Because I don’t have enough hobbies

The DC Metro Yarn Crawl started this Saturday. I’ve been looking forward to it, both because I’ve never done a yarn crawl before (other than unofficial ones), and because of the 10 stores that are participating, I’ve only been to 3 of them before: fibre space in Alexandria, VA; Looped Yarn Works in DC; and The Yarn Spot in Wheaton, MD. I’ve only been to Looped Yarn Works once but loved the vibe and look forward to visiting again; I consider both fibre space and The Yarn Spot to be 2 of my LYSs (even if The Yarn Spot is in another state and a 45 min drive in good traffic).

So, that leaves Aylin’s Woolgatherer, Eleganza Yarns (which…I just might not make–Frederick, MD is a good bit further than Wheaton), In Stitches (and it’s funny I’ve never been there–they’re not that far!), Knit & Stitch = Bliss, A Tangled Skein, Uniquities (which I’ve heard a lot about), and Woolwinders (probably the furthest north I can manage).

And of course, I only managed 2 stores this weekend…fibre space and The Yarn Spot. But I still managed to do a decent amount of damage:

Metro Yarn Crawl Days 1 and 2

(All of that yarn is intended for current and future designs…so stay tuned…)

I did have a good excuse for not making it to many stores this weekend. On Saturday we had a birthday party–my “baby” boy turned 6 on Sunday!–and on Sunday, I had a class at The Yarn Spot, where I learned to do this:

First Crochet (3)

Oh, yes. Knitting, spinning, weaving, and designing weren’t enough…I had to learn how to crochet.

I’ve been wanting to learn to crochet for a while. I actually tried to learn while stuck in solitary–er, isolation at the hospital during my thyroid cancer treatment. I couldn’t take anything with me I wanted to keep, so I took some yarn I didn’t mind losing, a spare crochet hook, and a learn to knit/crochet book. During the 3 1/2 days I was locked up…er, in treatment, I got really good at chaining and even a couple of stitches. The problem came when I tried to start a 2nd row…there were no diagrams or explanations, just “Start the next row.” And I was stymied. Um…where did the hook go? Hopefully, the next person stuck in there had better luck with the yarn, hook, and book I left behind.

I found it a bit disheartening that I couldn’t get it to work; I’d learned to knit with a book, so I thought I’d be able to do the same with crochet. I also tried videos–I’ve learned various knitting techniques with videos–but they weren’t any better for me. Part of the problem is that I’d need to pause and rewind as I was working…and that would have required a 3rd hand I’m not equipped with.

So I’d been on the look out for a beginner’s crochet class for some time (after all, that cancer treatment was a year ago!), but every time I saw one at one of my LYS’s, it was either during the week or on a weekend we already had something planned. Finally, when The Yarn Spot’s last newsletter came out, I saw the class I could take and immediately signed up. It’s a 2-part class, and part 1 was this past Sunday.

As you can see above, I’ve already finished the first assignment:

First Crochet (1)

And I’m working on the second:

First Crochet (2)

Technically, they’re both coasters, but I’ve already promised them to Lexie as rugs for her dollhouse (they’re pink; she’s in love)…and she won’t mind that they’re both pretty wonky. Still, for only my 1st and 2nd crocheted items, I’m pretty pleased. I’m surprised at how quickly I’ve picked it up (although, like with my knitting when I started, I need to learn to loosen up!), which means that either crochet isn’t nearly as hard as I’d convinced myself that it was, or that my teacher, Jen of Jen’s Fiber Corner, one of The Yarn Spot’s regular instructors, is that good.

I’m guessing it’s a bit of both–I do, um, occasionally maybe get just a bit overdramatic about the difficulty of something I’ve never done before…and Jen’s an excellent teacher. By the time class was over I’d gotten well through the 1st project, and I’m finding that although I have work to do, I’m having trouble putting it down. I’m really enjoying it…and I’m looking forward to when I’m skilled enough to crochet something like this.

Maybe not for next class, though.

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5 Responses to Because I don’t have enough hobbies

  1. Maria says:

    That is an adorable pattern, but not something I’d feel confident enough to tackle and crocheting is my craft. But congratulations on learning, I will be looking forward to some Jen Johnson originals when you get to the designing part of crocheting.

    • Jen says:

      Well, while I tend to over-dramatize the difficulty of something I don’t know at all how to do…I also tend to be blindly optimistic about my abilities once I know just a little. There’s where a lot of my designs come from! So I’m not too intimidated by that dress. Yet. :-)

  2. JC says:

    They’re looking good! I’m so proud to see your progress!

    And, by the way, if you want to do the dress… well, I’ll get you next class to a place where you should know all the stitches. (I took a look) If not, you’ll be close.

  3. Deb Overath says:

    GO FOR IT!!! I learned to crochet and then to knit as a teenager — and thought (and still think) crochet is A LOT easier. I didn’t really get into knitting at all until late in grad school when someone could finally explain the difference between knit and purl in a way I could understand! ­čśë Now I just seem to knit and haven’t done any crochet in years — I use my crochet hooks to pick up stitches or put beads on my knitting.

  4. […] after failing to teach myself to crochet a year ago and finally taking a class, I found I was hooked (no pun intended). I opted to work up a washcloth for my final project, and […]