I am thoroughly enchanted by amigurumis these days, so I decided it was time to put my thinking cap on and learn how to crochet so I could make a little ami for myself. How hard could it be?
This is my tale.
First, let me tell you that once upon a time when I was in the third grade I knew how to knit. My mom gave me gigantic lime green wooden knitting needles and super chunky hot pink yarn. Did I mention that this was in the 60's? We took a road trip from Southern California to my grandma's house in Northern California, which is about a 12-hour drive. I would knit up all my yarn, then unravel it and knit it up again. I was proficient. And that is the extent of my expertise. I never really made anything to speak of; I just kept knitting and unraveling, knitting and unravelling. It was kind of addictive, I think.
Fast forward a few years. I'm a young mom. My friend is learning how to knit. She keeps knitting up a test swatch, counting stitches, and talking about tension and gauge. I'm baffled and astounded at the amount of work you have to put in before you can even begin. Looks too hard for me.
I move to Arizona. Theoretically, it's too hot to knit or sew. But I don't know anyone here, so I crank up the AC (or crank it down, depending on how you look at it) and sew a quilt. A flannel one. It's one of my most favorite things I have ever made. Finally, I make a friend. She knits socks and tries to convert me into a knitter, but I am strong and resist. I'm a quilter, I tell her. I want to focus on getting better, not flit from craft to craft. Besides, I have this image in my mind of the sweater my mom made for my dad back in the green needles-pink yarn days. It was gigantically huge, probably would have fit mom and dad together at the same time. I know that tension and gauge matter and that I don't have the patience for it.
Two days ago: Ah, but that's knitting and I want to learn to crochet. It's gotta be easier. It only has one "needle." I know I said I was going to stick to one craft, but one little foray wouldn't be so bad, would it? Besides, I just recently learned that acquiring new skills thwarts dementia, and I'm all about not being demented. So I do what any self-respecting 21st century crafter does--I turn to youtube. Yes! There is a great series that shows exactly how to make an amigurumi. The girl on the monitor actually makes it look simple and almost effortless. I decide to follow along.
And therein, I encounter my first obstacle. No matter how hard I try, I can't keep up, even though she has the patience of Job, and crochets very slowly. I'm stuck at the slip knot that you're supposed to start with. Half the time it turns into a slip knot and half the time it just slips off with no knot. I feel like an idiot.
Maybe I should just throw in this next little piece of information. If you're like me you'll totally understand my frustration. If you're not, I'm not sure I can fully express just how difficult my life can be. I'm....
Did you know we have a shorter life expectancy? Yeah, comes from living in a world bent on frustrating us, trying to conform us into something we are not. And don't even get me started on the topic of scissors. I'll just save that rant for another post!
Okay, back to crocheting the youtube way. I did another search and found someone who explained and demonstrated in slow motion (that was key) how to do a variety of stitches, including a slip knot, left-handed. And no, you silly right-handers, I know what you're thinking and I'll just tell you right now that I couldn't have just done it right-handed. That would be nigh to impossible. It would be like me telling you to just do it with your toes.
Well, the left-handed teacher got me on the right track, so after a little practice I took off. Here is my first attempt. His name is Happi.
I know the tension is off-kilter and he's got a few little problems, but overall I'm pleased. And while he's not quite suitable for giving, I'm sure he'll be perfectly content to live happily at my house. His name is Happi, after all.