Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Like Riding a Bicycle

Inspiration for my projects comes in many forms. I've been on a cross-stitch kick for the last couple of years. I love making things for my friends and family. I realize that not everyone in my address book has received something handmade and so I'm going through that book, looking at a name and thinking, "It's time to send her something." Or, I'll be looking through my boxes of magazines or project kits and think, "I should make this for x." I used to put paperclips on the pages of the item I thought someone would like. Years, yes, years later, I find the clips and wonder either who I was going to make this for or why I though anyone would like this. Tastes change.

As I was intent upon taking December off from crafting, in the back of my mind I was going to hit the ground running, so to speak, in January with crochet. Michele Made Me blog to the right, was the inspiration. That link goes to the actual post that caused me to consider crochet, way back in November. Then, the computer hard drive died. I thought about crochet for something to do, but I couldn't afford to buy yarn and I have none set aside anywhere. I got rid of all my yarn years ago during a low time of my life. Some of it was just nasty after years in the basement. I just couldn't see keeping the good stuff. I wasn't into crafting. I was into personal emotional survival and sitting for hours with a crochet hook was not on my agenda.

But then Red Heart had to create this Team Spirit yarn in a variety of two colors. JoAnn Fabrics put the yarn on sale at the beginning of January and I squeezed a purchase into the budget. In preparation for the arrival of the plumber, I cleaned the area under the bathroom pipes and found my crochet basket. All of this exposition leads up to starting to crochet on Monday. I gingerly opened the top of that basket. The left hinge is broken and the top sort of flops around. I should look at it and see what can be done to fix it.

There were two crochet hooks in the top shelf but both were small, more for crocheting thread than yarn. In the bottom, I found these.

Oh yes. I remember. This set was a Christmas gift long ago. This is size "D" through "K". Anything smaller than "D" is for thread. I don't know that I've seen anything larger than "K" but it's possible. Heck, anything is possible, really.

I found, back in December when I did a search through my magazines for the crafts I will attempt this year, a pattern for a scarf. As I have not done crochet in years, I thought it best to start with something relatively simple and a scarf made of single and double crochets is the perfect thing. Plus, I think that will do nicely with the pattern of the yarn.

I also decided to use one size up from the "H" they recommended. This will make the scarf go a bit quicker and be easier for me to work with. I had no idea how crochet would work with my RA. This was going to be an adventure from start to finish.

I sat down in the recliner, put up my feet, picked up my "I" hook and the yarn and couldn't remember anything about how to start. Well, this is certainly NOT what I was expecting. Thank goodness for YouTube. I found two excellent videos on learning to crochet. I watched them both with my hook in one hand and the yarn in another. Oh that's right. I do know how to do this. "It's just like riding a bicycle." Yeah, it is. I used to do this all the time in college. Granny squares were big back then.

So, on Monday, I sat down, again, in the recliner and started work.

I didn't do much. It was just enough to see how the pattern of the yarn was going to translate into the scarf and to feel comfortable that I really did know what I was doing after all these years.

Last night, I did a whole lot more. I'd been sent out into the field and when I got home, I didn't want to do anything but sit back in the recliner, get Pilchard in my lap and crochet. She attempted to play with the yarn just once, but it doesn't seem to hold much appeal for her. Mija came over to see what I was doing but she wasn't interested in attacking the yarn either. I'm going at a good clip, I think.

Doesn't it look kind of like a wooly bear caterpillar, which causes me to giggle when it's laid out like this? The pattern is just single and double crochet. I'm liking how the colors change. I have no idea how many skeins of yarn it will take to get as long as I would like. This particular pattern has fringe on the ends. I'm not sure about that either. We'll just have to see when I crochet as long as I'd like this to be if adding fringe adds to the scarf or detracts from it.

One of my prized possessions is a crochet lap blanket that my college friend, Laurie, made for me years ago.

It is so amazing. She had no idea of the colors of my living room and she matched it perfectly. The stitch quality of this blanket is perfect and I have made good use of it over the years. I can actually wash it on delicate cycle in the machine and then drape it over the shower curtain rod or the deck railing to dry and it holds its shape. If all I did was crochet, I might get to emulate her ability. My scarf pales in comparison. The girls love her blanket too, particularly Mija. I have it over the back of the recliners and that's where I'll find her, asleep.

Crocheting is okay on my hands. I do feel some aching in my left thumb and my wrist with its "piano-key" joint will make funny noises as I stitch. It's quite a different movement than cross-stitching. I don't have a proper bag to carry this project in to appointments or to travel where I can sit and stitch while being some place so I'll have to improvise. There is a doctor visit upcoming for RA so I can bring this along and say, "Listen. Hear the pop?" I feel that crochet is like exercise for my hands. I would be loathe to have to give this up now that I've remembered how to do it and it goes really fast.

So, I've embarked on a new crafting adventure. Step one is to see how much yarn it takes to make a scarf of the length I deem appropriate. Then determine how long will it take to make one. Then, do I want to do this for everyone on my list, even those that "Ooooh, this cross-stitch would make them happy"? Ah the dilemma of multi-medium crafters.

Beverage:  English Breakfast tea


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