Saturday, January 24, 2015

Crochet, A Personal History

Boy, it has been a long time since I posted any new blog!  Well, time to rectify that!
I was taught to crochet in the fifth grade by my German grandmother.  She used the perfect technique to teach a shy, introverted perfectionist.  My grandmother told me I couldn't make a mistake in crochet.  If I didn't like something, all I had to do was rip it out!  She taught me how to start, a chain stitch, and how easy it was to undo.  She told me to make a chain then rip it out and start over.  My grandmother told me to try different sizes and tensions, and when I had a chain I liked to come get her and we would go to the next step.
Then she taught me the most basic stitch, a single crochet, and how turn at the end of a row.  Again, she told me to practice and whenever I didn't like what I had, rip it out and start over.  She left but she would check in on me occasionally to answer any questions I had.  My grandmother would look over what I had done and instead of critiquing my work, she would explain.  For example, when my rectangle started looking much more like a trapezoid, she told me it was because I had changed the tension.  But it wasn't a mistake.  If I didn't like it, I could rip it out and start over or I could use what I had.  I didn't have a potholder, just add stings and I had an apron for my doll!  My grandmother taught me different stitches, how to decrease and increase, and then she set me loose!
This is one of my fondest childhood memories.  I even remember the yarn we used - a small ball of yarn left over from one of her knitting projects, dusty mauve in color.  I still have that first project around here somewhere - a combination doll hat/basket!   I learned how versatile crocheting. You can start crocheting anywhere you can get a loop.  Start crocheting in the middle of a completed piece to add a handle or get a three dimensional project.  Add crochet to a piece of fabric for a different texture or for a pretty edge.  Use yarn with a larger hook and you have an afghan, use thread with a small hook and you have a doily.
I crocheted for many years but then I suddenly stopped.  Recently, I was inspired and started crocheting again!  I feel like I am reunited with an old friend.  My first new project, a shawl, is done and I have several other projects beckoning.