Today begins National Crochet Month.
Since I cannot crochet at the moment with this bum elbow, let's just talk about it instead.
I first learned about National Crochet Month in 2008. I was inspired enough to design a Crocheted Guinness Dog Toy in its honor.
Samson destroyed it by pulling out all the stuffing a few days after I made it, but they still have the fabric. I suppose that makes it an empty Guinness can dog toy?
A Crocheter is Born
As I've mentioned in the past, I was so young when I learned to crochet that I don't remember that first lesson.
I do remember learning the double crochet stitch.
It was in the summer. We were visiting my aunt and her family in upstate New York. Grandma was sitting in a lawn chair crocheting. My younger cousin and I were sitting on the grass next to her "crocheting." We must have been making squares of fabric using just slip stitches because I remember Grandma saying that whatever we make would be nice and warm, but it would take us forever to make.
And she taught us the double crochet stitch.
Now this next bit is going to sound crazy, but you must keep in mind this was in the 1980s before the internet was widely available...for years after that summer the double crochet stitch was the only one I used.
You are probably asking yourself how I managed. Looking back I wonder that, too.
But then I was a kid. I owned one H hook. And I mainly made afghans and maybe a few scarves from the super inexpensive acrylic yarn you could get at craft and department stores.
I couldn't even tell you if any of those childhood projects still exist, but I suspect there weren't many of them. I don't think I was as prolific back then as I am now.
But I was happy in my double crochet world.
I also remember the project that inspired me to learn more stitches and techniques.
My younger cousin had a magazine with a pattern for a stuffed cow in it. (Actually, it has horns and no udder, so I guess technically it's a bull.)
I coveted that cow something fierce. In fact, I still have him. Tucked away somewhere safe where Samson can't eat him.
In order to make that cow I had to learn how to work a single crochet stitch and how to work in the round.
Thank goodness for library books, because my Grandma was dead by then!
Strangely, I can't remember when I originally got my hands on the pattern, but I know I didn't finish him until I was in college. I had him with my on my Junior Year Abroad. I might have finished him while I was in England. At least he didn't have a name because it was then that he was dubbed Junior.
In any event Junior, and the books I had to track down to make him, opened up the possibilities for me. I learned lots of new stitches. I started designing my own stuffed animals.
As you can see by the doily at the beginning of the post, my crochet skills have advanced from those days of just being able to chain, slip stitch, and double crochet.
However, even though I've been doing this almost all my life, I know there is still a lot about crochet left for me to learn.
These crafts help us grow, develop, expand our minds, and challenge ourselves.
My point is, don't expect to know it all and be an expert overnight. If you are just learning, expect to be frustrated, but keep your eye on the goal. Crocheting is a specialized skill and skills take time to be acquired. (Oh, this is where I should say something trite about hand crafts helping us slow down in our busy, digital world.) After all, you didn't learn to ride a bike, drive a car, or cook a decent meal on your first attempt, did you?
And if your craft is stagnating, look for a new inspiration. Maybe you need a new project that will offer a challenge and inspire you to take your skills to the next level. Or maybe some squishy new yarn in a fiber you haven't used before will wake you up.
Go forth and seek your stuffed cow!