The Knitwit

        I recently decided to learn to knit.  Or crochet.  I wasn't picky.  If it involved yarn and needles, I was willing to try it.  And let's be honest, I really couldn't tell the difference between the two.  

        We had planned a trip to visit family in Florida, and I knew it would be the perfect week to become a master knitter/crochet(-er?)/crafty woman.  There would be extra hands on deck to entertain Little A, and my sister from Minneapolis--Knitter Extraordinare--was also visiting.  Free lessons!  

        These days, every other woman I know seems to be fashioning knitted goods.  Etsy is saturated with kitschy online shops with names like "Bitchen' Stitchen'," "The Wicked Stitch," and "Smitten Knitten."  Friends on Facebook are pinning and re-pinning their favorite projects from Pintrest: mittens, baby hats, leg warmers.  So I'll admit, my outlook from the start was, How hard can this be?  

         The final push came when my sister Kelly brought a crocheted crocodile to Florida for Little A:

        It is the best use of yarn I have ever encountered.  I honestly don't think the baby is even aware that it belongs to her because I keep taking it places and treating it like my own acrylic pet.  I immediately knew I had to make something equally fabulous.  After pouring over Ravelry.com and several crochet pattern books, I decided my first projects would be an aviator hat for Little A and a stuffed snail for my new nephew.  

        "Maybe you should start with a pot holder or something simpler just to learn the stitches," my sister suggested after I announced my plans.  "These seem a little bit advanced for first projects."

        "Boooooooooriiinng!" I dismissed her.  "I want to go home at the end of the week with something cool."  

        "Okay, well maybe you should try just one cool thing instead of two.  That's a lot to accomplish in one week," she cautioned.

        "Maybe you should stop trying to crush my dreams," I replied.

        The following afternoon, we went to Michaels to pick up yarn and crochet hooks.  

        I will spare you the blow by blow of learning the initial stitches.  They are complex and confusingly named: the single crochet, the half double crochet, the cross treble stitch, the triple axle, the salchow jump, the pamchenko...you get the picture.  

        "I think you just chose a really difficult yarn to work with," my sister stated after I scrapped my third aviator hat attempt.  "Wool can be tricky.  Why don't you try mom's acrylic yarn and see if you can count the stitches better?"  I have to hand it to her: it was gracious maneuvering to blame the yarn instead of me.  We both knew that it was akin to handing someone a fountain pen and saying, "Now that we took care of that dumb mechanical pencil, you will write a much better essay," but I bit.  

        "You know," Kelly ventured later as I struggled to extricate my crochet hook from a hole that should not have existed in the first place, "I could just start the hat for you with the wool yarn.  The beginning is the trickiest part.  You could take over after that."

        "Sounds like a plan," I agreed.  "I'll just start my snail while you do that."

        So I received my the completed aviator hat in the mail the other day.  Like the crocodile, the strawberry hat, the quilt, the baby wash cloths, and all of the other beautiful things Kelly has made for Little A this past year, the aviator hat is perfection.  It is the crowning piece for Little A's Amelia Earhart Halloween costume next year.  When she is older, I will, of course, tell Little A that I made it because that is a far more nostalgic version of reality.  Just kidding.  I'll just crochet the little pilot scarf.  

        If we're really being honest here, I'll just pick up a white scarf at Goodwill.  

        Looking at this hat reminds me of my running list of Things I Believed I Could do Until I Tried.  Let's examine that:

        Were you wondering how my snail turned out?  It didn't.  My new nephew is getting a book instead.  (Not a book I wrote, of course.  See item #3 above.)  After an entire week of crafting with my sister, these are the final results:

        I know it must be terribly confusing who crocheted what, so I went ahead and labeled them for you.  I decided somewhere near the end of the week that I wanted to make a yamaka properly sized for a large fetus instead of an aviator hat, so in that regard, I succeeded.

        Below, you will see my sister's crocodile and what looks like a brown turd.  That is my snail.

        As soon as I get this whole crocheting thing under control, I'm sure I will be unstoppable.  Friends and family should expect a number of brown items, as I have a lot of brown wool yarn to burn through.

        In the meanwhile, I am going to go read up on baton twirling.  I hear it's pretty easy.



  1. Love it! I agree, crafting looks super cool...in theory. Think of all we could accomplish if we could get the ideas out of our head and into three dimensional space haha. I'm with you there. Lets start a time lapse youtube channel called "attempting greatness: one craft at a time". How I got from crafting to greatness... who knows? -MV

  2. The Youtube channel is a fabulous idea...except that people would keep hitting "refresh" on my time lapse video and wondering aloud why it appeared time wasn't lapsing. And then they would realize the truth: time lapsed; nothing I was attempting to do did.


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