This is a current project, one I am not sure I will be able to complete before we leave for the Philippines.
I am making it up as I go along because any pattern for what I want looks too tedious and complicated for my level of understanding. This means I can’t tell you yet what I am making.
I started out with a dragon in mind. For a little while, the dragon looked most like a bear to me, so I decided I was making a bear.
It’s probably best that it not become a dragon, anyway, I thought, because if I make one, I will have to make two, and I am not sure I can ever do this again.
And then for a few rounds it looked rather discouragingly like a colourful and somewhat lopsided wine jug potted by a hippie experimenting in pottery for the first time. But I kept going.
At this point, I might try and make it a horse or a seahorse, or I could even return to the dragon idea and see what happens next, and whatever I think I have decided on, the crochet sculpture results will have me changing my mind a few times.
Kind of like life.
In order to make the curve necessary for the neck, to create the slight upward slope of the face, which is slightly more pronounced than the downward slope of the jaw and throat, it’s a matter of increasing here, and decreasing on the opposite side.
Kind of like life.
When you increase, you crochet two loops through the same stitch- increasing the number of chains or loops in just that area. Most projects I have done are increased evenly. You start with a circle of 6 stitches, then make two stitches in each loop around so you have 12 stitches, then alternate, one normal stitch, 2 stitches in the same loop so you have 18 stitches in your circle, and so on. Don’t worry if you can’t follow this or you are appalled by my base understanding. This is going somewhere else and generalities are sufficient.
When you decrease you stitch two loops together (there are two ways I know of to do this and it’s not important what they are). For the gradual decrease in size necessary to close a ball shaped amigurumi (like an octopus), you do this evenly, making, for instance, 3 or 4 regular crochet stitches, one in each loop, then doing two of them together in a single loop. When you’ve gone around the circle in this pattern, you decrease the regular crochet stitches by one. The rate of curve in your circle will be determined by how evenly you do this, and you could also stretch out the curve, flattening it a bit, but crocheting more than one ring in your circle using the same pattern (1 decrease stitch, 4 regular stitches, for two or three rows, etc).
I gradually figured this out by crocheting things like a octupus, turtles, pumpkins, and attempting a hedgehog from this book, free for Kindle, a collection of a baker’s dozen of crochet patterns of things to make for a baby.I had no idea what I was doing, why things turned out the way they did, or how to make them happen the way I wanted. Mostly, this is still true. However, as I practiced making the same thing over, as I repeated the same steps and paid closer attention to the connection between what I did and the results, I began to understand the process better, and as I understood more, my ability to deliberately influence the process to make the results mine improved.
Kind of like life.
I am by no means an expert on crocheting or life, nor do I wish the responsibility of posing as one. But I have a lot of experience on being inept and clumsy. I have a lot of experience learning things the hard way, on living a messy life full of mistakes. And trying to incorporate those mistakes into something that looks like a plan is something of a specialty of mine.
Many of my crochet projects begin by me intending to make one thing, and end with me having failed to create that one thing, but having succeeded in making something totally different. Life is like that, too. I began college intending to be teacher in a school for the Deaf. I never did that, and I never would have been good at it. Instead, I used my small Sign Language skills with the nonverbal Cherub when we adopted her years later, and to make friends with a deaf lady at church years later still. I never intended to spend any time in formal missions, where our income depended on fund raising. Yet here we are. I grew up and spent the first 20 years of adulthood yearning to visit England. Instead, I spent five years in Japan, visited two other Asian countries, hosting Japanese exchange students, developed a keen interest in Asian culture and language, and now, as grandparents, we are putting our American lives on hold while we move to the Philippines for 2 years.
Things don’t turn out the way you thought you would in life, but you make do and carry on.
When my crochet projects seem to be going awry, I look at them and try to think flexibly. What does it look like it could be? What can you do with what you have?
When I needed the neck to slope down one direction, or a round project seems to be going off center, I increase stitches on one side and decrease them on the other. When something in your life isn’t working well for you, you don’t just look at what’s going awry to fix it. Look at what does go well for you, and try to do more of that, and less of what seems to go into the ‘fail’ side of things. To do that, you have to take some time examining what you are doing and thinking about the steps along the way that add up to your results.
You need to do something else, too. You can’t armchair it. You have to do more than read about it, study it, and watch youtube videos about improving your ….. whatever- tennis serve, crochet skills, cooking skills, Korean language, writing, organization, school schedule, LIFE. You have to do, and you have to make a lot of mistakes in the process.