17 October 2007

tunisian, eight, and me

a note on the last entry:  i wrote the entire tale in three entries (split as indicated) while online, directly in this journal's 'add an entry' (mistakenly thought of as 'add an entry and it will stay') in the early morning hours on tuesday the 16th.  ya ever get that lil voice niggling in your head?  the one that says, 'debra, better copy those entries into a word document'?  of course not, because that's my niggling lil voice.  your's probably says things like, 'dude, did i remember to turn off the stove?' and other useful things.  this time i paid attention and actually did create (and save) the how she-bangette and squirreled it away in my files.  i didn't think i'd be retrieving it this soon.  so whatcha see in that one entry is basically the same as what i'd written in three entries last night.  the lost entries which may never surface in aolhell.  good thing for my niggling lil voice, huh?

now about today:  Eight and i decided to swap mad-skillz, cuz we be chillin that way.  last week she learned how to use knotting to make keychains and i asked her to make me one, and paid her ahead of time.  she put the money in her camera-fund and set about knotting cords and inserting beads and has made a few key chains, yes but not for me.  for me, she told me that she wanted to make an extra-special one.  i like extra-special stuff and so am eagerly awaiting my macrame'd fob.

monday night she asked me, "miss debra (that tickles me!) will you teach me how to crochet?"  i told her that i would and that i would do so the very next day.  now i've never taught a child to crochet before (once i tried to teach an adult and omg, what a mishap that was, she tied her thumbs together and hung herself) and haven't much experience with teaching children much of anything (there was a reason i taught college and not high school, and certainly not elementary~shudder); but i have had great fun with Eight and we have done the grasshopper/blind-master-po routine with most excellent results in the past.  so i figured how tough can this be anyway?  i mean, just teach the kid some chain-stitch stuff and let it go at that.  her interest may wane and if it doesn't then move on to teach her the more complex stitches, like crochet (single, double, half-double (which is not single), treble, quarter-note, and four-time).

so completely intending to start Eight off on the chain stitch, since it is so crucial to the foundation for other stitches; i gathered hooks, yarn, bags, and whiskey bottles to put in the bags and off i went.  by the time i'd gotten there, Eight had almost pee'd her pants from sheer delirium and eagerness.  kids, such zest for life!

now if ya know anything about crochet, past yarn and hooks i mean, you'd agree with me when i say that afghan stitch (or tunisian, as it is sometimes called) is a bit more complex and advanced than the ol' standard chain, and should not be taught as a starter stitch to beginners.  which is precisely why i thought, ya know to hell with that basic chain stitch thing, let's go for the tunisian stitch (and then i snickered, cuz that's what you do when you've imbibed in the whiskey bottle in the bag trick, that and tunisian stitch is hilariously fun to say when you're drunk).

actually, eight had all sorts of problems holding all the stuff and still being able to pull the yarn thru the loops for the flimsy ol silly stupid chain stitch (and that's for babies anyway).  so what i did was i made her a small sample swatch, about two to three inches long, and several rows high of the tunisian stitch.  then we sat, with her back against my chest (like "ghost" but without the sexual connotations and the moore/swayze nudity) so i could demonstrate and teach and she could watch and learn from the right angle instead of trying to flip it around in her head.  learning can be challenging enough, why make it more difficult with distractions like mirror images and other tricky principles and stuff?

now, if you're still reading, dear reader, kudos to you!  thanks for sticking in there.

i figured that eight could concentrate on one aspect at a time with the tunisian stitch.  you repeat one set motion til you get to the end of the row, and then you use another set motion all the way back.  the steps are more basic and broken down into easy to remember and good confidence building maneuvers.  plus you can see some real progress, another key to learning and wanting to continue to learn.

since the sample swatch had weight and bulk, it was easier for Eight to handle and didn't fly and flip around like that wimpy skimpy chain stitch did (pft!) and the vertical loops are larger and nice and long so she could clearly see where to go for the next step.  she watched me, with me telling her what i was doing.  then i held the yarn in my left hand, looped for the right tension (that's tricky to learn and shouldn't be distracting her at the get-go, ya know?) while she took the hook in her right hand and showed me what to do while she told me too.  eventually, i gave her the entire set-up and watched her.  it was really cool and she was really proud and very excited.   i gave her lots of complements and let her know that it takes practice and time to get the hang of it and that she was doing great for a first time crochet'er.  i could so get into the whole mothering gig.


1 comment:

  1. The mothering thing?  Parenting?  I'm so the opposite of that!!



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