If there is one thing that craft has taught me, it’s that I’m a pain in the butt to teach. I listen to instructions well and I absorb information like a sponge (which comes in handy at my day job), but given the chance to figure out something for myself, it’s chaos.
The thing is, I’m impatient. I want to know how to do all the things all at once. I’m intellectually aware that this is impossible but that does not stop me jumping headfirst into things without stopping to figure out how it works or what I should do to make it functional.
Case in point: my early posts on crochet.
This was my first attempt at crochet, posted on August 12th 2010, just weeks after I learned how to knit:
From the colour of the background I can tell I was sitting on my rickety old bed at home when I was living with my Dad. (Side note: my Dad recently got rid of that bed and was absolutely shocked that I was using a pile of books to hold it up where the edge had cracked. When he asked why I hadn’t just asked for a new bed frame, I admitted that it hadn’t occurred to me. I’ll leave you to decide whether that says anything about me as a logical human being.)
My first attempt was messy and hilarious, but that was probably because I watched a five minute video on YouTube then decided I knew how to do it, I was basically a pro.
Then that wonky scrap happened and I had to revise the theory of my awesomeness.
About a week later I posted a picture of my second attempt at crocheting which was a small snake out of bamboo cotton. It might look like I learn quickly if you compare the two samples less than a week apart: that’s true in a sense, but it’s mostly due to the fact that when I’m fixated on something I do little else and get in way more hours of practice in a short time than any reasonable person would.
A snippet from the post about the snake which shows how little I change:
You know when you try for ages and ages to do something without reading more than one tutorial and completely fail? Just me, huh? Well, I’ve been teaching myself to crochet with very little prior reading and it hasn’t been going well. I’ve produced a few scraps of rubbish fabric but I was determined to get it right so I kept on going.
Tonight was Stitch and Bitch at the Old Town Hall. I love it so; within half an hour of getting there I not only had a fabulous cup of tea, but I was well on my way to starting my first actual crochet project without failing miserably.
With the help of Sophie and a very talented lady whose name I cannot remember, I began crocheting in a circle instead of in rows and it is SO MUCH EASIER you have no idea! (Except that anyone reading this probably would have an idea…)
Despite the epiphany I had about how much easier learning is when you take instruction from something such as a video or a knowledgeable friend, I still continued about my chaotic way of teaching myself.
So while watching Psych on my laptop – which I bought a while ago but never got around to watching – I had my crochet hook and my bamboo cotton in hand. I made a circle and then thought, hey! Why not see if I can make a simple flower without actually looking up how to make one?
It worked, unlike my first attempt at baking (see the post to understand), and somehow I ended up with a lopsided bracelet with a bamboo cotton flower in lime green. You better bet that I wore that crap with pride, people.
That’s the reason I try things out this way. It’s so much fun working out how to do things without reading instructions; it’s not immediately productive, but it forces you to get a handle on the concepts behind the craft in order to guess how to do something new. Besides, once I fail
miserably proudly, I spend the next god knows how many hours reading up on how to actually do the thing.
I’m sure it’s fun to be able to learn things in a methodical, logical way, but my mind isn’t built like that. Is yours? How do you learn this stuff?