I have a new friend who is learning to crochet. I host a small but broad-minded knitting group that shuns no-one. I'm not sure the quilters even know they're in a knitting group. Shhh, don't tell them!
Celeste paid us her second visit today. The first one was more reconnaissance to see what we are like. This time she brought her work and meant business. She had started a first crochet project, gotten bogged down, taken time out to crochet a simple baby gift or two (successfully, too -- good for her!), and now wanted to get it going again.
Her bag in her lap, she began reaching in to pull things out. This is just practice yarn, she said. The ladies in the local yarn store had told her this was a more inexpensive way to get started, until she's mastered it. She'd been shocked, I think, at the cost of yarn for a sweater she'd thought of for her small daughter. The yarn shop ladies offered the practice yarn and project as an alternative.
Out of the bag came three skeins of yarn, in pretty cream, pale blue, and taupe. Three skeins of practice yarn. Three skeins of ethereal, fingering-weight, fuzzy-haloed, baby alpaca. Celeste's practice yarn is Misti Alpaca.
At first, I have to admit, I was taken aback at the idea of such a wonderful yarn treated as practice yarn for a beginner's project. But then I started to see what perfect sense it makes. Even in the first awkwardness of handling unfamiliar tools with unaccustomed movements, the enjoyment of the beautiful materials themselves would help you to feel good about working at learning a new skill. I wouldn't suggest yarn of such a fine gauge and fuzzy hand for every beginner, but Celeste seems a precise sort of person, well prepared for the close attention it requires at first. The point, either way, is that it be beautiful.
She showed us what she'd done so far. Three or four delicate squares of a feminine, flowerlike granny square pattern destined to be a soft, lovely scarf. She showed us the pattern in her beginning crochet book. In her choice of practice yarn, her start at a scarf looked more appealing than I could ever have imagined the scarf in that picture could be. Much. Her first project will be a knock-out, that she will wear, and love, and take pride in.
The more I think about it, the more I realize she knew exactly what she was doing. Start as you mean to go on.