Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A Hat for Mother

I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but in case I haven't (or you're new!) I'll recap:

When I first attended college in 2002, the only crafting to my name was some bead crafting.  I wouldn't even go so far as to call it jewelry, because it was really hit-and-miss.  Sometimes I finished a project; other times I just strung beads and never did anything with them.

My freshman year, I had a roommate who taught me how to knit.  I would take a skein of yarn and my needles to the language lab every week, to give my hands something to do while I listened to French conversations, songs, and news broadcasts.  It was slow going--I was making a blanket for my bestie (you know her as April) and one little square seemed to take forever.

Then I went home for some break (I fail to recall which) and my mother saw what I was attempting to do.

"Why aren't you crocheting?" she asked me.

I'm sure I must have stared at her, dumb-founded.  The obvious answer was that my roommate hadn't taught me crochet, she'd taught me knitting.

"If you crochet those squares, you can change color and make the blanket in strips," my mother continued.  "Then you can just sew the strips together."

Thus began my crochet career.  At first, my mother did all the crochet, while I was in charge of stitching the blanket strips together.  And she was right--she could crank out at least a strip a day, while I would labor over one simple square for three or four days.

And then she taught me how to crochet.  Mind you, it was a little more difficult for me to learn from her, because she is left-handed.

I started with scarves.  And chunky yarn.  (Not a bright idea.)  I progressed to color-block scarves, for friends who enjoyed Harry Potter.  At the time, I didn't know much about the significance of yarn weight or hook size.  I just wanted to give gifts that made people happy, and Gryffindor and Slytherin scarves did that.

After a short dalliance in the world of crochet, my craft focus moved on to other things, like hand-sewn teddy bears and serious jewelry-making.  Then it was t-shirt printing/stenciling, embroidery, and other things.

Finally, after April introduced me to the web comic Worsted for Wear, I discovered Ravelry and fast-forward to today.

All that to say: my mother is the one that taught me the basics of crochet.

When she and my father visited last month, she saw the Gaithersburg stole I was working on, and loved the cabled pattern.  She asked me to teach her to crochet.

How the tables have turned.

I think I probably stared at her again.  "But taught me to crochet."

I knew that somewhere in the back of her mind, she already knew the basics.  She might need to brush up on American crochet terms, but tension, chaining, and single crochet were not going to be a problem.

We started with a test swatch of the cabled pattern, so that we could establish the different stitches needed: slip stitch, single crochet, etc.

Then I knew she was ready to learn something a little different: amigurumi.

See, she said she wanted a hat that would cover her ears.  (The one I crocheted for her two Christmases ago was apparently not long enough.)  I handed her some red yarn and informed her that she knew all the stitches she needed to know in order to start a hat.  Through some explanation of circular construction and multiples of six, she made the base of the hat all by herself.

Unfortunately, she didn't have enough time during her visit to complete the final section of the hat: the cabled brim.  So she left that with me, and that's the project I share with you today:

Look at that beautiful single crochet!

I'll be bringing the hat with me when I visit New York for spring break this year, since it's unlikely I'll remember to mail it first!

Later this week, I'll get to tell you about the new Ravelry group I joined!  You Potterheads out there will get a kick out of it!

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