Thursday, July 19, 2012

What I've Learned From Crocheting

I am not perfect. Did you all know that? Well, it’s true. Amazing? Maybe, but most certainly not perfect. If I was, I would not have had to spend an hour and a half correcting a huge mistake in this sweater I am crocheting. Crochet is something I always wanted to do. My mom used to crochet, and I remember feeling her projects and holding them close to my face in order to see all the bright colors. After I got married, Mom tried to teach me. But, she said my fingers kept getting in the way, and she couldn’t see what we were doing. Thankfully, my husband stepped in and helped. Between him and my mom, I learned the basics. When I finally learned how to navigate the world wide web, I found sites with instructions on various stitches and patterns, which is how I learned to follow patterns. I made all sorts of crazy things in the years before I became a mom: adults and baby booties, mittens, ugly hats, decent afghans, pot holders, dish rags, hair scrunchies, and a lot of other stuff that never looked good enough for a name. Then, a couple of months before my oldest daughter was born, I sat down and crocheted my first poncho. It was the Martha Stewart one, and if I do say so myself, it wasn’t too bad. But, lemme tell ya, that summer was a hot one, and I about burned up with my lap full of yards of Lion Brand’s HomeSpun yarn. That fall I made pink booties for my daughter that she wore on her first Christmas. Several months later I made a friend of mine a scarf. When my second daughter was born I made her a pair of pink booties. In the spring of 2009 I found a pattern for a sweater on the internet and decided it was time. I bought the yarn and the proper size hooks and slowly began. It was surprisingly easy, and the sweater fit me when I was finished. But, I wasn’t satisfied. I wanted something more. Then, somewhere on the internet I found directions for creating your own sweater pattern. The lady gave instructions for crocheters and knitters, alike, and I read that article over and over again. Deciding I had nothing to lose, I grabbed up some scrap yarn and a size G hook and made sweaters for my girls to ware for Easter. Everyone loved them, and I will admit I was surprised that they turned out to look pretty good. So, I used the same instructions and made a sweater for myself. Everyone loved it, but I knew that next time I tried one for me, I would have to do more careful measuring. ;) If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you might remember my post back last fall about buying new yarns to try. Back then, I bought some pink angora merino. I loved the way that stuff felt, but it was difficult to work with. I set it aside and work with other kinds of yarn for a while. Then, last spring I picked it up again and made a baby sweater for a friend’s new grand baby due to arrive in September. The little garment turned out so sweet, that I crocheted a pair of booties out of the same yarn to match. Angora merino, for those who do not know is yarn made of part merino wool from sheep and part angora which is fur from rabbits. It’s lofty, which simply means it feels thinner than it looks. You have to be real careful with it, because if you have to undo any stitches, the yarn fibers stick together and get knotted up real easy. I guess y’all know what I’m leading up too. Right? Well, I’m crocheting an adult sweater out of angora merino. I practiced my stitches before beginning, made swatches and measured them, carefully figured out how many stitches it took to make an inch and how many rows made an inch. I don’t work on the sweater if I’m already aggravated. Instead, I wait until I feel calm and at peace. I finished the length the other day and stayed up late one night to start the first sleeve. I was truckin’ right along and had 5 inches of sleeve done, when I realized I had made a terrible mistake. My sleeve I had been working on was 3 inches too small. Ha! Nothing I can do about it...except take out 10 rows of double crochets and pray the yarn doesn’t knot up on me. So, stitch by stitch, row by row I began to gently unravel that rabbit/sheep fur/wool. Then, near where the sleeve joined the body of the sweater, the crazy stuff knotted up on me. In the past, I would have laid it down and said, “That’s it!” But, I can’t do that! First of all, my friend is expecting this sweater. I’ve promised it to her. Second, I can’t give up; I’ve put too much time and money in to this project. I have to fix it! Y’all, I have no idea how I managed it, but I cut a little here, and tugged a little there, and crocheted a bit more, and suddenly, it’s fixed. I now have one complete row of stitches on the first sleeve, and it doesn’t look messed up. Fshew! Note to self, “MEASURE NEXT TIME!” lol I never dreamed I’d be saying this, but crocheting...well, yarn crafting of any kind, actually...has taught me some measure of patience over the years. Sometimes, I think it’s like writing in that it’s a type of therapy for me. I mean, if I can create something, and no one can see the mistakes I’ve made and fixed, maybe with perseverance I can do other things. Also, crocheting forces me to sit down and be quiet, something I don’t normally like to do. lol But, if I remember correctly, one of the prophets in the Bible found out that he didn’t hear God’s voice in the wind or fire, but in a still, small voice. Don’t know about y’all, but I can’t hear still, small voices unless it’s quiet. So, for what it’s worth, there you go, an article about crocheting. If there are any morals to this story, I don’t know what they would be, unless it’s stay away from angora merino, unless you have been crocheting or knitting for 10 years or more, and if at first you don’t succeed, tear it out and start again. :) Y’all take care and come back real soon. Oh, and BTW, there's a picture of my first adult sweater on this blog. Look back in 2009 in April. I think the title is "My New Sweater". :)

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