This past Friday I came home from Michaels with sixty dollars worth of yarn, plastic canvas, and a book telling me that I too could make Adorable Things. Mostly coasters.
Actually, ALL coasters.
It hadn’t been a good day for me. I was in a bad place and felt like a total failure that should cease to exist as soon as possible, so after work I made a weird attempt to find something to do with myself that didn’t involve liquor or ceasing to exist. Not drawing or painting, because that aisle in my mind is empty. Not baking because …food. Not embroidery, because I’ve been working on the same table cover piece for about a decade. I hate it but can’t bring myself to throw it out, and it mocks me. I’m keeping it for spite.
I’d just finished up work and it seemed completely necessary to get to Michaels as soon as possible. The store wasn’t too busy and I ended up staring at a row of books that I had no business staring at. Things with “Super-Cute” in the title. Me, in the craft store for something that isn’t painting-related? No, that’s not right. People don’t consider me to be someone that makes crafts. There is no sewing machine in my house. There aren’t bins of items stacked to the ceiling, and most of the safety pins are missing when you actually need them.
This is not my house. I could never handle this. (Although kudos to the owner for being able to get it more organized; I’d just run screaming.)
Yet, there I was, with a pretty good idea that none of this stuff made sense in the least, but I was absolutely obligated to spend far too much money on it. A fifty dollar Martha Stewart loom? SURE! GREAT! Of course! Why not?!
After staring at all this stuff, I realized that it was my goal in life to embroider some bookmarks, but there was no fabric to be found. Needles, three dollar books, thread (excuse me: FLOSS), but no fabric. My subconscious kicked me in the jaw and said, “Hello, stupid. You are not getting that stuff even if it *was* here, because you would fail at it. You suck at everything. Just get in your car and go home and cry. Go now, before anyone sees you, because they’ll know you are a failure.”
Thanks, Subconscious. You stay classy. ANYWAY.
Plastic canvas seemed like something fun and easy to do. That was what I wanted – something easy to focus on; you follow the directions and you make a thing. Everyone’s made something from plastic canvas before, even your five year old nephew (who you’re pretty sure eats cat food). You get the big plastic needle, you thread the yarn in and out for awhile, and you end up with a tissue box cover or something. It’s not a bad way to spend an evening.
There were something like twenty 10″x15″ sheets of plastic canvas, so I got them all and marched over – Big Book of Coasters in hand – to the yarn section.
Uh, I wish someone had told me beforehand about yarn. You can’t just go get a roll of yarn, by the way.
Here’s what I wanted:
Yes, I Will Take That One There, Thank You. (photo from sugarloaf.org)
Here’s what I got:
GOOD EFFING LUCK WITH THAT
It seemed really logical to just get yarn in all the basic colors, right? Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Purple Black White Brown Pink. Oh, except this yarn was four dollars and THIS yarn was nine dollars. Um, where is my fifty cent yarn? Isn’t this stuff just free? Wait, it’s more than a dollar? Oh man.
Upon arriving at home, the following conversation ensued.
Me: *dumps two giant Sacks O Crafting stuff on the floor, goes to make tea*
J: What is that?
Me: *continues to make tea*
J: No seriously. What’s in the bags?
J: *sigh* …what the hell have you bought now?
J: What? Why?
Me: Because it’s cheaper than black tar heroin. *sips tea*
J: I hope you’ve made enough tea for two of us.
Me: I don’t want to do heroin. I’d rather make things.
J: I didn’t realize you were eighty. *looks through bag* Is that plastic canvas?
J: You are eighty. Go knit a sweater or something and just drink your tea, eighty-year-old.
Me: I’m going to make coasters!
After about twenty minutes, I crawled out from under the pile of yarn, canvas, and failure on the couch, and proclaimed that whatever was supposed to be happening was definitively NOT, and I sucked at everything.
J: It’s plastic canvas. I did that stuff when I was like… ten. It’s not that hard!
Me: It *is* that hard. Look at this tutorial. I don’t understand how to count it; do you count from the hole or the line?
J: You just count the number it tells you. Like 25, you count 25.
Me: No, I still don’t get it. Is it from the hole or the line? Do I cut it first?
J: You just count. I can’t explain that. Oh man… you’re totally going to make that cat coaster, aren’t you.
After another half hour or so, I realize that plastic canvas really is not happening, so I get the BRILLIANT idea to crochet something. Of course that means needing to teach myself how to do it again, because my past attempts didn’t get farther than a single chain that would go for about two feet before I gave up. The technique to actually get more than one row to connect just wasn’t working for me. At least four people have tried to show me how, and video tutorials didn’t work. This time though, I sat down and realized that I had rather a lot of yarn, and it shouldn’t go to waste. I really did spend way too much money on it.
I spent the next six hours learning how to crochet. I crocheted during breaks at work Saturday, and the whole evening on Sunday. In between actual crocheting, I learned how to read patterns and the Morse Code that passes for someone telling you how to make something out of nothing. I bookmarked a big chunk of the internet and watched a lot of videos.
After a coaster, a failed hat that started as a cup cozy, and a mini-pylon, I am now halfway through making my first beanie to wear to the hockey games. 🙂
It’s a thing!
Not bad for not knowing how to do it a couple days ago. I’m now on Ravelry and stalking crochetcrochet on LJ.
More importantly, it is filling the void. I am not good at this, but am looking forward to being able to make amigurumi and inundate my house/car/friends with Small Cute Things. One site that got added to my feed/bookmarks/radar last night was Create!, by Alicia Kachmar. The stuff she makes… SO CUTE. And also she’s a Pittsburgh girl in some sense. Thumbs up. 🙂
So that’s where I am at. I’m working at ignoring my phone, Facebook, and email because those things are all huge timesinks that have been really depressing me as of late. I am having some sort of crisis and don’t feel like interacting with people for awhile. (Excluding next weekend when I go to visit peeps in Phoenix, because that’s always a good getaway. I really like that city in the winter.) Crocheting is turning out to be theraputic – not that it makes me *happy*, in the sense of singing in the hills about it, but it feels kind of like a mental balm. The repetition is really soothing, it’s far more portable than my painting stuff, and watching something be made out of a piece of yarn is nice as well. It’s comforting to be able to have a tangible result that comes from just reading directions: do this, here’s your result.
Will I ever become one of those people that has a booth at some local craft show? Doubtful. You’ll never see me on Hoarders, with bins of stuff that could someday be stuff (really!), and of course I know right where everything is. I will never replace my whole wardrobe with my handmade stuff. But for the moment, my shelf of yarn makes me feel a little content, and that’s all I’m asking for.