If, as a child, I had been asked if I thought I would grow up to be a crocheteuse, I have no doubt I would have given the questioner a puzzled look. Crochet was not an integral part of the landscape I grew up in, and my visual knowledge of it did not extend beyond doilies.
But somewhere along the way, something changed.
It could simply have been the zeitgeist of the times, but in late 1997, I was overcome with a desire to learn crochet. In the summer of 1995, I had met someone in Omaha, Nebraska, who had taught herself to crochet from a book. So I began my attempt to learn crochet by buying books. The only problem with my method was that the books that attracted me were not instructions for beginners, but rather compendiums for already accomplished artisans, and I made very little progress.
I needed a teacher.
To that end, I persuaded a woman named Edith Proctor to give me lessons. I would drive to her apartment on Sunday afternoons, and, after I had eaten enough to satisfy her that I had consumed the necessary sustenance needed to wield a hook, the lesson would begin.
One of the most important lessons I learned from Edith was this: it all starts with a chain.
And whenever I encounter a pattern or stitch that seems difficult or trying, I remind myself that crochet is created one stitch at a time, and that I will eventually figure it out.
A lot has happened since I first learned to make chain in the living room of her home.
I have gone on to enter my work at both the county and state fair level with varying degrees of success, having placed first in my category on occasions, and other years, not having placed at all.
I have also furthered my education in crochet, as I found that my undergraduate degree in English and my MFA in writing do not carry a lot of weight in the crochet world.
To that end, in May of 2009, I successfully completed the Crochet Guild of America's Masters Program Basic Stitches Course, as well as the coursework for the Craft Yarn Council of America's Certified Crochet Instructors Program.
And now I have begun to blog about my adventures in crochet from my kitchen counter in Raleigh, North Carolina, with the hope that others will join me on this journey that moves forward one stitch at a time.