It's been a year since I started really crocheting again. I had learned it three years ago while I was at a training facility in Mississippi, called JobCorp. A girl that I was friends with taught my soul sister how to crochet, and me being the eternal copy cat, learned from her. I bought yarn at Walmart, and a set of aluminum hooks, and began to learn.
I spent many nights curled up in the computer room of our dorm, whiling away at my yarn, wondering why I kept ending up with a curly-q instead of a straight line. I wondered and puzzled at the mystery of the "turning chain" and how exactly one was supposed to do it. I practiced stitches, and undid tangles, and ignored the drama that was going on around me as I frolicked in a world filled with the soothing feel of the metal shaft of my hook and the yarn sliding through my fingers.
No, I don't remember what the hell I was trying to make, I think it was a blanket. Alas, I moved from the dorms and Greyhound ate my luggage....So, for a while, I forgot about hooks and yarn, having no money to replace what had been lost.
Fast forward about a half a year, and we were homeless in a strange state. (Long story)I was stressed out and scared, and just plain sick of everything (I had been homeless since my parents kicked me out, another long story).
We had nowhere to go, no one to turn to. The job market for people without a permanent address was nonexistent, and I was about ready to give up. But I couldn't. Giving up was not an option. I would not give up the idea that I had some sort of purpose, not to mention that all my fiancee had was me, and I couldn't leave him like that.
So my mind turned back to the joy I had felt while crocheting, the way it had to smooth away even the most intense stress. I needed to create, and I knew a way I could. But how to get the hooks and yarn?
There were thrift stores. One of which was a free charity (yes, I know, not really a store at all...) you could come to once a month and gather all the clothes and other things that you could carry. Another had at least one day each week in which whatever you could stuff into a shopping bag was free. We could also get vouchers for the store, which worked on the same premise. I scoured them both with fervent passion, looking for hooks and yarn. Finally, I found what I was looking for. I could craft again, and I was happy. Well, as happy as one could be in a situation like that.
Fats forward again, to my discovery of Ravelry. Before my beloved Rav, I knew nothing about hook sizes, or different fibers. Blocking was a mysterious phrase I read about, but had no idea what it meant. Knitting was also a mystery. I had perused the gallery of patterns at Lion Brand, but did not know what awaited me in the fiber Mecca that is Ravelry.
I learned that acrylic can't be dyed, and there were people that could, and did, spin their own yarn. I learned that there were so many patterns and techniques that I never knew existed. I learned that you could crochet a willy warmer, and a pair of pasties. And I also learned that there were five million knitted and crocheted items that I wanted to make RIGHT NOW OR IMMA DIE.
Around this time, I also found The Anticraft. Now, I had read the book, and was absolutely enamored. Crafts that were gothic and punk (and sometimes just plain wierd)? I could die happy. I did not know how wrong I was.....
I remembered the book, and the happies it gave me, and decided to search and see if they had a website. They did. And an ezine. Which amused and pleased me greatly. Then, I found out that they had a message board. I about broke my fiance's eardrums with my squeals of delight.
But I found more than just a wealth of knowledge and ideas, I also found people I could relate to. People who were a lot like me, but different in ways that were awesome and inspiring at the same time. I found kindness and sarcasm and humor. I also found reasons to improve my own creative drive.
I learned to knit in January, using chopsticks that I had whittled down with my knife. I picked some bright pink yarn (don't ask me why, I have no idea...) and began with a little garter stitch pouch. Then I tried a stockinette stitch pouch. Purling drove me crazy. Then it clicked, and I breezed through the rest of the pouch.
Now I was hungry for more, but with the peculiar design of the chopsticks, I didn't have much room to grow.
I bemoaned this fact to Ravelry, hoping to find a group that might have some old beat up needles they would be willing to send to me. What I found instead ws a group of people who responded with more than just encouragement, but also requests for my address. They wanted to send me yarn and needles. I was ecstatic. Even more ecstatic when box after box of not just needles, but also yarn and other goodies came to my door. I was finally able to work with more than just Red Heart (which I was rapidly running out of). I now had wool, and bamboo, cotton and merino. I was, and still am, happy.
Now I've come even further. I can cable, I can knit lace. There are still techniques that I want to learn, but my need to create has grow even more ravenous.
I am workin on my first design. No, not just a chart, but a full knitted design. Before Ravelry, I would have no idea how to do this. I have no camera, but I can ask for testers, and there's a chance that they will let me use their pictures. This is my first pattern, but I know I'll have the expertise and advice of other knitters to help guide me, and smooth out any kinks. I only have acrylic in the weight I'm knitting my prototype, but there are others that will knit with various fibers, and tell me how it went.
Not only do I get to create something all my own, I get to set it free and see what else can be done. I get to see it evolve and grow, and become something bigger than just me.
I've come a long way, and there's a long way still to go. The thought brings a smile to my face.