Thursday, September 29, 2011

Feeling Groovy

I’m learning to crochet!  Why did I wait until now?  My mother crocheted.  She made doilies, afghans, those granny square vests from the 1970s.  Oh yeah, I was groovin' those vests in junior high school.  They were quite the rage with a pair of hip huggers and a wide belt.  I had two lovely purple and lilac ones.  (Hmmm, wonder if they're in the attic.)

But for me, as a (mediocre) knitter, crochet has always seemed so baffling.  There is only one hook!  How can that possibly work?

When the local community college advertised a beginners crochet workshop for this fall, I jumped on it.  We had the first class last night.  There were eleven of us, all women, mostly over 40, there to learn.  Several of the women had taken an earlier class, so they had some familiarity, but even they struggled.  I'm telling you, it's hard!  The lady across the table from me must have been in her 70s.  She said people had been trying to teach her to crochet for years.  I could tell she felt like she was the only female of her generation who couldn't crochet.  What did her children do in the 1970s?  Who made their granny square vests?  It doesn't bear thinking about.

Our little class, though, is not jumping right into crocheted clothing.  As our instructor, Diane (who is also a published mystery book author!! this is so exciting in so many ways), said, you have to walk before you can triple crochet.  (What?)  After finding out I didn't know how to make a slip knot and feeling like I was 99% thumbs, I finally made a chain.  Then Diane said we had to rip that out and start over in order to make a dish cloth.  Because a dish cloth doesn't have to fit and doesn't even have to be square in order to work!  Diane kept us going through all the missteps by promising that next we'll get to make a carnation.  (I'm so glad I chose pink yarn.) How cool that we'll get into some hippie flower power vibe next!  So I remade my chain and managed to get two more rows crocheted.

Yeah, it's a little wonky.  My chain was too tight, so the whole piece is curved.  (You'll notice there is no close-up photo of my work; this is deliberate.)  But here's the thing: This is the result of a two-hour class!  It took two hours to make that little rectangle!  As I walked out of the room, I realized that my vision had blurred from looking so long and so hard at my crochet.  When I drove home, I was literally seeing double of all the car lights and traffic lights.  Which made for a groovy 1970s pyschedelic ride.  If only I'd had my granny square vest on!

Photo of the Rib Ticklers is from a 1971 Coats and Clark pamphlet found on Ravelry; there is also a free pattern, but you do have to join Ravelry.

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