Friday, September 28, 2007

You talked me into it

Ok, Ok, Ok. I figured I should finally make a blog. I enjoy reading my friends' blogs so much, I thought I should get one too so I can post what I've been working on.

How did I get here? I've always liked fibers- I learned to sew through 4-H and sewed 1-2 outfits a year from 3rd grade through grad school. I first learned to finger crochet in 1st grade at school. It's where you chain with your fingers. I spent a lot of time doing it. I knew you could make things bigger than just a chain, but the only way I knew how was to finger crochet a chain until I ran out of yarn, then finger crochet my chain a second or 3rd time. I got lots of short, fat ropes, but nothing tall, or terribly useful. But it kept me occupied.

I've loved chemistry since elementary school for two important reasons. 1) My aunt is a chemist and she's really cool. 2) The 5th and 6th graders at my elementary school could take chemistry and advanced chemistry, and I couldn't wait to take it because the science teacher who told the funny jokes taught it. We made our own lab notebooks, balanced equations on the board, made oxygen gas and saw it relight a glowing ember, and lots of other cool things. My passion for chemistry and fibers was combined in high school when I did a report on the history of synthetic fibers for the History Day Competition. That's when I first became interested in polymers.

Although I was introduced to crocheting and knitting about 20 years ago, I didn't really do much more than a pair of slippers and some coasters. While in grad school at U of Michigan, I worked on a sweater vest from my "learn to knit" book I received in 6th grade. I got all of the pieces done, but never sewed it together. I dug it out of the closet last week and realized why I never finished it. (It's been sitting at the bottom of my closet for at least 5 years!) While seaming it, I sewed the shoulder seam on the wrong side, and gave up. (I think I may have been working on it while trying to write my thesis, and decided finishing the thesis was more important.) While I love sewing, I never enjoyed hand sewing- so that's probably why it never got finished. Anyways, as I was saying, I corrected the seaming mistake, finished the other seams, and wove in my threads. I'm part of a great Crocheting and Knitting group "Fiber Therapy". Our group is making items to donate to the San Diego chapter's Susan G. Komen booth at the 3-day in November. So I finished it up and gave it to GeorgeAnne, our organizer, last night at our Stitching for a Cause meetup. I'm working on a few other items to donate for them too.

I decided to get serious about crocheting a year ago to make some hand puppets for my son's 1st birthday. My reasoning for choosing crocheting over knitting was simple. If my curious kids got into my current project and pulled out the needle, I'd lose all of the stitches on my work, and never make any progress. On the other hand, if they pulled out my crochet hook, I'd lose only a couple of stitches before I could catch them. I checked out a book on homemade toys from the library and made the puppets- I could do all the stitches except my single crochet never looked quite right. It turns out I was forgetting the extra yarn over and made three puppets in slip stitch! I couldn't figure out why it was so hard to get the hook into each stitch! I also had to change to a much larger hook to get the puppet to fit. The pattern called for a G hook, but I had to use a K! Once I realized my error and started making the puppets in sc and not ss, I could use the G hook again!.

My Grandma gave me her Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Needlework, and I taught myself more stitches, patterns and motifs. I've been crocheting almost non-stop since then. I love to crochet with both thread and yarn.