Ever since I could talk, which led to the invention of earplugs, I have been pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes by spinning yarns. Now I am using the wool in a ball of yarn to make a blanket that you can pull over your eyes and, since I can’t stop talking about it, your ears, too.
That’s because I have taken up crocheting.
I got hooked when I saw my wife, Sue, making a blanket for one of our young grandchildren. So I needled her to show me how it’s done.
First, I had to learn the basics.
“Are we working with yarn or wool?” I asked.
“Yarn,” Sue answered.
“What’s yarn made of?” I wanted to know.
“Wool,” said Sue.
I sighed and asked if she was using a hook or a needle.
“A hook,” Sue said. “Now,” she added, handing it to me, “take this needle.”
“I thought it was called a hook,” I said.
“It is,” Sue replied.
“This is going to be complicated,” I said.
Sue shook her head and said, “I might need a glass of wine.”
Thus began my first crochet tutorial, in which I proved to be a knit wit.
The main problem was digital.
“You have sausage fingers,” Sue told me.
“Hot or mild?” I asked.
“Neither,” she responded. “They’re too fat.”
In other words, I was all thumbs. It explained why I had an almost impossible time with the simplest stuff, like getting looped, which did not involve the wine Sue said she might need.
“Hold the hook in your right hand, the wool in your left and cross over to make a loop,” she instructed.
When I couldn’t get the hang of it, Sue said, “Follow my hands.” Then she showed me how to pull the wool through the loop.
“Make a circle through the first hole,” she said. “Take the yarn, wrap it around and pull it through.”
Then she said we were going to make something called a chain 3.
“So far,” I noted, “it’s Chain 3, Jerry 0.”
Sue shook her head again.
“I can see I don’t have you in stitches,” I said.
“You don’t have the yarn in stitches, either,” she retorted.
“Let me try again,” I said.
I fumbled the yarn, which kept falling off my index finger. I was going to use the middle finger, but Sue said it wouldn’t be proper crochet etiquette.
Time after time I tried to make stitches, loops, circles, chains and double crochets, also known as DCs. My efforts weren’t successful because I am another DC: dumb crocheter.
Finally, with Sue’s expert guidance and eternal patience, I managed to pull the wool through two loops, then two more.
“You did it!” Sue squealed. “Hooray!”
It was just the initial step in making a 6-inch square, 30 of which would be needed to complete the blanket.
Sue had to make dinner, so she suggested I go on YouTube and watch a video tutorial called “Hooked by Robin.”
In it, a nice Englishwoman named Batman (no, I mean Robin) used her fingers to walk me through the process of making what is known in crochet circles as a granny square.
“I’m going back to basics with the humble granny square,” Robin said at the beginning of the half-hour video. “This tutorial is for total beginners. So grab a cup of tea and crochet your very first granny square with me.”
I made myself a cup of Earl Grey, naturally, and went back to the video, which featured Robin’s slender fingers, a hook and some yarn.
“I’m going to show you how to do the first three rounds,” Robin said. “Then I’m going to show you how to change color.”
I wondered if the audience included chameleons.
Robin did what Sue showed me how to do, except I couldn’t stop her to ask questions or make stupid jokes. So I had to go back and rewatch certain parts.
Eventually, I got the hang of it and actually replicated my triumph with Sue.
I stopped the video and ran to show her.
“You did OK,” Sue said approvingly. “Your stitches are tight, but you’re doing a good job. You just have to practice. After a while, it becomes second nature.”
“With me,” I said, “it’s more like 92nd nature.”
“That’s not the half of it,” Sue said. “Once you make all these squares, you have to sew them together. It’s very time-consuming.”
“I don’t mind,” I said. “I just want to make a blanket that the kids will enjoy.”
“By the time you’re finished,” Sue predicted, “they might be in college.”
Jerry Zezima writes a humor column for Tribune News Service and is the author of six books. His latest is “One for the Ageless: How to Stay Young and Immature Even If You’re Really Old.” Reach him at [email protected] or via jerryzezima.blogspot.com.