roguecrafter: tea stained paper background, text reads "Rogue Crafter", open source image of Victorian hands sewing/knitting (Default)

When I was about 8 or 9 my mother tried to show me the mystical art of crochet. It was something she was very skilled in, and I was interested to learn how she’d made the tiny delicate lace blanket for my dolls house.

I managed chain stitch and a very tight row of single crochet before throwing it aside in consternation, because she couldn’t manage to explain to me in a way that sunk in that if I held the yarn really really tightly then I’d never be able to do another row.

I became convinced crochet was too hard, and the bit I’d done became a curly scarf for Kirsten Larson, my American Girl doll.

Fast forward to when I’d learned to knit in my mid-20s. I had taught myself, and everyone (non-crafter and crafter, even the nice people at the yarn store) seemed to think it was just logical that if I could knit I’d be able to figure out crochet.

So I tried again, after seeing lots of tantalizing photos of amigurumi online and thinking, “I want to crochet that.” I started with a dishcloth, and thought I’d try it as a sampler of basic stitches. And you know what? I figured it out. (Knowing about gauge/tightness in knitting really helped.)

But then I felt like I had to finish the dishcloth in order to do anything else…and I have a lot of hand-knit dishcloths. It wasn’t exciting, and oh by the way SHINY PROJECT distracted me. But suddenly I knew the basics enough that I didn’t want to stab someone with a crochet hook after a row of chain stitch.

Yesterday, I finished knitting a green baby hat. I’d been planning to put Shrek/Alien ears on it, but I’ve done that before with preemie hats and I was just kinda bored with the idea. (I think that was why this hat had been three rounds from done for about three months, taking up workspace.) So then I thought, it’s for a girl, why not a flower? And then I thought, why not a crocheted flower?

And so the first crocheted object I ever completed came to be:

 
Cut for 2 images )
P.P.S. Special shout-out to [personal profile] sage  for all the cool crocheted creatures. That was also a bit of a push.
roguecrafter: tea stained paper background, text reads "Rogue Crafter", open source image of Victorian hands sewing/knitting (Default)

I learned how to untangle thread, although I didn’t know it then, when I was about three or four. I used to go over to “Grandma” Rosie’s house after preschool; she volunteered at my preschool and agreed to help look after me when both my parents were at work.

Her embroidery was stunning. She never did counted cross stitch or anything that required her to follow a written pattern, instead preferring pre-printed patterns on soft cotton. She said anything that required so much counting was “for the birds.”

She would patiently allow me a chance to try my hand at embroidery or cross stitch, and inevitably I would pull the thread too hard and it would tangle.

So I pulled the thread harder.

It took me years to understand her wise advice that if – as with a Chinese finger trap – you moved the two twisted bits of embroidery floss together, then you can ease them apart.

Now that I’ve learned how to spin, I don’t do much embroidery or cross stitch these days. However, I did do a little bit of embellishment with some of my handspun yarn the other day. I thought of Grandma Rosie when my yarn got tangled and I used her lesson to free it; I hope that she is at peace.

Hand knit business card holder

Red and pink garter stitch business card holder closed with a purple button; embellished with cream handspun yarn making an animé-style smiley face. The business card holder rests on a sea of buttons, with some remaining yarn above.

Note: posted to Wordpress in what was technically the middle of the night, did not have the spoons then to cross-post.
There is also another post about my dog's illness which I will not be cross-posting here, as I have spoken about it elsewhere.

October 2013

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