Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Bumpy crochet

Yesterday, Zebra-girl and Dinosaur-boy returned to school. The night before, I had gone into the understairs cupboard to retrieve Zebra-girl's school shoes for polishing and was struck by how quickly the last two-weeks had passed. It seemed like only a few days ago that I had gleefully hurled the shoes into the darkness, a symbolic act, representing long-lazy days, freedom and perfect happiness...while conversely, getting them back out again seems to sink my spirit slightly.

So I was really pleased to have something wonderful planned to distract me from that awful first day back (unfortunately there was no such distraction for my little Zebra, although thankfully I think I miss her far more than she misses me). I had booked myself and Ian's mother onto a all-day beginners crochet course. I have previously invested in relevant books, watched and re-watched videos of crochet manoeuvres on U-tube, sent crisis emails to Joanne (she of the lime-coloured crochet) calling for assistance, but despite all this specialist help, still I was unable to create anything other than a foundation chain. It seems to me to be something that needs to be taught in person. However, twenty minutes into the course, with my yarn wrapped around my fingers and my hook creating knots seemingly all by itself, I was suddenly overcome with a sense of absolute panic: a realisation that this may be something that I was not going to be capable of doing and a very real feeling of wanting to run from the room. It made me realise that as adults we are very much in control of choosing whether we expose ourselves to challenge, and also reminded me of the sense of powerlessness, that so often overwhelmed me as a child, at being required to do things that I simply did not feel capable of doing, either on the playing fields or in the mathematics lessons.

Luckily, as an adult, I managed to stay sitting on my seat and somehow crocheted my way through my feelings of panic, to eventually be rewarded by the production of a wonky, bumpy, but hard-earned motif! Horay! By the end of the day I was absolutely amazed to have partially mastered slip stitches, double crochet, half-treble and treble crochet, and to have the skills to vaguely follow a pattern to such a degree as to produce a tangible 'thing'. Once the children were tucked up in bed (Grandmama had kindly looked after them for the day)I decided that I would add to the motif and make it into a round cushion for Dinosaur-boy's room and so began to add another shade of blue to its circular self.

The picture above is taken from this amazing book that Mr Teacakes mother bought: 200 Crochet Blocks, it is full of inspirational little blocks like this one and the patterns look clear and well-written...even though I'm not sure that I personally would be capable of following them! She also purchased the yarn at the top of this post and shared them out so that we had half a ball of each colour - what kindness.

On a completely unrelated and uncrafty tangent, I saw something in the JoJo Maman Bebe catalogue a while ago...and somehow I haven't been able to get it out of my head. It has disturbed me. Its name is seemingly innocuous: a Time Out Pad, but as I read the description for it I found myself waiting to get to the bit where it reveals that this bizarre little invention is also capable of administering electric shocks should the offender move from the pad (don't worry, thankfully it doesn't). At first I couldn't put my finger on why I found the sale of this (from a company whose children's clothing I adore) so offensive and worrying, so when Ian came home I discussed it with him, and we both thought that it is fundamentally flawed on many levels, for using this seems to represent a conscious decision to hand your role as a parent over to a machine and takes away any element of parental trust in your child's ability to do what you've asked (and building this trust is surely the eventual aim of a child taking a moment out of a situation?), but more than either of these aspects, I felt really anxious that some poor child might happen to shuffle around during his 'time-out', or may sit on just the wrong side of the sensor, or may even be the victim of a malfunctioning machine, all of which would result in the screeching of a false alarm, mistakenly telling the parents that the child had dared to move. I cannot imagine being a child living in an age where rather than just a momentarily spiteful older sibling, you actually have machines that can 'tell' on you. This seems sad.

Anyway, I shall now hold back from making any more weird observations on discipline devices and instead say that it has been so lovely to hear all your favourite words - I can't tell you how much I have been delighted by reading through them! If you still haven't entered my very small giveaway, and want to, it's in the post below...I will probably draw a pair of winners a little later in the week.

23 comments:

  1. Alright, that "thing" is just too weird. Very 19th century. Instead of an alarm, it needs a robotic voice "Warning! Subject Is Leaving The Pad!"

    As to the crochet, keep going. There is a world of cute creatures out there that crochet up really fast and the Zebra Girl and Dinosaur Boy will love.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm with you on the gadget thingy Florence; what happened to doing the parenting oneself? Terrifying prospect.

