The other night, a person I don’t know posted to an online crochet group. She wanted to make an afghan where puff stitches would form a specific design like a heart, flower, or initial. But she lamented not having a pattern to follow.
I suggested she live dangerously and simply start crocheting and figure it out on the fly.
After all what she was describing didn’t seem overly difficult, and she could draw out the puff stitch part of the design on graph paper to count the spaces. And if worse came to worse, she could just rip the whole thing out and start over.
I come from a long family of froggers – if we don’t like it, we RIPPIT-RIPPIT out and try again. I mean…it’s just crochet.
If it doesn’t work out, all you’ve lost is time, and you’re guaranteed to learn something along the way because (just like Edison and the lightbulb) you’ve learned one way that didn’t work, so you’re that much closer to a solution.
The person replied to my comment, admitting she wasn’t brave enough to try making something without a pattern. She’d never done something so radical before. She wanted to be sure what she was crocheting would work before she started.
She was after guaranteed results.
I understand the sentiment. I’ve also learned it’s wrong. In crochet, and in life.
After all, crochet is far more forgiving than regular life. With yarn, small mistakes blend into the overall tapestry of the work and are never noticed. And if the mistake is bigger, well so what? It’s only yarn.
Financial mistakes, relationship gaffes, driving mishaps—all dwarf the lowly crochet blunder.
In crochet, just give the yarn a pull and do it over. Sure, it can be frustrating but what a teachable moment. What a safe haven to learn.
The more I thought about it, the more I figured it only made sense to take my own advice.
Instead of looking online for patterns for a new project I’d been thinking about, I dug into my sack of yarn and decided to crochet a messenger bag for myself…on the fly…without a pattern.
Yarn in one hand and a crochet hook in the other, I started chaining away. My enthusiasm got the better of me and my original chain was far too long (think laundry bag, not messenger bag). So I ripped out chains until what I had left was about as wide as the bookbag I hoped to replace. I stopped and counted — sixty-eight (weird number!) — so I added back two chains to make it an even seventy, made a chain to turn on, and the side panel was underway.
Hmmm…how big to make it?
Grab an iPad and a couple of books and crochet until the panel was large enough the iPad wouldn’t stick out the top. Ninety rows! And when the first panel was completed, another the exact same size quickly followed. On to the next part.
Now each day the purse strap gets longer. Hopefully I’ll soon have a strip of strap long enough to stitch three sides together and loop over my shoulder.
In the end, I don’t have a pattern, just an idea, a few balls of yarn, and a crochet hook. Soon I’ll not only have a pattern, I’ll also have a messenger bag and, more importantly, the confidence of knowing I figured it out myself.
The bigger takeaway from my messenger bag project is knowing when there are problems there are also solutions – and I can figure those out.
So take an easy risk.
Design your own crochet pattern…or quilt pattern if that’s your thing.
If cooking is more your speed, throw out the recipe book and whip up your own honey mustard or tzatziki sauce.
In the end, it doesn’t matter what you choose, just take an easy risk and see what happens.
Then march forth, and sin bravely.