Well, that went pretty well. I don’t mind telling you, mostly because I’ve told you before, but I have a relationship with crochet that’s pretty rocky. Generally speaking, this is because I don’t care for it, and there’s a fair bit of evidence to support an argument that the feeling is mutual. (I know, I know. I’ve just publicly said that I don’t like crochet. I know, I know. There’s a tiny segment of you who think that’s heretical, and possibly irresponsible of me to say, but I’m not worried. Crochet’s been around a long time, with many fans, whether I like it or not, and despite worried emails to the contrary, I feel absolutely confident that my choices do not affect the choices of other textile artists, and that they’ll decide for themselves. Neither am I moved by the missives that remind me I am the “Yarn” Harlot, not the Knitting Harlot, and that I have a responsibility to like them both. I do not. I’m cool with that. I also dislike a lot of dogs, eggplant and pie. See? Everything is still fine. I bet that if you loved eggplant before I said that, you haven’t reconsidered your position.) I went through a big crochet phase in the 80’s and I made a few things and I assure you I’ve given it a fair shake. It just doesn’t speak to my heart the way that knitting does.
That said, I can be moved to undertake it, and this little dress I’ve been working on did so move me. I’ve been dreading the crochet part. The dress came out so beautifully, and I didn’t want to wreck it with crappy crochet, which is they type I specialize in. There’s crochet around all the edges of this thing, and then there are about 25 little crochet flowers that adorn the line round the bodice. That’s a ton of crochet. I finished the dress, and while it was having a nice bath and a lie down, I decided I’d tackle the flowers first – or at least a few of them. The first one… The first one was a mutant. It had about a thousand things wrong with it. I did the chain in the middle too tight, I put the hook into the wrong holes, and I had some messed up idea of what a double crochet was that just didn’t look right. Also, I had the wrong gauge. It’s not like I swatched the little flowers or anything – I could just tell that the one I made was too loose. I went to the store, bought another hook and gave it a whole other go. (I also did some clever things like look up how to do the things I was wondering about, and read up on crochet techniques so I wasn’t just guessing. Smart, eh?) The second rose went fine. The third was better so I ripped the second one out, and pretty soon I was on a roll.
I set the few aside that I’d made, and then I made some more.
Then I made some more.
Then I had all of them, and there was no way I could avoid the edging any longer. I started on an armhole. It went badly. I pulled it out and tried again (and looked up what a slip stitch was again) and the third time, it looked pretty good – but I was trying for really good, so this is the 4th attempt.
Pretty nice, eh? I feet great about it. I did the other little armhole, and that one went fine too. I had to go slowly, and concentrate, and try really hard, but it went well. That emboldened me, so I started the edging that goes around the neck and back opening.
Less well. Too many crochet stitches for the rows of knitting, you can see it rippling when it should lie flat, so out it came. (I tell you this about crochet, it’s easy to rip it back. Way easier than knitting. You don’t have to capture all the stitches again, just one loop.) I changed the ratio and tried again, and this time it was a thing of beauty.
All that was left was the long stretch around the bottom hem, and that took a while. I tried one single crochet into each bound off stitch, and that was wrong. So I tried 2 out of every 3, and that was wrong. I tried 3 out of 4 and that was magnificently wrong, so then I let go of everything I knew from knitting (because those ratios are my starting places when I knit) and remembered that crochet is a whole other banana, and ended up with a ratio of 7 out of 8, and that, my friends, was a poem.
I love it, and it was worth it, and I think that it was an interesting place to park my brain for a bit – when I’m knitting, it’s easy to feel competent. I have lots of experience and practice, and the needles feel like extensions of my own hands. I seldom wonder how something works, or have to figure out tension, and almost all my guesses about how to do things work out just fine. Crochet? I’m clumsy. I’m awkward. I’m almost always wrong, and getting it too look nice is a huge effort. That little bit of crochet was harder than the whole rest of the dress – and it was a nice reminder for a knitting teacher to have. People new to knitting, or learning a new technique in knitting feel just the same way I did this weekend, and that’s a good thing for me to carry in my heart.
I’ve got a little time left today – so, MORE Karmic Balancing Gifts. (I swear, someday it will end. It wouldn’t go on this long if it wasn’t for how generous you all are.)
Beth and Jill from Two Black sheep Yarn have a great present. One of their hand dyed Ombres – 486 yards of superwash merino in the colour of Clare L’s choice. (They’re all gorgeous. Good luck choosing!)
Hope has a lovely present – one blue sock project bag and a skein of Lang Jawoll sock yarn as a karmic balancing gift. She’s amazing, and will be sending that out to her equally amazing fellow knitter Jenny M.
Next up is Barbara L, who I have to tell you, is part of the reason this thing keeps going on and on. I open up an email thinking it will have one gift, and blammo! A generosity bomb goes off. The rather amazing Barbara went into her stash, and this is what she’d like to share.
5 100 gram hanks of silk from Nepal for Lynn H
4 coordinating skeins of Bonkers Originals Sport Wool for Camy
2 50 g skeins of Alchemy Yarns of Distinction alpaca yarn for Kathleen D.
3 50 g skeins of Inca Alpaca pure alpaca for Sarah K.
3 skeins of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd sock yarn and pattern for Very Berry Socks for Cathy S.
2 skeins of Lorna’s Laces Shepard sock yarn in the Sherbet colorway for Olivia P.
1 skein of Socks That Rock Superwash merino in the Beryl colourway for Merdith.
1 skein of Socks That Rock Superwash merino in the Brick colourway for Caitlin S.
1 skein of Socks That Rock Superwash merino in the Carbon Dioxide colourway for Corey J.
2 skeins Lorna’s Laces Shepard sock yarn in Rainbow colourway for Annie R.
Three cheers for Barbara! Thank you!
Also awesome is Kristi, over at PeetSwea. (Extremely cute shop name.) She’ll be sending this pink and cream needle case with 14 pockets. Two pockets are large to accommodate circular knitting needles (!) over to Ann H.
and this equally charming case (the same sort, with 14 pockets and two big enough for circulars) to Cynthia N. Thank you Kristi!
Finally, last for today, but certainly not least, the good and lovely folks at Miss Babs wanted to get it in on the action, and they’ve got a $30 gift certificate for Carly K.
I love Miss Babs, so I hope they do too. See you tomorrow. I have to go sew on a million little roses.