It is July 2014 and we are at my brother in law’s annual summer BBQ. As day turns into night my sister in law brings out a blanket she is crocheting for a friend’s new baby. This is a surprise as I associated crochet and knitting as pastimes of someone like my Grandmother in law (who in fact did crochet until she was in her early 90s); not a young 30-something woman with a full-time job and busy social life.
Intrigued by her work I ask who taught her. YouTube videos – the blanket is her first crochet project. The colours are soft and inviting. The yarn feels unexpectedly silky to the touch. The pattern looks vintage but with a modern twist. I remember the 1980s cheap acrylic sweaters in lurid colours that felt awful on and looked even worse. I had no idea acrylic yarn could be so luscious and be made into a thing of such beauty. If my sister in law can do this, then maybe I can too! In that moment, a door to a whole new world revealed itself.
Months later, images of crochet puff flowers appear in my Facebook feed. Thinking they would make a darling scarf for my 9-year-old daughter I search YouTube. I did crochet something once when I was 15 years old, how hard could this flower be? I still had my original hook and it was about the right size.
Off to a department store haberdashery where I buy balls of yarn in 7 different colours. I have chosen to forget how much I spent.
My hands remember how to hold the yarn and hook even though it has been over 30 years since I last crocheted.
3 hours, numerous muttered expletives and countless video rewinds later, I finally achieve the Magic Circle and complete a puff flower. I felt victorious. I sat for another couple of hours crocheting one after another, each flower slightly more improved than the last.
I learned from this early project that when something isn’t working, not to give in. Try to find a work around. The method the tutorial showed for holding the circle while crocheting into it the required number of stitches was way too fiddly for me – the circle kept falling apart. I changed how I held the circle so that I could add the stitches without it coming apart. I now do the Magic Circle with relative ease and is my go to when working in the round.
The puff flowers never did make it into a scarf though I did start putting it together. I didn’t like how it was looking so I put it away. In 2017 I rediscovered the puff flower scarf experiment – now the puff flowers are a cheery bunting for my daughter’s bed. 😊