I can’t say for sure I’m swearing off crochet, but I’m pretty sure I’m done with crochet patterns.

I like to tell people I’m too stupid to crochet. I used to think it was kind of amusing that, in response to that, my grandmother gave me the book Crochet for Dummies. I’m finding it less and less humorous these days. The more I try to follow a pattern written for crochet, the more I feel like I really am just too stupid to grasp the concept.

If I felt like giving myself a little credit (which, really, I shouldn’t, because I’m a horrible excuse for a human being, and every hurt I suffer is karmic retribution for that, but let’s pretend we’re in a more optimistic timeline), I could say that I’m just too mechanical for crochet. After all, knitting can be done by machines specifically designed and programmed for that task; crochet must be done by hand. I can do just fine with a knitting pattern because all the stitches are held, as is my hand. They’re lined up for easy counting. And there are really only so many ways you can go into a knit stitch, whereas there are far more options in crochet. And as such, there are far more opportunities to screw up in a spectacular fashion. Try as I might, I am not one to let pass an opportunity to screw something up spectacularly.

The thing is, I don’t even know how to explain what I’m not getting, which is why I’m just going to stop now and tiptoe out the door through the shattered remnants of my dignity. Twice, I have tried to crochet socks. (Actually, three times: I tried the first pattern twice, then I tried a different pattern, which made it pretty clear that I was the problem.) The first time, I just ran out of yarn, although if I hadn’t, I would have gotten stuck in the same place: where the heel is supposed to be decreasing in stitches, I’m getting more and I don’t understand why. Well, technically I am not decreasing my stitch count because I am not doing decreases, which you would think would be kind of necessary to the process, but apparently you can achieve the same effect with some turning and slip stitching. Except I, well, can’t.

So, thinking maybe I just needed something that was worded differently, I tried another pattern. I managed to get through the toe okay, but I couldn’t decipher the lace pattern:

Ch 3. 1 dc in next st

Easy enough.

beg dc2tog. 3 dc in next sc

Begin a pattern of dc2tog, 3dc in the next sc. That’s not quite making sense, because I literally can’t do that. You can’t decrease by crocheting two together in just one stitch. So are you supposed to decrease two together, then 3 dc in the second sc, or the one immediately following the decrease? Or is it saying “begin with a dc2tog,” as you sometimes see in knitting stitch patterns), then 3 dc in the sc following the decrease? That would seem to be what the period suggests. The instructions following this aren’t very illuminating, either:

(Draw up a loop in next st. Yoh and draw through 2 loops on hook)
twice. Yoh and draw through all loops on hook – dc2tog made.

Okay, the instructions in the parentheses? That’s a single crochet. Draw up loop, yarn over, draw through both loops. Telling me to do it twice is just saying I should make 2 sc. That’s not double crocheting two together. I cannot then proceed to YO and draw through all loops on hook, because there is only one loop on the hook, because all I’ve done is sc twice.

It’s all very frustrating for someone who thinks in a fairly linear fashion, and it shines a fairly bright spotlight on some of my favorite shortcomings: my legendary impatience, my propensity to insult things I can’t master (I mean, it’s not like I’m missing out on much by not being able to do this, because knit fabric is both nicer to wear and more attractive), and incapacity for abstract thought.

I’m not saying I’m going to throw away my hooks or anything like that. (Especially not my Lion hooks, which you will have to pry out of my cold, gnarled hands.) I think I’ll just stick to things like blankets and granny squares.