I've wanted for years to know how to crochet. Despite having inherited, by default, my late mother's enormous stash of hooks, yarns, notions and patterns, I never had the time to pick up the skill while I was living at home.
Over two years ago, I bought a beginner's crochet book on the cheap. You'd think I believed that owning the book would itself give me the magical ability to crochet without ever picking up hook and yarn, because it took me so long to acquire both of the latter.
But it finally happened. Last weekend, I passed my time in the city by getting acquainted with its op shops. And there they were in the knitting-needle basket. Not just one but four crochet hooks, stuffed into the plastic case made for the largest. Shorter and skinnier than most knitting needles, they must have been passed over by other vintage-seeking types. Or it could be they were waiting for me.
Around the corner, a dollar shop (where nothing costs a dollar anymore, sigh) had 100% pure acrylic yarn on offer. I brushed off my misgivings about the acrylic. After all, I thought, I just want to learn the basics; I'll be choosy about yarn content when I know what I'm doing.
Less than an hour after I got home, I'd got the hang of it and seemed to have a scarf well underway. But as the scarf grew longer, I realised it wasn't going to be my scarf. It was working up into a scratchy, slightly shiny texture. That acrylic might do for some other purpose, say a pouch or bookmark; not something to keep in contact with sensitive neck skin for hours.
But what was I to do, I thought, now that I was already so far into my first project. I wasn't about to just donate it to landfill. Did I know anybody who could pull off a shorter scarf length, who wouldn't be bothered by the acrylic?
Turns out I did.
Very good. On to the next project, then. And from now on, I think I'll stick to natural fibres.