Back when I was a tap dancer, Jimmy Slyde shared with me the best way to learn a new language: “Get yourself a lover who speaks it,” he said with a wink. “You’ll figure it out pretty quick.” In other words, put yourself in an immersion situation and add intrinsic motivation, et voila! You find yourself increasingly comfortable and speaking the language becomes second nature.
Let me back up a little bit. I am mostly self-taught as a crocheter. I think that’s fairly common, and even those who originally learned from a class or family member have probably expanded their skills using books or online tutorials. The internet is an amazing resource, but with so many lessons and patterns, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Conversely, when you are looking for something very specific, you may find yourself sifting through masses of content before you find the information you need.
So I was making satisfying progress working through granny square patterns when I came upon an intriguing raised stitch: FPdc, or Front Post Double Crochet. Intriguing, beautiful, and...absolutely impossible for me to figure out. I could make double crochets just fine, but I had never really looked at the components of the stitch - front and back loops, spaces, and of course, the post. Also, “insert hook front to back around the post” was confusing - you come at it from the front, but you are going toward the back, and then around to the front again...assuming you can find the post at all.
What did this intrepid crochet learner do?
I avoided patterns with post stitches, of course! Maybe not so intrepid after all :(
But then came the love story. It’s my wife’s, really. She fell hard for a skein of yarn on the Yarnover Truck - Indigodragonfly Merino Silk DK - and Maridee recommended a pattern to show it off. The Muirlands Cowl is cozy and beautiful, and made up almost entirely of post stitches. I love my wife very much, so I took the plunge. I swear to you, by the end of the second round those stitches were no problem, and I ended up with this gorgeous thing:
So don’t be afraid of Dr. Strange Knot, whatever stitch that may be for you. Hang out with it, figure it out like you love it and can’t live without understanding it. Or, you know, just find a fun way to practice it ;)
I miss you, Jimmy, and thank you for your wisdom - I bet you never thought it would apply to crochet as well as tap dancing and foreign lovers :)