Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Crocheting and crotchetyness

After some years of making cot blankets with granny squares, for sundry grandchildren, nieces and nephews, their babies, and those of the children of close friends, I have recently turned my hook to making a garment. The excellent wool shop in the city had a sale and I managed to get to it, while the visiting stepdaughters used the opportunity afforded (!) by my absence. Perhaps they would reimburse me the cost of the wool? Obviously a bargain.

Having bought quite a lot of wool, the next question was what to use it for. At these sales you have to buy the wool by the packet. In all probability there is more, or less than would be needed for any one item, but the scraps can always be made into yet another collection of granny squares.

It is unfortunately true, given that I cannot knit, that the patterns for crocheted garments are often really and truly daggy. There are lovely shawl patterns, but I have plenty of shawls now, and made a rather lovely one last year from a variegated mohair of purples and pinks. It was necessary to revisit my extensive collection of crochet patterns accumulated over the years - that is, from the last time crocheted items were actually fashionable. (This was when my children were really very very young.) Finally I decided on a pattern for a jumper/sweater using shell patterns. I started on it.  My  tension seems to be incorrect, and thus whether it will actually fit me, or any other possible recipient, is a moot point.

It has been many years since I made anything substantial which actually used a pattern. My pattern reading skills have atrophied. Much puzzling, many mistakes, and much unravelling ensued. The instructions for decreasing for the sleeves were most perplexing. Having decreased, which row was I to do next?

On the way to my physiotherapy appointment last week I dashed into the wool  shop, which also runs classes and clinics, to seek help. That was given and gratefully received. Finally I have reached  the stage where the shoulders must be shaped. This brought me to a halt. Possibly after six or eight attempts, I might work it out. In the meantime I have started on the front, which I can get to the same stage.

When I first began crocheting,  I had help from a colleague, who was most expert and obliging. Now I do not know anyone who crochets. At choir there are some ardent knitters, who get through a few rows while the other voice parts are being given particular attention. One soprano organises the knitters to do bed socks for the elderly, and there are other projects on the go. But there is not a crocheter in sight, other than myself. I am hoping that I might be able to get to one of the crochet clinics at the shop, which start in a week or so. It might happen, if a friend can come and Dr P-sit. Crochet pattern reading may be an activity which impedes the disintegration of brain cells, and thus worth persevering with, (even if I have just ended a sentence with a preposition).

I made crocheted dresses for my daughters, ponchos, many shawls, jackets and odds and sods. The dresses were very pretty, I thought. Much time was devoted in the days when my first husband worked for one of the Federal ministers, and thus was absent from dawn to midnight. It felt good to be making something, and to be using my hands. Wool shops abounded, with many gorgeous yarns. I bought patterns, specialist magazines such as Mon Tricot, and any crochet book that I happened to find. Then all of sudden crochet fell right out of fashion, wool shops closed, people stopped knitting and life as we knew it changed. Just like that! It got to the stage where finding a complete range of colours for the granny squares rugs became a feat for the crocheting Hercules.

 Much of the wool is still in my cupboards, mothballs and all, waiting for inspiration to strike. I have a a lovely book by Sylvia Cosh, from which I made a most ornate and multi-coloured jacket, (but unfortunately made it rather too long, and these days it does not go all the way around my body). It is made of mohair, which is rather too warm a yarn for this climate, but I fantasise about making another (larger and shorter) version. I used to take the crochet to work. In those relaxed days we had morning tea, and could get a bit done there, and it was not frowned upon to take handiwork to meetings. Those were the days, eh!

Vixen visited this morning. We had the usual conversational pattern. Boring. Identical to that of the last visit.  I  fetched the crochet and worked on it, perhaps sending out the subliminal message about the essential tedium of the discourse, that the crochet pattern is much more interesting, and far more intellectually challenging than the conversation. Miaow.

And while watching the tennis (the Australian Open is on and getting very exciting) I can get quite a lot done. This shells pattern advances quickly, despite all the unravelling.

I wish I could as easily unravel parts of my life, and finally get the pattern right.


SoulDragon said...

Hi again

I've done a bit of crocheting in my time - I haven't done the shell pattern for a time. Very deep about unraveling our lives and getting the pattern right,I find looking back as licorice allsorts - different colours and widths. Yes, some of it we may regret, but it serves to strengthen us: this, at any rate, is what I have found.

I feel what I am going through now and what has been going on in my life across the last 2 or 3 years, has been difficult but my lot as it is. Some bits I definitely would have like to unravel!

Anonymous said...

I crochet - but not knit. I am a perfectionist, and find myself unraveling more than ravelling, if that makes any sense. (Which is why I don;t do it as much as I probably should, learning to live with my imperfections is an ongoing issue...)

VioletSky said...

I have never done any knitting or crocheting, bu my mother kept it up even after she went blind (with much unravelling!)

Your last sentence brought a lump to my throat.