I’m working on something I never thought I would. I’m crocheting a shawl. A combination of boredom, cold nights, and watching Amelie are to blame. The last aspect might be a bit confusing if you haven’t seen the movie lately. The woman who sells cigarettes in the cafe Amelie works in is always wearing shawls and a lot of them are crocheted. I think that’s how I got the idea stuck in my head.

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It’s a more difficult project than it looks like. Straight crochet stitches (not the lacy stuff) have really distinctive lines. Sometimes that can be fun to work with like in this case where the stitches show off the construction, but they have to be used deliberately for a crochet design to look right. I think that’s where crochet gets its bad rep. It’s hard to work with simple stitches in a garment when every solid stitch pattern forms similar texture stripes.

Crochet also can be a bit fiddly. I figured out the right number of stitches that I needed to increase per row to get a triangle shape, but because it doesn’t have a lot of ease, their placement had to be much more precise than what I’m used to. I kept having to work the first four rows and move around the increases until I got them right. When the increases weren’t in the right places, the rigid fabric would create waves and the top long side wouldn’t lay straight. I could shape it flat on my desk to be a triangle, but left to itself, it was very strange looking.

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It’s easy to learn the basics of crochet and following a pattern is pretty straight forward, but it’s difficult to get really good at crochet. Everything has to be really deliberate and precise. You can’t rely on ease and give to smooth things out. I think that’s why there isn’t a plethora of indie crochet designers like there is with knitting. It just takes a lot more skill.

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