Sunday, September 6, 2015

Crocheting Kiddos

I have tried a few times to teach Sis how to crochet, to no avail.  I'll admit that I'm not much of a teacher; I find it hard to break skills into steps and to explain them verbally.  And Sis is left handed, while I am right.  I tried to reverse the steps for her the last few times, which didn't work for either of us.  Recently, I read somewhere that lefties have to not only crochet left-handed but then reverse patterns; ugh, too much.  Some felt it was better to just learn right handed, just as Sis has to play the violin right handed (there just aren't left-handed violinists.)

So today, we started again, with her agreement to give it a try right handed.  A metal hook, some neon pink Red Heart yarn, and lots of slowness and patience.  I also pulled up the intro videos of my Woodland Amigurumi class on Craftsy by Stacey Trock, which slowly and concisely introduce chain stitching and single crocheting.  Sis worked at it carefully and persistently . . . and soon she had a row or two, a foundation chain and single crochet, with a chain-2 turn. My word, she was crocheting!   She plans on making it a scarf for her stuffed animal, the river otter Skipper (named after Redwall.)

Midday, having watched us for awhile, Bud decided he must learn how to crochet, too.  He plans on making a scarf for Mr. Big, his giant penguin.  And so, Sis sat him down and started him on slip knots and chains.  Soon I was showing him the Craftsy video and demonstrating single crochet.  And he too had rows and rows of very straight stitches.  They both crocheted through half the afternoon!  Much better than I did for my first few weeks.

I never dreamed I'd manage to teach Sis to stitch, or that Bud would want to crochet, too (he usually doesn't want to do what Sis and I do together.)  There is something very touching about passing down a treasured skill/hobby to your kids.  Sis and I had baking; Bud and I tried juggling.  Mama has drawn with them both.  And I think we've passed on our  love of cats, musicals, reading, and travel.  But a skill is more concrete.  It's a little bit of the future right here and now, though that doesn't quite explain it; a touch of immortality, perhaps?  I hadn't realized that so clearly.

Or that they'd pick it up so fast.

Or that we'd all spend an afternoon, crocheting on the couch together.

Or that Bud would say, "I know you're looking at me with pride!" as I watched him stitch.  And I was.

Or that he would also cry out in frustration, "I'm surrounded by all the things I want to be able to make (e.g. afghans, mandalas, and scarves I've made) and know thad I can't!  It's so hard."

Or that they'd both plan going to the yarn store to choose their next yarns.

Or that they'd want to learn new stitches, increases and decreases, etc., so they can make amigurumi penguins and bunnies.

Or that as we called for dinner, they'd both say in unison, "Just one more row!"

All while I told them about my early crochet lessons with my friend Miss V, whose maid of honor I had been and who would later throw me a baby shower, and whose intricate and complicated beautiful pink and green/diamond with roses afghan we were all leaning against.  And how very hard I found crochet--loops too tight, stitches uneven, skipping stitches or doubling up accidentally--all while clutching my hook too tight and crying in frustration.  It took so long to really get the hang of it, but soon I was making very simple afghans, then more complicated ones, and now mandalas and such.  Rome wasn't built in a day, practice makes perfect.  All of it, I said to encourage the kids.  Besides, I've been crocheting longer than they've been alive.  And they are off to a better start than I ever had.

It's a wonderful beginning.

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