WHEN it comes to non-fattening crafts, I've always been a cross-stitcher.
It's a wonderful craft, intricate enough to demand your whole concentration but simple enough to be relaxing. The only trouble with it is that it's not really very practical - all of my nieces and nephews have cross-stitched birth notices, and my mum has a vast array of pieces, of varying quality, but there are only so many pieces of cross-stich you can fob off on friends and family.
So I had to find a new hobby and, since I suck at knitting, I thought I'd try my hand at crochet. I bought a kit and optimistically signed myself up for a one-day Learn To Crochet class at a local needlework store so I would have some idea of how to follow the "easy-to-follow" instructions in my flash new kit.
After about an hour in the class, though, I was just about ready to fall back on my cross-stitched cushion and sob like a little girl. The room in which the class was being held was freezing, my hands were numb and while all the other women around the table were halfway through their first granny square, I was staring at a line of knotted yarn that looked like it'd fallen off HMS Endeavour.
What the hell was I doing wrong? Buggered if I knew. Buggered if the teacher knew either - she would unravel the chain of knots I'd spent the past half-hour working on, make a few complicated passes with her hands and return my yarn, magically transformed into proper crochet, then pat me soothingly on the shoulder and head off to the next bewildered student.
I honestly thought about just putting my mass of knots on the table and walking out, but then, almost like the magic rubbed off on me, something clicked. It clicked with five minutes until the end of the class, but there it was - I knew how to create a double crochet stitch.
And that's what is in the picture at the start of the post - a scarf, made entirely out of double crochet stitches. It's a bit wobbly at the ends, and the Wayside Chapel's winter appeal will probably benefit from the next few things I try to make, but I was so proud of my first attempt at crochet I had to mention it.