Question 123 (The Complete Book of Questions by Garry Poole)
What’s one of your hobbies?
In many circles it makes me a second-class citizen, but I am proud to be a crocheter. (Having only purchased yarn in large craft stores in the past, I didn’t understand the depth of the discrimination against crocheters until I shopped in dedicated yarn shops in England. Lots of knitters believe that crochet, with its one hook, is not a “real” hobby.)
I wasn’t always good at crochet. My mom tried to teach me years and years ago, but I couldn’t seem to get past the chain stitch. I would sit for hours and make chains. Miles and miles of chains. It frustrated Mom to no end. “What the hell are you going to do with all that chain?” Ever resourceful, I coiled them up and made rugs for Barbie and Skipper. Lots and lots of rugs.
Years later, once I had a little more coordination and Mom had regained her patience, I asked her for a couple remedial lessons in single and double crochet and reinforced that instruction with some rather detailed diagrams from a how-to manual. But no amount of tutelage could regulate my yarn tension. Every single Red Heart project I tackled–scarf, afghan, dishcloth–came out as a trapezoid, or an hourglass, or worse. Embarrassed, I unraveled all of them, rolled the yarn into balls, and nearly gave up. Mom had some leftover less-stretchy cotton thread, so I picked up a small hook and attempted to make a doily. My tension issues weren’t to be blamed entirely on the yarn…my first couple doilies had a distinctive cup shape. Once I successfully produced several flat ones, I graduated to fillet crochet, which was a definite test of my newly regulated tension control.
Finally, I gained enough confidence to go back to patterns requiring worsted weight yarn and made myself a ripple afghan to take to college. Since it came out square, and did not fall apart after repeated washings, I decided it’d probably be safe to make my grandfather a blanket for Christmas. I’ve made and gifted a couple other adult-sized afghans since then, but by far my niche seems to be baby blankets.
You’d look at the size of them and think, “She could whip this up in a couple evenings while sitting in front of the TV.” But I am notorious for picking patterns that take FOREVER to work up. My current project, for example, requires three rows and about 90 minutes to add a mere 3/4″ to the overall length.
I’ve got twenty-three days before I’m supposed to present this afghan as a gift to my cousin’s brand new daughter. Saving a day to add the border, that’s 3.6818181818 rows per day. I usually have about an hour to crochet in the evenings. I’m no mathematician, but something doesn’t add up.
Gotta go…I’ve still got 2.3484848484 rows to go tonight in order to stay on pace.