Here’s what really happened: It took me eleven months to start and a week to finish.
I was making the Shell Net Cowl from Crochet One-Skein Wonders as a gift for my sister. I special ordered Malabrigo Lace in the Lime Blue colorway, because its blues, greens and yellows have special significance for her. I made the base chain successfully; normally that’s the hardest part of any project for me, because I get distracted in the middle of the count. Then I set to work making a series of tiny shells and chains to form the first row.
The instructions said: DO NOT TWIST THE CHAIN!
They might have also said something about curses or woe if I were to twist the chain. Except my teeny tiny laceweight chain was almost impossible to see, much less keep straight. So I went to the kitchen table, smoothed out the entire chain, and very carefully laid in a shell with the chain in the correct orientation.
I did about three more, and went and did something else.
This went on for months. It’s a cowl that can be doubled over at least twice, yet I crocheting shells two or three at a time. Something about having to get the project out, orient it on a table, and carefully hold it still while I made the shell… ugh.
Fast forward to November: it was time to give the gift and I had maybe 30 shells done. Time for a new strategy. I threw all of the chain twisting rules out the window, picked the project up and held it like I normally do, and charged forward. If the chain twisted, screw it! It was a mobius cowl anyway; what’s the worst that could happen? In fact, nothing bad happened at all.
In this moment of truth, I learned something about crochet, and about myself. Following every pattern to the letter – requiring yourself to have everything just perfect before you move on – can keep you from doing anything at all. Sometimes it’s better to have a few twists in your chain, but a finished project, than to have empty hands.
Readers: have you ever gotten stuck on a particular pattern instruction, or on a tricky aspect of a pattern? How did you move forward?