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Last Thursday, I did something I’d been thinking about for a while; I picked up a crochet hook and started crocheting. I found a video on YouTube and away I went, hooking yarn as if I’d done it all my life, spinning out hats and cowls and arm warmers and–

Oh wait, no.

It wasn’t quite that easy at all.

I’ve always had this notion in my head that I’d take up crochet, this mostly based around the Lone Crochet Hook that was always floating about the house. Of course when I decided I actually wanted to learn, that hook was nowhere to be found, so I bought a set. I did find a video on YouTube, and then I proceeded to make the tightest starting row of chains ever, because wow, I was gripping everything too hard, like I’d never crafted a thing in my life.

How do I–

Wait, go back.

How does that work–

Wait, go back.

How do I make my hands work together, I can’t even hold and yarn over and whoa I have to flip my work and–

Wait, go back.

There was a lot of this, my friend Jen talking me off the ledge in chat while I worked. She said something very illuminating though — that I hadn’t known how to write when I started making stories either; did I just expect to pick up crochet and know it immediately?

Some part of me said OH YES.

Which is strange and foolish, because exactly like writing, crochet has steps to learn. You don’t sit down and immediately vomit out a best-seller (in fact, some writers never break out at all, so). So why I thought I’d sit down and immediately get crochet was somewhat beyond me. I had to learn how to cast on — I had to learn the foundation before I could start building up the rows to follow. I had to learn how to hold my yarn and my hook. I had to learn how to relax my fucking hands because if I didn’t, the entire work would suffer.

Crochet has a lot in common with writing.

“What’re you making?” my mom asked when she saw my horribly uneven square.

“Practice,” I said.

I haven’t “made” anything yet; I’m just practicing. I know chains and single crochets, and next up is half crochets, double crochets, and oh my stars, triple crochets. I would like to make a cowl, and arm warmers would be great, too. Mostly, I’m enjoying learning how to do a new thing; I think it’s good for the brain.

I think the first needlecraft I picked up was embroidery, then I did sewing in Home Ec, and learned needlepoint from my mom, and then cross stitch from my BFF (who is no longer, but the craft remains). And so now it’s crochet, and it’s super fun, and I wonder if I might yet conquer knitting, though the first time I tried that, I rather felt like I was using alien chopsticks, because my hands wouldn’t work together at all. Maybe with crochet under my belt, they will.