    The crochet looks to be coming on a treat. I did relate to what you wrote about school though; oh the churned up stomach (and that's just from thinking about it!) xx

    ReplyDelete
  3. The gadget sounds awful. I think you should write to them. As to the crochet, I have never mastered it so perhaps you could give me a quick lesson when I'm next around?? I would love to be able to do it, there are such pretty things to make. I will wait for the photo of Zebra Girl tackling her new project with her mummy

    ReplyDelete
  4. Fab crochet, never mastered it myself, frustrating as I'm usually a Jack of all trades. You're right about the gizzmo, I think it does undermine parents trust in their own ability to manage a situation. I have, like all mothers, a sixth sense for when a bum has moved off the bottom step. I wonder if there's room for two on the mat as whenever I send Will to the step Anna shows solidarity and goes to sit with him. (Even if he is there for being really horrid to her!)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Well done on the crochet!
    I have mastered basic crochet but really need a few lessons to help me when I 'turn' so that what I am making does not get continuosly smaller!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Well Done Florence on mastering crochet - it is something I very much want to learn, Sarah at 'pink-petal designs' recommended the 'crochet for Dummies' book, so I thought I would order it and give it a go, failing that I shall endeavour to find a crochet course near me! - Natalie x

    ReplyDelete
  7. Love the crochet - go you! I'm only a little bit sad that it isn't green...

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ha...have laughed in hysterical horror at the time out pad on several parenting sites...just can't believe anyone would use such a thing. Actually I mentioned it to my mother monday night and I thought the phone had gone dead, she was so shocked.

    Good job on the crochet - it really flies once you get going, doesn't it? Have picked it up recently myself and am suddenly becoming a hat person (of course, now I have a fabulous cosy cashmere hat the sun is shining). Try some soft, chunky yarn - it comes together so quickly it feels like cheating!

    ReplyDelete
  9. The time out pad seems a little excessive - we seen to get by with only our stocks and the occasional threat of the dunking stool.

    And I am in awe of the crochet - not something I have tried, but I keep coming across knitting patterns with crochet edges. Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Well done on your perserverance with the crochet - I can't do it AT ALL so I am very impressed.

    I find all these electronic child devices rather unsettling and upsetting. It is all about trust and security between parent and child.

    April xx

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wonky! You said "Wonky"!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I've got the crochet bug too! It's highly addictive. Have you got the Happy Hooker book? It's great for quick references when you're stuck.

    Check out the amigurumi patterns too...

    ReplyDelete
  13. I am sure they would do far better sitting on a lovely blanket made from your crochetd squares so that they could wrap themselves up in something lovely to help them calm down . A time out blanket seems a far better idea

    ReplyDelete
  14. Having tried to Tatt on Saturday, I can really empathise - that craft was really out of my comfort zone, and although I can now move knot and shuttle, it was touch and go. But I do think that it is good to be reminded that not everything is "easy" and requires something of us.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Good grief, if I hadn't seen the photographic evidence I'd have thought that you were joking about the pad. What will they do next - incorporate shackles?

    Crochet eluded me for years too, but I recently figured it out and now I seem to spend more time crocheting that knitting - eeek.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Your crochet is lovely - I am another one who has only mastered the foundation chain, but boy would I love to be able to crochet beautiful squares and flowers...one day. It's on my 'to learn' list :)

    And I'm with you on the time out pad thing. I saw it here in Aust and thought the same thing. I have a similar disquiet about the LeapPad things that teach kids how to read. Not that they're bad in themselves perhaps, but to think they may be used so that you don't have to read to your children yourself, or help them learn to read...well...I find that quite sad. Plus, I LOVE reading to them - especially when they start to recognise words and can help me with the reading. For me it's the fun part of parenting. I wouldn't WANT to miss that!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Very Jealous of your Crocheting, I too am trying to learn, but I keep going wrong on the corners and my tension, both with the needle and my nerves are somewhat to be desired!!
    Andrea
    x

    ReplyDelete
  18. Good work on the crochet. Looks lovely. That picture from the book is very pretty. I'd like to try it though the last thing I need is another project.

    I agree that the "time out" pad looks pretty awful. Whatever happened to just LOOKING at your children.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Love your beautiful colourful blog. I am afraid, as far as hadicrafts go, I am alarmingly incompetent. But I enjoyed your photographs and I love your writing style.

    ReplyDelete
  20. OK, so, I never used Time out in our house as a punishment.... it took me a while to realise that you were talking about a Supernanny style time out. I had images of a special pad that massaged the parent to relax them when they were taking time out..... and mentally I was adding a teasmade to the list of essential features it needs.
    Actually, getting it and sitting on it and telling the children that Mumsy can't move in case she sets the alarm off is about the most sensible use of the time out pad I can think of.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi Florence,
    Your crocheting looks perfect from the photo. I am impressed. I have always felt that crochet is best learned by watching an expert. I need to find an expert!
    Love the rant.... this world is going mad isn't it... what next?
    Enjoy your weekend.
    Ginny
    x

    ReplyDelete
  22. This post reminds me of when my mum war learning to crochet. She started by making little cup holders. They all turned into hats for some reason. My Barbie was so fasionable that year! Deb x

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hello, my first visit here! Your blog is lovely! So is your crochet. I'm learning to crochet at the moment, so this post was especially inspiring. So many good things you share here--I look forward to coming back. Happy Days to you & yours :o)

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x