So for ages now I've been planning on getting into crochet. In fact I had been declaring so to my boss repeatedly for months. At first she agreed with me as she also wanted to get back into it and got her mother-in-law to re-teach her the ropes. I, however, have been slower off the starting block.
I thought getting into crochet would be good for a few reasons. The main one being that I don't really have the ability to create knitwear for myself, and being that I don't buy new clothes, knitwear acquisition has been a problem for me for a few years as my old previously shop-bought knit items have slowly died and been decomissioned. A couple of years ago I got to grips with my overlocker and stretch and knit fabric bought on the roll and made myself a couple items (a cardigan and a jumper). But since then I have chosen to stop buying new fabric as well, so I've been trying to make knitwear by remaking and altering existing secondhand knitwear garments (like this, this and this) or sweatshirts (like this and this). For all other knitwear items I've been at the mercy of the charity shops.
But I thought that by learning to crochet (I'm not quite up to introducing knitting into my life) I'll be able to made some toasty-warm garments that have a different look and perform different wardrobe roles than my remakes currently are. I would be creating the very fabric of a creation too, rather than only a creation from fabric. Also, adding a new skill/activity to my life (other than sewing, drinking wine and planning adventures that I can't afford) might be fun. I thought it might an excellent Winter sofa-bound creative activity, or even one I could take to do elsewhere, maybe with friends.
The idea was to get super-good over the Winter, figure out how to get hold of secondhand wool so I don't have to compromise my 'not-buying-new-stuff' ethos, and eventually be cranking out incredible garments like the cardigan pictured above. So I procured some secondhand crochet hooks (thanks Mum and Sophie) in a variety of sizes. Next I guessed correctly that a knitting enthusiast would have a stash of unused wool akin to a sewer's stash of fabric, so cheekily asked my friend Michelle to flow me a ball or two to practice with before I launched myself in any further which she did willingly (thanks Michelle). I also joined Ravelry.com (which is where I found the cardigan pictured above), which I had heard on good authority was like a knitter's and crocheter's Burdastyle, to soak up some inspiration. Many of the creations on there are off the hook (pun intended). I also got hold of a print-out about different stitches from the Brighton Mini Maker Faire, which I have annoyingly temporarily mislaid.
Well, as you can imagine, all this garnering of items, inspiration and the like took a while. But just as I felt it was all falling into place, I came home one day to find that my exciting foray into crochet has been hijacked by Patty (Mr 'So, Zo...') before I've so much as made my first stitch! Can you BELIEVE the cheek of it?! I scarcely can. PLUS he's now developed an obsession for it: the kind of deep 'hours-slip-by-unnoticed' type of obsession that I believe men are far more susceptible to contracting than women (the latter being far more capable of participating in more than one activity at any one time). So, over the last week or so, whilst I've pottering around the living room doing some sewing and trying to discuss what we should have for dinner, Pat has been glued to Amigurumi pattern blogs and swearing at crochet-stitch You Tube videos for them to 'slow the f*^k down'. This is my new reality.
(Pictured above, Patty on a train journey coming back from London this weekend. In case you are wondering what is in his mouth, it's a safety pin that he had been using to hold his stitch, or something.) Don't get me wrong, I'm all for dudes getting involved in this kind of activity. I'm really happy that traditional gender stereotypes have not put him off developing a new skill and enjoying a new hobby. I'm also really glad that he is doing something that takes him away from a computer screen (some of the time). But what pisses me off is that A) I was really looking forward to becoming a crocheter and I feel that, now someone else in the room is already better than me, that there is an element of discovery tha now will not be there, and that B) I can now never find my thread cutters or wool needle (which I use for poking the loose tails of overlocking threads away to neaten my work). Oh, and C) he is making the wierdest, freakiest looking things you ever did see:
This thing spooks me out, especially when it stares at me with its little yellow eyes whilst I eat my breakfast.