Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Is anybody still out there?

I wouldn't blame you if you weren't ;-) I pretty much suck at blogging lately, and I'm not sure why, but c'est la vie. It'll come back, I'm sure.

Life has been pretty good round these parts. My darling boy turned 1, two days later I turned (a great deal more than 1), and we had a great birthday week. I've been working steadily on the Shipwreck, and even had a great few hours when my mother was down for N.'s birthday where we put him in daycare, and sat in Starbucks knitting all morning before picking him up and heading home. I realized last week, though, that I have to put my Shipwreck down. Thousands and thousands of repetitions of k2tog/yo have been getting to me. I'll finish it, I'm determined, but I wanted something to work on during my lunchbreak that was more portable, but yet not socks. The Central Park Hoodie isn't going to be portable, and I've done cables lately, which means I want a break from cables, too. I have KADD (knitting ADD - apologies if someone else has coined this). So, what to do?

Enter the Boteh Scarf (Ravelinky) or as I like to call it, Suck it Crochet, I'll Beat You Yet.

I've always found crochet to be a bit out of my reach, and it was driving me bonkers. I used to make chains with my best friend when we were like, 5 years old, and had no crochet hooks but found our fingers worked fine. I managed to do two circles to sew onto the knitted elephant as ears last year, and it wasn't too taxing, but I felt like I never really got it. I have a teaching book that is a great start, and I spent some time in 2007 trying things out - sc, hdc, dc, shell stitch, etc. But again, I never got it; I found myself having to look at the directions every few stitches to see what I was doing.

It's a very intangible thing with me, getting it, and it took me quite some time before I achieved that level of understanding with my knitting. It happened, though, somewhere between my first BSJ and now - I can read my stitches, predict what happens next, and let a pattern flow. It's a pretty great feeling, and I've wanted to get there with crochet for years.

The other day, it happened.

Ages ago, I had bought the Interweave Crochet issue with the Boteh in it on the suggestion of the LYS owner, I think it was for a bag that's in there - she felt it was a good introduction to working motifs. I never went for it, though, and the mag sat on my shelf. But I'd seen the Boteh, and kept going back to it. It had a chart, which was scary but not completely out of reach (I knit better from charts than written instructions), but it also had written instructions that seemed clear. Every few months I'd pull it down, look at it, study it for 10 minutes or so, and put it back on the shelf. Last week, I looked again. Yep, still there. Still charted. Still foreign, but wait - when I looked closer, I realized it's made up of chains and only two other stitches - hdc and dtr. Dtr is rare, but not complicated, and hdc is nice and small. Chains are simple. Do I have a size F hook? Check. What about some fingering weight that I love? Holy Lord, check^∞. I finally settled on my one ball of trekking XXL, wound up from yet another failed sock, started with a simple chain, and trusted in the pattern.

It took me three modules of blindly following the written instructions before I could put the work down, look at it from a distance, and see what was going on. Then, over the weekend, it happened.

I got it.

I could see how the hdc's were making up the structure, what the turning chains of different lengths actually did (even though I know why they're there, in theory, from reading about it), and how a dtr is actually constructed. It was really a moment for me. I stopped needing to look at the pattern, or mark down which row I was on.

Ha! You won't beat me, crochet!

Now, I'm not under any delusions that this is a complicated pattern. It's only two or three different stitches, for heaven's sake. But I understand the stitches, just like I understand how different increases and decreases work in knitting, and how a cable is built. I know there's volumes to learn, and I haven't even touched crochet increases and decreases yet, but I feel it now. It's not untouchable anymore.

I'm not switching loyalties, though; I'm a knitter first, and I always will aspire to be a Knitter by trying more and difficult things. But, this small victory is huge for me. Plus, it's a cute, trendy scarf that could be whipped up with any of my sock yarns as a quick gift ;-)


In other news, my husband is cute. He found this mug on the Starbucks sale shelf before I did, and insisted it come home with us for my birthday ;-)

1 comment:

Bezzie said...

I'm still here. And jealous you've beaten crochet!