Saturday 3 April 2021

Apparently, it’s my fault...

I have a younger sister. Younger by not very much at all. We’re very alike. Friends of our parents used to have trouble telling us apart, and when we were at boarding school, even Mum had trouble working out which one of us was on the phone.
For reasons of family, years and language, my younger sister’s nickname is Grillos. Its how she appears in my contacts, how I address her and how I think of her. Neither of us know how it started or how it morphed into and stopped at Grillos, but I do know she wasn't always called Grillos, even as a nickname. Anyway, we get together once a week when we visit Mum. We help each other through the gaggy part of the Covid test by laughing and making awkward gagging noises. We visit Mum and always spend a good few minutes discussing which one of us is her favourite. I often wonder if Mama would actually like to be able to sit up and bang our heads together. Anyway, despite being alike, we’re very different, and until very recently, Grillos would not have claimed an enjoyment of much that’s creative for a hobby. 

That’s her in the front, acting all tiny and youngest-y. Back when we all called her Sally.

Couple of weeks ago, I ordered some yarn to crochet a baby blanket for her coming grandchild. We had a short discussion about how she’d like to learn to crochet but being left handed meant no one would teach her. I’m right handed and do not believe that makes it impossible to show someone, and I believe it’s easy to learn. So this week, she came to see Mum armed with a packet of yarn and a collection of crochet hooks.

And there I was thinking that I’d rummage in my yarn stash for some leftovers and a hook for her to trial! It all started well. We sat opposite each other and I said, ‘make a slip knot’ which she did with alacrity. Then I talked her through making a chain, insert hook, yarn over, blah blah. While she made a chain, I talked about slip stitch and using a chain or slip stitch to turn corners, fill spaces etc. How to do one extra stitch at the end to ‘build’ the height for the next row. She totally got it all. So, move on, turn the chain and work into it as the foundation for the first row of stitches. Not possible. Way way way too tight a tension. Surprised me! So, I taught Grillos how to frog her work. She was unimpressed, I can tell you. Apparently my fault for not knowing she would pull the yarn so tight. Then I did a few chain stitches and she noted the relaxed tension. So she did some more. Better, but still quite tight. Turn, hook through, yarn over, etc etc. Again. But of course, the tension made getting the hook through quite a fiddle, requiring her to use fingers to loosen the yarn. Then she forgot that she was working in a row rather than a column and lost control of the way to hold the chain. This was my fault because I was crap at explaining. She was starting to fizz. So, I suggested she try again with a much bigger hook and to keep the tension more relaxed. She was difficult to convince, to be honest. But, fair play, she did start again. A chain of ten plus one for turning...she was really getting it. Then the hook wouldn’t go through too easily again. And the yarn she had bought is acrylic and you can hear it being all man made on the hook. Very annoying apparently, and my fault. She managed a double and I said cheerily that all she needed to do was finish the chain in the same way. A chain of 10 stitches, so just another 9 doubles to do, by the way. Just to remind you. The chain was still having to be loosened to get the hook through and that, suddenly, was it. Grillos and crochet were finished. I expressed surprise, cajoled, encouraged and tried to get her to carry on. But she wouldn’t. She said she already knew that it wasn’t for her, if it drove her mad that quickly, she didn’t want to do more. I laughed. Probably made her more cross.

I have to admit that this is one of the things that makes us different. Especially having brought the set of hooks, I’d feel a small obligation to bite down and carry on. But no, Grillos was having none of it. Consequently, the above pictured set of crochet hooks and stitch markers are looking for a home in which to be useful. If you’d like it, please get in touch, as it’s all my fault, the least I can do is offer the RAK and not let them clutter up my sister’s house!


Kathryn Frantz said...

Oh, this made me laugh!
This is my experience with crochet! Exactly!
I made a chain ONCE, but I kept it! It is still attached to the ball of thread! It is proof that I tried once. I was going to frame it!
My daughter crochets, taught by her left-handed grandmother. Never learned how to read a pattern until a neighbor recently explained a few things. She has made me an Afghan, a couple hats and scarves.
A long time girlfriend is still making table cloths, doilies and such.

I admire their handiwork and smile. I tried once. I have proof!


Shoshi said...

Your poor sister... So sorry it was such a struggle trying to get her crocheting. This is the most enjoyable and relaxing craft if you can learn it. I was fortunate enough when I was quite small, to have a wonderful grandmother who taught all of us girls (me, sister, 2 cousins) to crochet and it's been enjoyable all my life and with special associated memories.

