This year I turned 40, and I learned to crochet. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?
I only had one New Year’s Resolution this year (I’ve found the fewer I have, the more likely I am to achieve them), and it was indeed to learn to crochet. I wanted to rediscover my creative side, to immerse myself in something new, and to create.
Early in the year I visited the Craft Cottage in Nabiac. The Craft Cottage is a true co-operative, run by 9 women who all produce the most amazing crafts of one sort or the other, quilting, knitting, crocheting, sewing, you name it, they do it. And then they sell it in this little building in Nabiac which they’ve named the Craft Cottage. They share the costs of rent and electricity, they each volunteer some of their time to keep the Cottage open 7 days a week, and they receive the proceeds of the sales of their respective goodies. Others can sell items and the Co-op takes a commission.
As I approached the little building, two women were sitting on the verandah and I asked them, do you know of anywhere around here I could get crochet lessons? One of the women, who turned out to be Helen, cocked her head towards the other, who turned out to be Lorraine, and said, she’ll teach ya.
And so she did. Most Monday mornings this year, I have dropped The Kid at pre-school and taken my mother’s 1970’s knitting bag, laden with my crochet wools and cottons, to sit next to Lorraine on the Craft Cottage verandah and learn to crochet.
Lorraine is an expert. With the crochet hook in hand, she works magic, quickly. Her hands move smoothly and rapidly. She can crochet while she talks to you, and looks at you. She doesn’t miss a beat.
I, on the other hand, sit there with furrowed brow, concentrating hard, my hands stiff, clumsy and slow. If someone talks to me, I have to stop, engage in the conversation and then re-count my stitches to work out where I was. Muti-tasking I cannot do when crochet is one of the tasks.
This, though is one of its pleasures. For me it has become something I can indeed immerse myself in. It is therapeutic. I am not able to think of anything else (not yet anyway) while I am crocheting. I have to concentrate, and there is something rewarding and peaceful about really being in the moment. I love it.
So, nearly a year on, what have I achieved? Well, this was my very first piece of crochet, created with some wool Lorraine lent me, using a spare hook Lorraine had in her bag. I had to start somewhere.
And since then, I have crocheted a scarf for each of my youngest nieces. Deliberately different, to avoid arguments, and deliberately in the same colour, also to hopefully avoid arguments. I finished them just in time for.. next winter, so it remains to be seen if they like wearing the scarves, or if they cause any arguments.
I also started a beanie for Hubs during winter, but then the weather warmed, and I will have to finish it in the Autumn. I can’t even bear to try it on his head in this heat.
I crocheted a tea cosy for my Op Shop tea pot find. Made to measure. I was quite proud of that one.
I’ve also discovered crocheted baskets, and I’ve done a few of these.
One ‘project’ which has halted recently is my crochet bag. I’ve almost finished crocheting it, although I’m waiting for Monday when I can get Lorraine to show my how to do the handles. Once completed the plan is to wash it, and apparently the wool will shrink and matt, leaving me with a more rigid, up-right bag in which I can stow my balls of wool and cotton (which I seem to be accumulating now). This is what it looks like at the moment.
There is every chance that it will be a complete disaster. I’ll let you know.
And my final crochet activity for the year is making Christmas tree decorations. I was concentrating on snowflakes…
..until, yesterday I found myself questioning the choice of snowflake as a Christmas decoration. It was 37 degrees celsius. By 9pm, it had cooled to a pleasant 31 degrees, such lovely sleeping weather. The butter, which I’d forgotten to put in the fridge melted. The block of butter lay flattened like a pancake on the butter dish, sad and beaten. If the butter couldn’t make it, what sort of chance does a snowflake have?
So I have started on some little flower motifs and stars instead. They surely are a more appropriate representation of our antipodean Christmas? Wilted, the real flowers may be in this scorching heat, but the stars, the ones in the sky, are spectacular.