Friday, April 26, 2013

More Lessons from Yarn

I keep learning from these crocheting projects! 

After I finished my first real "clothing" project (a hat) which turned out to be too small for an adult, I donated it to a local charity for a yard sale they had coming up. So ... it went to a good cause, and I learned a whole passel of stuff.

I decided to try again. This time, I had some black yarn I'd picked up at a local craft shop. Applying the lessons I learned from my previous project (see my previous post) I took my time, relaxed my grip, unraveled when I made a mistake, and trusted the pattern. 

I'm about half-way through and it's looking fairly good so far. However, I have learned even more from my second than my first, especially because I used black yarn.

Black yarn is harder to work with than ... say ... pink. It's DARK!

So, here are the things I've learned from crocheted (crow shade) work (yes, I know it's a very old, very bad joke!)

Increase the contrast
Use a hook that will contrast well against the color you're using. This helps you to see where the stitches are on the hook and will prevent you from messing up the stitches. 

It helps to have a guide like that, to be sure of where you are and where you want to go. The backdrop of a clear vision of what you really want to do is the starting place for accomplishing it. 

Try not to get discouraged
Sometimes the mistakes look hopeless. Taking your time with it, finding out where it went wrong, and having a little patience to work your way back to the blunder can take extra time, but it is worth it if it results in a successful piece. Setting it down for a little while can help recharge the batteries and give fresh perspective.

In our dealings with those who are closest to us, sometimes we think too many mistakes have taken place on both sides. However, it's worth the extra time that it takes to ferret out what went wrong, deal with it honestly, and work it through (individually or together) without succumbing to the tendency to have a chip on our shoulder.

If it's stuck, it's stuck
Backtracking can sometimes only go so far; at times there has been a hanger-on that has caused a tangle beyond which it's impossible to go. The tighter you pull, the tighter the knot gets. At such a time, the choice remains to go with it the way it is, or cut the yarn and start over from scratch. Either way, it is what it is and all you can do is accept it.

Some things can be lived with. And, like it or not, some things aren't fixable and it's time to say goodbye. True in crocheting, true in relationships or circumstances. It does no good to get upset about it - accepting the situation as it is, is the only way to relieve the stress and find some peace.

Turn on the light
Making it easy on yourself is sometimes no more complicated than reaching up and turning on a light so you can see where to go next, count stitches to find out where you've been, or do a row count to make sure you're on the right part of the pattern. It's a great way to orient yourself and get a general idea of where you are.

At times, in relationships, it helps to clarify the rules, to shed light on expectations and let each other know where we stand. It's so easy to "coast" in relationships with those we love or with whom we work or volunteer. Checking to see if we're playing by the rules, taking each other for granted, or crossing boundaries that are better not crossed, is a wonderful exercise to do once in a while.

It keeps us from perpetuating errors that can destroy relationships. 

Go by feel
Sometimes, given the difficulty of knowing where the next stitch is (especially with dark-colored yarn) the only thing left to do is to "go by feel" - to follow the stitches with your fingers, even poking around in behind stitches to find the right opening. 

That's okay. Sometimes the feeling can give clues and cues that your eyes can't. Learn to work with it, to recognize what the stitches feel like. Then you can trust your sense of touch to guide you as well.

Feelings can sometimes be the only thing we have to go by in relationships; if the feelings are uncomfortable, it's a pretty safe bet that boundaries are being crossed and it might be a good idea to figure out what is going on and where things have gone astray. After a while you can even trust your feelings - contrary to popular belief.


Those are the most recent object lessons from the world of crochet. I'm sure there will be more. All I can do is keep my eyes and ears open, and trust my feelings.

I could do worse. ♥  

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