So, just over a week ago, I spent a very happy afternoon in the company of the green gal, learning to crochet. It took several YouTube clips, a bit of patience and lots of peering over each other's hooks to see where we'd gone wrong, but by the time she left, we'd both managed to churn out the centre part of a granny square. As a lifelong non-knitter (I learned to do it when I was five and have never improved), I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it, and by how different it is to knitting. With the hardest part done, I finished up the square, started on another straight away and have a growing stack sitting on my desk, ready to be stitched together into a scarf for my grandma. Appropriately enough.
They're far from perfect, and I'm just using what yarn I have at the moment, but the fact I can whip one up in around 30 minutes, and without needing to check back on the pattern is highly satisfying. So far, I prefer them in solid colours, although I suspect this might change when I get some fresh wool. Despite the pretty colour combinations, I have learned that different weights and thicknesses of yarn do not make for good-looking grannies.
My favourite square so far was an experiment (not for the scarf - however unconventional she is, I'm not sure silver lurex thread is quite my grandma's thing) - a really soft, silver-grey cotton yarn, with a single row of silver round the outside. I'm not sure what to do with this yet, although am thinking of making a few more and maybe turning them into a neck-warmer, or possibly adding some linen and making a cushion.
If you have similar learn-to-crochet plans, I found this post on the Red Velvet blog really useful, especially the YouTube links near the bottom. Videos, for me, have made all the difference - watching someone (and being able to rewind, re-watch and pause a hundred times over) makes much more sense of the process than reading instructions or even looking at step-by-step photographs. Once the scarf is done, I'm planning to start a blanket, as well as learning more stitches, so I can (hopefully) read patterns before too long. It's daunting, but very exciting to be learning something new and quite alien to my paper and fabric-loving mind.
If you're already a crochet whiz (or a knitter) I have a quick question for you. A few weeks ago, I bought some really gorgeous Rowan yarn from Liberty. I can't find the tag, but it's cotton, very soft and beautifully dyed (I used it to make the apple-green square above). Clearly, such shops aren't the place for snapping up a bargain (this ball was £5), but is there anywhere you can recommend, either online or on the high street, for buying equally wonderful yarn at prices that won't melt my debit card? Any and all suggestions gratefully received.
For now, though, I am off to admire the thick and very lovely blanket of snow outside. However stressful the rest of the season may be, it's pretty much made my Christmas.