Feature photo by carbonnyc

Growing up, doilies were the go-to decor item in my parents house. Every flat surface in our home was covered by some sort of crocheted masterpiece made by one of my tias in Mexico. The tops of coffee tables, Longaberger baskets, kitchen and dining room tables and even the big stereo speakers in the living room were adorned with these intricate works of art.

So when it came time to try another hobby, I thought I should give crocheting a try. I figured, if all of my aunts were so good at it, I must have inherited some sort of expert needlework gene that would allow me to just pick it up naturally. I was so wrong. It’s hard to admit this, but for the first time I had been out-crafted. Ah, it feels so much better to say that out loud.

I mean, I like to think I’m smart enough, I’m crafty enough (and doggone it, people like me) but when I browsed through a few of the how-to books at the craft store, I was baffled. Even the most beginner of books used terms that were completely foreign to me. Yarn over, slip stitches, gauge, chains – these words were new and scary and to make it worse they were all abbreviated to two letters in the patterns I tried to decipher. I confused myself every time I was supposed to “yarn over” because in my head I kept reading it as “Yo, 5 stitches son!” I had only one choice if I wanted to even start to attempt a crochet project; I had to take this digital.

There were a plethora of YouTube tutorials but even as I watched the masters explain how to create a starting chain (I finally understood it to be the base for each project), I still had trouble grasping the varieties of stitches I needed for some of the scarf patterns I had found. Frustrated, I decided I just wouldn’t follow a pattern at all. I would make myself a stylish skinny scarf using the single crochet stitch, not because I thought it would look cool, but because the single crochet stitch was the only one I managed to figure out, and the skinnier it was, the fewer stitches I’d have to make across the piece.

At the time of writing this, I am only about 3 good days of crocheting time into my scarf. It’s a little sloppy but I have to say I’m somewhat proud of myself. Sure there are a few lumps, and the end I’m working on now is a little wider then the end I started on, but it actually resembles a scarf. I still have a lot to learn when it comes to the art of crocheting, but now that I actually have something I’ve made that I can hold in my hands, I feel a little more encouraged. I think the best way for me to learn is the way I’m sure my aunts did back on the ranch in Mexico: by someone sitting beside me, showing me what they know and sharing their art. I guess this means my next stop is a knitting circle, if I ever want to make anything more than a lumpy scarf.

Got a freakin’ hobby that you’ve been meaning to try? Let Gozamos’ resident hobby guinea pig give it a test run for you! Email Melissa at melissa@gozamos.com or leave your suggestions on Gozamos’ Facebook wall.

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