Crochet a Scarf

This is one of those things I anticipated I’d be a disaster. Beginning anything is a recipe for being bad at it, but crocheting is all about precision. You can tell when a novice crochets because there’s no uniformity. It’s all about consistent patterns and I am not.

All of my life I’ve been one of those people who is either ok at something from the get-go, or I’m not good and immediately give it up. It’s like the “struggle to get good” part of my motivation was never installed. Worse, I see the same inclination manifesting in my daughter. This list item is much more about trying to overcome the ‘self-edit’ part of me that results in just-started projects being tossed in the trash is a struggle. I mention that because I threw away the first few tries. I said I was TRYING to overcome my self-editing, not that I was good at it.

List Item: Crochet a Scarf

The history of this list item again originates from someone else. It was not something I came up with on my own. Instead, I was out with friends (it was actually just after Clay and I left the batting cages) and once again The List became part of the conversation. Becky, visiting from Tokyo suggested it. She’s a very talented costume maker and crafts person, so it was easy for me to smile and nod and immediately not want to try. But that seems like a good reason to move forward.

As with any project these days, I started by looking on youtube to find a good tutorial video. There are a lot out there, but I decided to heed the advice of BHooked because she goes into a lot of detail. The next thing I did was to take her suggestion to procure the correct size crochet hook. Then I immediately ignored her suggestion for yarn type. I first ordered a few skeins of a different brand/type yarn because I liked the look better. But when it arrive and I tried to start knitting, the loops were too thin and it was difficult to find where each thread was knotted. After a few attempts at a scarf, I decided to go back and order the brand/type of yarn BHooked was working with on her example scarf. Not wanting to call it a complete waste, I fashioned a *sweet* yarn bracelet.

Out of failure springs slightly less failure.

A couple false starts, but once the bulky yarn arrived, I was off to the races. Following BHooked’s instructions, I was able to get my first stitches along the length of a scarf.

Getting through first stitch length.

…and after a few hours spent here and there over the weekend, I was able to start on a second repeating section, using three stitch types alternating. Damn it if I wasn’t crocheting!

Sure, it looks like a dingy dreadlock, but it’s my dingy dreadlock.

I’m keenly aware that this will be a “first pancake” project. You know how when you make pancakes and the first one isn’t quite right? The grill isn’t quite the right temperature, you aren’t familiar with exactly how much will spread-out so the size is off, and not knowing the timing, you end up with one side overcooked and the other undercooked. First pancake isn’t pretty, but it usually tastes good anyway.

I’m not looking for perfection, but foundational knowledge. I’m happy that I’ve learned a few simple stitches and that it took shape. I was finding the process of crocheting to be rewarding. It takes concentration (it may eventually become more automatic, but right now I can get seriously confused if I get distracted midway through a double-stitch). About halfway done and I was looking forward to doing things I’d never tried: like switching to a new skein (which would be happening soon).

I ended-up doing 3-4 sessions of crocheting until I finished my first scarf project. Didn’t notice until the last couple rows, but I had been doing my return stitches along the wrong loop on one side, so one end came out diagonal. Shrug. First pancake.

Completing the second (of 5) row. You can see I’m working off the incorrect loop at the bottom.

The finished product looks… artisanal. It’s rough. It twists, has irregular density, and meanders, but damn it, it’s warm and soft. Some sheep got a haircut so that I could sit on my couch and focus on something beside TV for a few hours. Bless them. I am definitely going to do more crocheting. Looking forward to trying one on my own without having to consult a video.

Beer for scale
Crochet Life

Difficulty: Easy! Much easier than I’d imagined, yet clearly I’m far from being ‘good’. I have new-found respect for everyone’s grandma and their ability to crochet.

Lessons Learned:

  • Pre-conceived notions are anchors – If all you think about is how difficult something is, or how bad you’ll inevitably be, you’ll never start. That’s psychology 101. Or Dear Abby. One of the two.
  • Do your research – When I was a boy, the way you learned new things was to go to a library and find a book on the subject. I’m not good a learning from reading. I get physically angry at instruction manuals. Luckily there are now so many good learning tools online and that is a goldmine. Find the one that works for you. There are so many options.