I’ve been finding myself becoming obsessed. Every evening my hands ache for a project to work on, something to crochet, the urge to improve my knitting. I want to finger different yarns, get a feel for the fibres, marvel at the colours. I want to make beautiful things.

Unfortunately, good yarn is expensive, and at the moment I have to be frugal. Now that I’ve gotten a feel for natural fibres, I can’t go back to synthetic. Acrylic feels too coarse, too stiff, too unworkable. Too unpleasant. It’s nothing like those natural fibres. How unfortunate it is to have tastes outside of one’s means!

To give a brief personal history, my mom taught me basic crochet when I was about six, and I made covers for coat hangers. My first attempt ended up looking very sloppy and didn’t even cover the entire hanger. I kept it clear up until this last January when I suddenly found myself homeless, so I’m mildly upset that I can’t include any pictures of it. The second hanger I made was better, and the third one was about as good as what my mom could do.

Fast forward to when I was a teenager, learning basic knitting as a church activity. That was when I discovered that I had a talent. Where the other girls were producing misshapen whatsits, my wash cloth came out square. All I did was transfer what I had learned about yarn as a kid, and the fact that I was working with two needles instead of one hook really didn’t seem to matter all that much.

A few years later when I was 20, I decided that I wanted to get serious about crochet. I was spending most of my evenings watching movies and chatting with a couple of friends on-line, with the only problem being that it would often take those friends somewhere around ten minutes to reply. I felt like I was wasting huge amounts of time by sitting there and not doing anything. So, I bought myself some hooks and yarn, pulled up crochet patterns on-line, found a directory of the terms and written descriptions of how to do the stitches, and began the frustrating process of trial and error.

I remember that it took me a painfully long time to figure out that first pattern. I used to sit out on the deck, enjoying the autumn air as I mused over the possible interpretations for that confusing mess of abbreviations, straining for any sort of breakthrough. When I finally got it right, I felt pretty elated. I had done it!

Then I had to go through the same process with the second pattern.

Experience has taught me that most patterns are poorly written, so these days I tend to value clarity of the instructions more than the design.

When I finally felt confident, I started making my Angel Afghan. Those evenings in front of the TV with my crocheting felt pretty damn good, and I thought that the Caron Simply Soft brand was worlds better than that Red Heart stuff I had learned with. So cute, so naive.

Then the disaster known as my family reared its ugly head, and everything in my life was put on hold for a long, long time. But that’s a different story.