School supplies don’t count as stash, don’t you know?

After a coffee and a bit of a wait (we had forgotten that the store doesn’t open until noon on Sundays), we hit the shop, and did some damage to our already-battered finances. My usual indecision prolonged the adventure just a bit, but I eventually settled on a budget-friendly option: two skeins of Cascade 220. Also on the bill: a skein of white allhemp6, to be used for a Hedwig Illusion Cloth for Herbology Class (more on that later), and a single skein of 50%-off Koigu Kersti, for some bloody fingerless mitts that some evil yarny got me into.

Several other Wranglers found their way into the shop, too, and we finally made it down to The Grind, where, after some refreshments, the lesson began.

I should say right here that beentsy is a saint. I am not an easy person to teach. In fact, I’m probably a teacher’s worst nightmare: always asking questions, always needing assurance, and miserable when I don’t do it perfectly the first time. But somehow, she managed not to strangle me, and I managed to produce something yesterday.

Ok, it doesn’t look like much, I grant you, but for me, it was a breakthrough. And it’s in the hemp, which isn’t the easiest thing to work with. (You’ll note it looks nothing like the Luna Lovegood scarf. I gave up on that pretty quickly. It starts with a chain of 383, for Pete’s sake; I wouldn’t have had time to learn anything else in an afternoon.)

And when I got home, I did some more. In crap, splitty acrylic, with a too-small hook, but still. More. A swatch, in fact. Of single, half-double, double, and even triple crochet.

It’s not the most beautiful example of crochet, I realize. It’s full of mistakes. But it’s a start. I might actually start on the scarf today. But not in the Cascade. It’s very nice, but I liked the Kersti beentsy was using for her scarf (she got it half finished during the meetup), so much that I went back to TBF after the meetup and bought some for myself.

Oh, and some Malabrigo Worsted. But it's for a birthday gift for my Mum (who doesn’t bother reading the blog), so it doesn’t count as stash, either.

Any suggestions on what to make with it?


  1. Mmmmmmmmmalibrigo! Love that stuff, thinking of getting it tattooed on my tushy! I would suggest a cowl or a nice squishy scarf. Exhibit A:

    Exhibit B:


    Now, crochet, not easy or easier than knitting, just different. An entirely different set of motor skills. You are doing wonderfully. Your swatch does what I do: gets small. You have to either A: count your stitches every row so you know you got them all (sometimes you have to squish one last on in at the end) or B: if you do a patter you are less likely to lose stitches because you would be missing a whole pattern repeat. I think you're almost ready for that scarf!

  2. *polite applause for crochet* (though when I'm immature (so 95% of the time) I call it 'crotch-it' and then I giggle)

    What about My So Called Scarf? I know it's a bandwagon scarf but it shows off yarn really nicely.

  3. Congrats on learning to crochet. I'm lucky that my mom and grandmother taught me when I was a kid. I think it made teaching myself to knit easier.
    It looks like you're off to a great start!!

    That is some gorgeous yarn. Hmmm, what to do with it.
    I've been wanting to make a cowl myself so that sounds like an interesting idea.