If nobody else is interested in the hooks I would absolutely love them, Julia. But I do already have quite a lot, and if there's someone who is keen to start, and has none, then they should take precedence. Yours look so pretty and also have much thicker handles than mine, which probably means they are a lot more comfortable to use.

If I was fortunate enough to be the happy recipient of such a splendid gift, you know they would get used, and that the first project they would be used for would be the Persian Tiles blanket which is next on the list once I've finished the cat throw and the purple circles jumper.


Helen said...

Oh, your poor sister - I feel sorry for her, trying to learn to crochet - even as a right hander, I couldn't pick it up - just ask BJ as she was the one tried to teach me! I just didn't (don't) get it. I am still chuckling at the story of you trying to teach her!

pearshapedcrafting said...

Sorry I can't help - when I was at Home Ec college several fellow students tried to teach me to crochet (each thinking that THEY had the knack) One girl actually took my attempts off me and threw them across the common room - I think she was the last one to try!! Still can't crochet...unless you want to try at the next crop!!!! Happy Easter, Chrisxx

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I used to crochet and knit until my arthritis got so bad, I had to stop. Seems I grip the hooks or needles too tight, just like I do when I am forced to doodle. I read somewhere that if a right handed person sat across from a left handed person, they picked up the crochet stitches easier because they were imitating the movements. I feel for you AND your sister, but I still LOVE that photo I "stole" to create an ATC one year. I'm sure someone will be very happy to take those hooks off your sister's hand. Just not me, though.

Christine said...

Had to laugh.... as a left hander. I never mastered knitting until in my 20s but I taught myself crochet by reading written instructions found in my Mother's book from the 1920. I look perculiar when I fo it 'cos I hold the wool differently, can't follow a pattern (it's right handed) so make it up as I go along. Tiny tears had lots of clothes though!!! Pass the hooks and wool back to her and tell her to utube lefthanded crocheting!!!

Sue said...

Hi Julia, Maybe your sister would get on better if she found a YouTube video with someone who is left handed.

Hope you have a nice day. Sue

April said...

This is a burden all big sisters have to bear - I am also a big sister. However, Grillos' defense, I started and ended my crocheting journey in the same way. I knew immediately it was not for me. Now find me a machine I can feed the yard through - I'm in. So don't feel bad - it really isn't your fault. LOL

Annie said...

I'm chuckling here's a sister thing not that I have every had the same with mine but I do have tw3o daughters!! enough said. Some need to do it themselves and being a lefty wont have helped....she's probably best to teach herself via online videos but it appears she's already given up.
Big hugs for trying.
Annie x

Lisa-Jane said...

I cant imagine my brother even admitting I knew something he didn't let alone teach him! WHEN we can see each other properly again you can teach me because it's on my list.

BJ said...

Oh that's a shame Julia. I managed to teach 4 ladies I met on the internet. They came to my house, I even created a blog about it all.
The one who said no one had been able to teach her before ended up making baby clothes for her grandbabies, outstripping us all.
I really hope your sis will have another go one day, maybe have a look at my blog as there are links to Attic24 and she does great tutorials.

Lynnecrafts said...

Hi Julia, it was very funny how you wrote about it, but the frustration is obvious.
If it’s not too late, this little book is very good for us lefties.

Crafting With Jack said...

I taught a left handed person to crochet. It really is annoying when you watch someone do something and they make it look so easy, but it isn't! Perhaps she was a tad embarrassed!
That's quite a collection of crochet hooks, I am sure you will find a home for them.

Susan Renshaw said...

This really made me smile!
I can crochet - but the other day I tried using a cheap yarn (very pretty) but it just wouldn'y slip off the hook. It's going to the charity shop!

Ali Wade Designs said...

This made me chuckle. I can knit, sort of (very limited skills and very slow), but never been able to master crochet. It all looks very achievable and even hubby (who does absolutely no crafting) was taught by his grandma. I just cannot 'get it'. If I want anything created, I get my stepdaughter to do it (she can literally do any pattern). Ali x

Grollibot said...

Juggles!!! No loyalty in this family. I am ashamed to say that it was exactly like Julia says. Dollies well and truly thrown out the pram!!!! I didn't like it, I will stick to what I can do and am good at. Xx