21 March 2012

The beginner's mind

When was the last time you learned something new?
I can't say that I have learned anything new, that I've never, ever tried before, for quite some time.

However, we have some tenacious people in our office, and Jane is one of them. Determined in her belief that she could turn my disinterest in knitting and sewing into enthusiasm, she has been chipping away, day by day.  With the lure of a little bag for my stuff, a 'how to' guide and some wool, she finally got a crochet stick* in my hand.


I have always been challenged by sewing, knitting and anything of that ilk.  To be quite frank, I'm rubbish at it.  Crochet was no different.  Frustration followed.  I found an apparently simple process unbelievably difficult.  I don't like to give in though, and I persevered.  After a couple of lessons, I got the hang of the chain stitch, which I then forgot how to do, overnight in my sleep.  Today I learned the 'double'.

I have a problem with tension - how ironic.
In my lunchbreak I created something in pink which resembled a shrimp.  Let loose at home on my own this evening, I have crocheted a croissant...


Both of these things are supposed to be rectangular.  But, and this is an important but, I'm actually really enjoying it.

Even though I'm no good at it, I find the repetition relaxing.  I could sit and make chains for ages, because the truth is, I'm simply enjoying learning something I have never, ever done before.  Crochet has taken my competitive nature and thrown it out the window.  I'm enjoying being a beginner at something.  If I make a mistake, it doesn't matter.  If I want to suddenly choose a different yarn or a different stick size, it doesn't matter, because I'm just practising.  If I ask stupid questions, it doesn't matter. I'm enjoying learning slowly, with an enthusiastic teacher.  Sometimes being bad at something is good!

*I apologise to the crafters who read this blog - of course I know it's a hook and not a stick. It started out as a joke and the stick stuck.  And yes, I know my crochet is really bad... I'm just not bothered yet.

23 comments:

  1. Lol!!! I nearly choked on your shrimp, Dan! I e love to crochet and I'm not very good at it either-- only know one stitch.
    I'm very bad for buying yarn that just sits in the closet in a plastic bag. Oh! The pretty couloirs lure me every time!

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    1. Hi Kat
      To be fair, I only started learning on Monday. I would like to have a go at making an actual item at some point. I did wonder about the 'couloirs'. I haven't really shopped for any yarns yet. I think I need to improve a bit first! I can imagine it's fun to choose them though.
      Dan
      -x-

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  2. With practice, your shrimp and croissants will become rectangles ... but that's not the point. I crochet and knit because they are mindless and relaxing. The product is totally secondary.

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  3. Keep up the good work Dan, as you say the most important thing is you are ENJOYING it!
    I tried to teach out daughter how to crochet over the Christmas break, she's really brilliant at most crafts but was first to admit that crochet is not one of them - she didn't enjoy it either though.
    Hope the cottage is coming along well.
    Rose H
    x

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    1. A cottage update is coming soon Rose!
      Dan
      -x-

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  4. I've tried knitting and crocheting and can not get my fingers to do wht my mind wants.
    I am in awe of the knitting ladies who just whip out the yarn and will knit up anything on the spot.
    I love that you went home and crochet a croissant I am impressed !
    I am trying to learn Japanese, does that count ?

    cheers, parsnip

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  5. Hi Dan,

    Well done for trying :)
    I have a feeling you will eventually go forward on this one.

    I loathe sewing, to such a degree I try to ignore buttons that fall off shirts etc......BUT, at Christmas Poppi was given a craft kit(how to make a princess).
    Nanna, can you make this princess for me.
    My first reaction was 'oh my goodness, my worst nightmare'
    I heard myself saying Yes, of course, Poppi.
    Do you know Dan, it took me days to complete but complete it I did.
    I did not enjoy it, but to see the smile on Poppi's little face was wonderful.

