In October, I started something I never dreamed I would start: crochet class. Last semester, I always left the nun’s home directly after Spanish class. But this year, I carved a little more time out of my schedule for the second hour of craft class.
My first class, I forgot to bring yarn with me. I sat with the other ladies and we chatted in Spanish and Arabic as I unraveled a sweater to recycle the yarn.
“I’m better at undoing than doing,” I warned María, the nun in charge of the class.
That day, I went to the store and bought a ball of yarn and my very first crochet hook. I still was less than enamored with the idea of crochet, but I knew I would enjoy the fellowship with the ladies.
It turns out that the fellowship came at a pretty steep price for me: my pride.
I was usually ahead of the ladies in Spanish class, but this time, they were far beyond me. Even when we started on the same level of nothingness, they were crocheting in squares by the second class. One show-off was even making a doily. I plugged away at my simple chain, class after class.
As a left-hander, I struggled to imitate instructions, especially since they came at me in rapid Andalusian. Not only that, but sitting in the courtyard made me vulnerable to anyone and everyone passing by on their way to class.
One moment, I would be wiggling my crochet hook through the invisible yarn triangle, and the next moment, my project would be whisked out of my hands and somebody else would take a shot at it. Or another would critique how I held my needle and try to teach me something new.
Once, an elderly nun came to teach me a stitch. A few minutes later, she came to check on me… only to be disappointed. “No, no, no! That’s not how you do it!”
I sighed and half-laughed to cover my frustration. “I think I need to practice in private.”
She backed away quickly. “Okay. Okay. You practice in private.”
I went home and watched youtube tutorials to no avail. I was a terrible crocheter.
One day, I went to the store and impulsively bought thicker yarn. (Maybe now I would be able to see what I was doing.)
I made a scarf. Success!
María proudly examined my work and told me that no one would even notice how I went from 13 squares to 12.