Ok, I know it’s a weird title. They are actually the names of various crochet stitches. We have a collective community project going on here at the moment.
Neighbour #1 is an avid knitter. She has produced a big bag full of knitted squares. However, she does not know how to crochet. What does that matter? Well, it is simply the easiest and quickest way to convert the squares into knee rugs. She gave the bag of squares to Neighbour #2 and asked if she could do something with them. Sure, she said. She just happened to know that I can crochet. So she wanted to know if I could teach her and told me why.
Now to me this sounded like a perfect project to get involved in. It is a way to give something back to a community of sore, arthritic old knees for next winter. Nursing home residents specifically. So many of them have been abandoned by family. The thought of warming their knees with hand made rugs feels good. Last year after the devastating bushfires we made mittens and pouches for injured koalas and kangaroos. She also collects newspapers and worn linen, bath towels and the like to take to vet surgeries and animal shelters for bedding. It’s a real little community of helpers we have in our corner of the street.
So I embarked on teaching Neighbour #2 how to crochet. She happens to be a very gifted craftsperson. A perfectionist when it comes to creating works of craft. With a head full of ideas. We made a date and started lessons yesterday. It’s been interesting to watch her learning a craft that is totally foreign to her. One she has shunned in the past as being too hard. What was just as interesting for me was having to break down the process into baby steps so I could teach her.
Two and half hours of painstaking steps yesterday had her holding the yarn and the crochet hook. Sort of. That was good – an essential start. Can’t get far if you can’t hold the tools! It looked clumsy. And to her it felt clumsy and awkward. To her credit she persisted and managed to wind the wool around her fingers. Short of cutting off her circulation, she managed a length of chain stitch. Bingo. Foundation row done. Next came the more tricky bits – double crochet, treble crochet, slip stitch. The essential basics used in most patterns. By the time she left, she had a sample square of 2 inches by 2 inches to take home with her to continue practice for the next lesson. Today.
I could see her chomping at the bit wanting to fly before she could crawl. Her mind kept flitting to other stitches. To colours of yarn to join the squares with. You could do this and this – oh, and that – couldn’t you , she enthused. I felt so mean pouring cold water on her enthusiasm, pulling her back into the cold hard reality of hooks, yarn and tension. Did you really expect to be able to start on the squares today? Sheepishly she had to admit that was probably just a tad ambitious.
To her credit she came back today with a new baby granny square she had completed at home. A little bit more practice and she’s now off and running. She has already mastered the basic stitches. Now all she has to do is learn how to use them to crochet the squares together. Easy!
After the blankets are all stitched together I will teach her to read patterns. That will be a whole new world of pain and frustration !
© Raili Tanska