The other day I decided that since it was summer, I ought to do something heroic. Something noble. Something of eternal value. The kind of thing that gentlemen get knighted for - only I am neither British nor a gentleman. Summer, I thought, would be a perfect victim of time, for it has three things going for it: (1) absolutely no school; (2) absolutely nothing to do; and (3) it's so very hot outside that anything maniacal should be done at this present time - to be blamed on the maddening heat, of course.
You may think I am not the heroic, noble, something-of-eternal-value type, but I pride myself on a surprising personality.
With the mind of proving the naysayers wrong, I picked my target and assailed my accomplice.
"Floppeth*," I innocently asked, "would you teach me how to crochet?"
She was very quiet and calm, though no doubt the heart palpitations were bordering on unbearable. "Yes, darlingest. Let me go downstairs and get me stuff."
"Do you even know where my crochet hook is?"
She giggled sheepishly, but I had no doubt she could dig up my weapon of war someplace or other. I received that hook at my tenth birthday party, used it for less than an hour a year or two ago and donated it to my sister's crochet-like-a-madwoman cause.
We snuggled - or she did; I was too busy being heroic and thus refused the pillow - we settled on her bunk bed, therefore, and set to work. She had her rough maroon yarn, a battle-worn crochet hook and enough wits about her to realize she had her work cut out for her.
"Here," she said, "first I will teach you how to make a slip knot. You make a loop - "
" - and turn it upside down, like so, and then put the yarn across it - "
" - this part of the yarn, and then you stick your hook through the loops and pull."
If you felt lost at the beginning of my description, so too did I feel. But I courageously snatched worst and hook from dear sister and made my loop, flipped it upside down, put the yarn across it, stuck in my hook and pulled.
Thus it was that I started with a crochet hook and a straight piece of yarn - and I ended with a crochet hook and a straight piece of yarn, no more attached than my brain to my fingers. Things were not looking up for our heroine at that moment. I tried again. Same result. Now I began to worry.
"Floppeth!" I whined.
"What?" she chirped.
"I can't get the - am I supposed to - I can't do this!"
"Now, now, now" - she understands me well - "don't fret, darlingest. Let me see."
"I make a loop?"
"And I turn it over?"
"And then I put the yarn across?'
"And then I stick my needle in?" Excitement flushed my cheeks. "And then I pull!"
The strand of yarn ended up limp over my fingers. Even Floppeth was dreadfully confused. She had to abandon the by-the-book method and let me skip turning the loop over. Whatever I had done before, it vanished - victory!
Chain stitching - well, it wasn't the most glorious moment of my career, partly because the yarn tangled up in my hand or I made my stitches too tight or I did something so amateur that it wasn't even included in the troubleshooting section of crochet books. As I said, Floppeth had her work cut out for her.
But soon the air was cleared of my groans and every particle of my highly-educated brain strained to understand this mystery. Nonchalantly, Floppeth whipped out one-third of a washcloth and unraveled it every ten seconds or so.
We moved on to the single crochet stitch. She explained to me the "stockinette" side of the chain and the "lumpy" side (she's always very technical), gave me the instructions and let me try.
It was painstakingly slow. And something was not quite right.
"Floppeth," came that whine.
"What?" came the chirp.
"This doesn't look right."
"Oh, let me see. It looks fine."
Well, if that looked fine, then crocheting was a primitive, uglifying art. But Floppeth walked me through it until I had banged through my first row.
"Do you want to go ahead and make the washcloth now, since there's no point in doing something you'll unravel?"
No point, indeed. I chain stitched twenty stitches - "Does the slip knot count as one?" "Yep." "One...." "Oh, no, it doesn't." - and began my washcloth. The first row, besides taking an unhealthy amount of grunts and groans, finished rather nicely; the trouble came at the second row. I couldn't figure out how anyone was supposed to be able to see the stitches. And what's more, I forgot how many times I had "pulled the hook through" on several of the stitches. So when my third row came about, there was confusion and delay.
Floppeth worked at it with all her knowledge, repeating her mantra of "It's fine" in time with my frustrated attack cries.
"See, it's fine, Bailey." Working a little further. "Eew, don't know what you did there." Working a little further. An eyebrow-sky-high shocked expression: "I have no idea what happened here." But ten minutes, lots of unraveling and one thousand screams later, I had three rows of peachy pink and white more or less crocheted. I had slain my dragon.
*For all my new readers, Floppeth and its derivatives Flop, Floppy, Sheriff Floopyloops and such are nicknames of my sister, Bethany Grace.