March 11, 2011 at 11:34 pm (crochet)

It seems like any crochet project has several distinct stages. Your mileage may vary, but here are mine:

1. Stash (a.k.a. raw potential): Of all the stages, this one varies the most wildly in length. In stash stage, anything is possible. That skein that you keep wandering by and rubbing against your cheek can be absolutely anything you put your hook to. It can go from scarf to cowl to wristwarmers with just a bit of imagination. And it’s pretty. And soft. You can’t keep your hands off that skein, and if it had hands, you’re pretty sure it’d be all over you too. Other people are probably a little uncomfortable watching the two of you.

2. Planning (a.k.a. potential, part two): Sometimes this overlaps with stash stage, particularly when one is disciplined enough to buy yarn with specific projects in mind. Other times, eh, it takes a little more time. One thing is certain: once you have the pattern, you know the inevitable conclusion: you will see it through to completion, oh yes, whether it knows it or not. I mean, come on, you’ve got the hook picked out and everything.

3. Beginning of project (a.k.a. the “ooh shiny” stage): This is the honeymoon period of a crochet project. Everything is amazing. The yarn? Amazing. The pattern? Amazing. The project just beginning to take shape and emerge as a beautiful project butterfly from a yarn cocoon? A veritable miracle. At this stage, people tend to ask questions like “Oh, what are you making this time?” And like any blushing newlywed, it’s the opportunity we hookers have been waiting for: “This is my new project. We’ve been together for two days, and I couldn’t be happier. I never believed in happily ever after until I started the base chain, and then, oh god, it was like destiny. I don’t know what I did with myself before he it came along.”

4. Reality (a.k.a. grumblings of discontent): Just as the newlywed realizes that her new dreamboat leaves his toenail clippings on the floor and the dishes a mere two feet away from the dishwasher instead of finishing the job, so too does the hooker realize that the formerly shiny project wasn’t actually quite so shiny. A frustrating row pops up in the instructions, or the yarn has unwelcome knots in it. Maybe the pattern repeat isn’t quite committing itself to memory as easily as one hopes. At least those irritations show there’s still an emotional attachment. Better that than…

5. Tedium (a.k.a. the “that new shiny project is looking awfully appealing” stage): “Oh,” you say to your project upon reuniting after a long day at work, “it’s just you.” Nothing is new, endearing, or even surprising anymore. It’s the seven-year-itch of the crafting relationship. You can go one of two routes from here:

6a. Grim determination (a.k.a. the “we’re stuck until the project grows up, so let’s just get through this” stage): At this point, you realize that the end is in sight if you can just make yourself do a set number of rows each night until it’s done. This may not be the most thrilling course, but as the end gets closer, some of the old excitement is rekindled. You remember why you fell in love in the first place and look forward to growing old with your completed project or giving it to someone you care about to grow old with. This is the logical, straightforward, pragmatic approach. However, there’s another way.

6b. Distraction (a.k.a. the “harmless little fling”): “Hello there,” you tell that skein of sock yarn that’s been making eyes at you from the yarn bin. “How you doin’?” You look over your shoulder at the once-so-promising project and sigh wistfully at what could have been. You may even feel guilty. But right over there is a shiny new project waiting, and if you’re honest with yourself, you and your little fling were already skipping merrily through steps 1 and 2 long before this point. You already had the hook picked out, didn’t you, scoundrel? And besides, it’s not so bad, honest; you’ll go back to the other project originally.

Once a hooker reaches stage 6b, anything goes. Monogamous crocheting becomes a thing of the past. Is there a way back from such debauchery? If I ever find out, I’ll let you know.


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