    Won't be doing it again though :)

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    1. Hi Cheryl - that made me chuckle, as I remember you mentioning how much you disliked sewing. Poppi must have been so pleased with her princess.
      Not sure if crochet is a 'goer' or not, as I'm sure at some point you have sew the pieces together, but maybe sewing with wool is more enjoyable than thread.
      Dan
      -x-

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  6. Hey - a lot of very talented people are trying to create crochet patterns that look like food. You're a natural, Dan! :)
    Hope you're enjoying a beautiful spring.
    Hugs,
    Zuzu

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    1. Ha ha! I don't know why they curl like that! I did manage to make a small piece last night that stayed flat though, so I'm making progress.
      Spring has certainly sprung in the UK! Has your snow gone now, Zuzu?
      Dan
      -x-

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  7. I love crocheting though I'm not very good at it and stick to simple projects, if things don't turn out exactly right that's ok, I'm not perfect either.

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    1. I'm an absolute beginner, but given my complete aversion to knitting and sewing, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed crochet. You're right, it doesn't have to be perfect as long as you enjoy it.
      Dan
      -x-

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  8. Oooo hoo, you made me laugh... Shrimp and croissants... I see our sewing skills are very similar. I can make granny squares, with more than four corners pretty good! (the others are more lumps than corners...) It's wonderful that you are embracing the learning something new! Can't wait to see what you serve up next! :)))

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    1. Hi Mel, well Jane has given me some bright green and cream yarns, so perhaps a green banana and an uncooked croissant next. At least you can do granny squares, even if they are not exactly square.
      Dan
      -x-

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  9. You might make your fortune selling crochet-shrimp! Btw, what the heck are couloirs? Me, texting!

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  10. Dan I am one VERY proud "teacher" xxx

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    1. And so you should be, no one has got me near yarns for over 20 years, let alone have the patience to actually show me how to do it properly!
      Huge hugs
      Dan
      -x-

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    2. Oh Dan just read your comment, you are so welcome xxxxxx

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  11. Hi Dan, I enjoyed this :-) A friend taught me to crochet years ago. I used to make those big colourful blankets made up of lots of different colours. I found it really relaxing and if memory serves me right there was no sewing involved at all. I also like tapestry and knitting but am no expert on either, it is the soothing repetition that I find relaxing...BUT I have a major problem...lots of things never get finished :-( Most of my craft projects sit waiting for me to be in the mood again. In my own defence though, it didn't help when I had trouble with my eyes and I got out of the habit. Going back to the subject of crochet...I have completely forgotten how to do it!! I tried a while ago and just cannot remember and looking at books doesn't help, I need to be shown. Oh well, maybe I ought to finish some of that knitting and tapestry instead ;-)

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  12. Hi Jan
    Oh that's good news on the sewing bit! Yes, I guess the eye problem would have been a major issue, and I find if I drop out of the habit of doing something, it seems to be doubly hard to get back into it again.
    I find the diagrams in books confusing too, but there are some great video instructions on YouTube. Jane showed me a couple last week, and they're really useful! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqca00LdmAc
    They are American though, and Jane has shown me the American way to crochet. I think the UK method may be a little different, if that's what you've done before.
    Dan
    -x-

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  13. Hi again, Dan. To answer your questions...

    The apple pie recipe has:
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    10 cups 1/4" sliced apples

    And you asked if we felt daunted with the cottage-building project? Yes. Absolutely! But once we started looking at it as a string of small projects instead of one large one, it became easier. We were lucky, because my parents had built two homes. They sent us the house plans that my mom drew back in 1952 which helped answer my questions on how to draw up ours - and they were available via phone every step of the way offering ideas and support. The county building department and salespeople at the building supply stores were also very helpful. We still have finishing work to do inside - floor coverings and more cabinets, but we can work on those projects after we've saved up.

    Your home is coming along beautifully. When you are in the middle of building or restoration, it can seem like it will never end, but one day you too will be sitting around with that smile on your face, thinking ~ we did this!

    Wishing you a great weekend,
    ~ Zuzu

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  14. I love crochet now, in my own limited way, and agree totally about the joy of learning something new. We get older and we get stuck. It is great to be a beginner again!

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  15. Aha, someone got to you before I did!! I must admit I can only crochet a "granny square" because you go in circles. I can't do a rectangle back and forth to save my life. But knitting..........we'll have you onto that in no time!!

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