Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Crochet and things

Lots of things have happened between my last post and now but rather than try to smush all of my life events into a rushed paragraph, let's talk about crocheting stuff.

I've never been much for crafty activities.  I like painting and drawing and ceramics. I'm an artistically inclined person but I just don't like crafts such as scrapbooking, modge podge and taking tiny beads and stringing them together to form jewelry.  I feel like most of the female people I talk to on any given day like at least one craft related activity that has never even flickered a speck of interest in me.  But the one thing that makes me even mildly interested in crochet is I love random character/critter themed knitwear and so do my kids.  Not that I would wear a pig shaped hat but my kids think it's hilarious and amazing.  Plus for some reason people all around me seem to be doing it and I'm starting to wonder what's so great about it.  A SAHM down the street sells her crochet goods on etsy.  Charlie's best friend's mom crochets all kinds of odds and ends.  Even my own Kim crochets and apparently never shared this activity with me.

Anyway, having been one of those sad souls who dropped $30ish on a handmade crochet hat for Deuce I know that the markup is kind of ridiculous to compensate for the fact that buying fiber isn't cheap.  I can buy a knit beanie for like...$3, less if I'm clearance shopping and patient.  If I MAKE a hat I drop at least $6 on just one skein of yarn and that's not including the fact that many hat designs require more colors (thus more skeins) and buttons as accent points.  Plus you have to have the right hook for the right yarn plus tapestry needles to sew in all the ends.  It becomes more expensive to make it than it does to allow economy of scale to work it's magic and just hand over $3 plus tax to Target or whatever.  Add into this the fact that my mother (bless her heart because she's a really wonderful person) is stone cold about any sort of object related sentimentality.  When I mentioned in passing maybe making a baby blanket one day for my cousin she basically said why even bother wasting the time and effort when I can buy one for less hassle.  If you ever wonder why I am the way I am (points arrow in direction of mother).  Anyway, she's obviously not a source of support on this particular front.  I kind of liken it to the whole nursing thing.  If you have support in what you choose to do it makes it easier to move along with it because you know you have a support system in place.  Can you just do whatever you want to do? Of course you can but it just takes a bit more force to get yourself moving.

So why even bother on this money wasting venture that my mother spits upon?  In part, you are staring at it right now.  I spend 8 hours in front of a computer at work every day. I spent an atrocious amount of time on my smartphone now that I've had the Kool-aid and can not function without it.  I am always plugged in and I think it's a disease in a way.  It makes me more aware of others and less aware of myself and as a classic introvert I am expending a lot of energy trying to appear like a normal human anyway.  I need to keep something saved away for myself.  Plus in an actual piece of news, Trev and I went to Grenada for his dear friend Tyler's destination wedding and while yes there was internet available I thought it was nice to be more removed from being plugged in.  I'm sure the 80 degree perfect weather and sunshine helped a lot too.  I'm so happy I got married ages ago.  The stakes keep getting higher and higher.  You feel pressured to not only have the photo booth, but also the candy buffet and the flip flops for guests and the customized favors along with signature drinks.  How do you ever cut the budget?  How many favors do people even need to walk away with?

Anyway, not wanting to risk dealing with the TSA ripping all my stuff apart and taking my one lonely hook away I didn't venture with any crochet work while on vacation but I kept thinking about how great it would be if I knew how to do it.  I had long stretches of time to myself without bouncing children creating large knots in everything and no pressure or desire to be working on an excel spreadsheet so why not be creating something?  And since bringing paints and canvas and brushes is even MORE tedious painting didn't seem like a good alternative.  Maybe that's why people are so into that adult coloring lately.  We're just like, strangely prewired to want to create SOMEthing.  Sure you may not have the talent of DaVinci but you can throw some pencils in your hands and pretend that you are the master of pretty random swirly mandala things.

I made myself a hat from yarn that's been bouncing around my house for 5 years.  After said "success" with ancient not-high-quality yarn I then decided to make my son a silly themed hat, so with almost no tools and very minimal practice I made him a hat too and he seems to really like it though to be fair his expectations are very low.  I think this is key for a amateur, have a demographic that is super excited and open to your creations even if you are not doing a perfect job yet with controlling your yarn tension.  After this I had to make Deuce a hat too to be fair.  He was more receptive to his than my big boy.  Probably because it's something that has a theme that ties into his backpack and favorite bath towel.  The kid is particular but if you tap into the things he likes he's very enthusiastic.

I have no interest in making pot holders or pot scrubbers or afghans plus I personally have like 30 normal knit scarves so I don't anticipate any desire or need in that department.  I think every Christmas for several years I've either bought myself or been gifted one.  I'd make them for my husband or kids but none of them seem to enjoy material wrapped around their neck, probably because it makes you such an easy target for random strangling.  I have two boys so in case you are not in the same position, they are constantly grappling with one another.  Does it matter that one is 2 years younger? Not at all.  In fact I'd venture he fights dirtier than the big one.  My only current project desire/inspiration is just headwear.  Maybe some boot cuffs?  I don't really see the massive appeal of another accessory I have to coordinate to my clothes, hat, shoes, coat and purse but it seems like a quick project that expends very little yarn so I'll probably make them just to use up ends of skeins.  I hate being wasteful after all.  I don't often see normal people wearing them in the actual world I walk around in.  Sure I see it on pinterest or instagram but that's like the fake world where people always have beautiful  messy-on-purpose-hair, on fleek eyebrows and crock pot recipes look browned and roasty.  Maybe if you live in a cooler urban area than I do it's a thing but in the 'burbs I feel pretty overly fancy when I'm the only mom not rocking leggings and a tunic length shirt.

I actually bought a book kit thing to learn crochet but when I tried to read it it was pretty much gibberish to me because even the most basic concepts like a slipknot and a single crochet were greek.  All the shorthand they used made no sense at all so I learned from youtube and after repeated efforts I finally got it to work.  Thankfully unlike many other art projects you can very quickly revert a crochet project to it's original form with just a good yank at the string.  Why did I not pick knitting?  I don't know as many people who knit.  I have nothing against it I guess but I know even LESS about knitting than I do crochet and the two needles thing seemed kind of tedious.  Surely I would lose one.  I don't even understand how you'd make anything other than square or rectangular items from knitting, that's how ignorant I am of the most basic concepts.  I think I'd need an actual human teacher person to get me motivated for knitting.  Seems a tad fussier since you have to be careful not to drop your stitches and the few videos I watched made it seem like I needed far more than just two needles.

If for some reason I wanted to start making sweaters or mittens I'd need to learn to knit because it has far more give than crochet.  Crochet just doesn't stretch very much and the whole point is people probably want to get that sweater over their heads.

Is it changing the world? Of course not.  But there's a nice feeling in making something and finishing it to completion.  Would I say it's relaxing? For me? Not particularly.  I am probably too high strung though because I'm obsessively counting and recounting my stitches to make sure I'm on track.  Is there a fear of messing up?  If there is, I have that.