Old Dogs and New Tricks

Jeep, our border collie rescue, turned 14 last July and had a bit of a rough road after a severe adverse reaction to Gabapentin. His vet thought it would help for hip pain, and I didn’t research it before giving it to him. Note to self: never do that again. Turns out it’s a seizure medication and often has horrendous side effects which Jeep experienced after just two doses. Long story short, after a summer of dizzy spells and eye rattling very much like vestibular disease, Jeep is about back to his old dog self again. And he’s found that laying on his toys helps with the hip pain and benadryl is warding off most of his vestibular symptoms.

Meanwhile, we’re not only still/back in lock-down, western Oregon weather has set in to stay for the winter and most of the spring, sigh. The days are short, cold, dreary and usually very wet. The rain was more than welcome after massive wildfires took out millions of acres and a couple of towns, but still, there is always the adjustment to being stuck indoors. Last year, I took up patchwork quilting and I still have a couple of unfinished projects to tackle. But, one evening, Facebook showed me an ad for a Crochet Club of the Month. Wow, what beautiful afghans! I did not know there were so many cool stitches!! I was hooked (ar ar).

But forget joining a club. I would buy some yarn on eBay and learn the stitches via YouTube. I owned a hook and knew how to single and double crochet, but that was it. I found an auction with a bunch of opened skeins of colors I liked and made a deal – the lot for $10 including shipping. The next day, Saturday, I went to our local dump with the recycles and saw that someone left a plastic drawer cabinet by the trash bin. It’s what we do at local dump sites, leave out stuff that someone might want. Did I mention it was raining? It’s always raining. But get this: it was a cabinet full of beautiful yarn, just waiting for me to put it to good use.

Score! I sorted out the yarns, snagging the colors I wanted and saving the rest for a friend. It all went into the utility room to dry next to the water heater and shed whatever nasty bugs that might be hanging on. Meanwhile, my eBay purchase arrived and it was time to get started.

I found some stitches I liked that were allegedly easy for beginners: the block stitch, the puff stitch, the dragonfly stitch, and the shell stitch. FYI here are links to two of them: Dragonfly Stitch and Block Stitch. Bella Coco has a lot of good tutorials including the puff and shell. I made little samplers and wrote notes on them to remind me of what to do.

I gave the extra yarn to my friend and while there, outside and six feet apart, she walked me through the shell stitch, which I was having trouble with. That’s the one at the top, with some double crochet with deliberate holes practice. Here was my earlier attempt, when I neglected to skip two between shells. Oops. That’s the puff stitch above the mistake shells.

Finally, I was ready to start on my afghan! It’s what I do now while we watch the news in the evening. Crochet is turning out to be relaxing and satisfying, plus as the afghan grows in size, it keeps my legs warm. Happy winter!

Waffle stitch on the bottom, bead stitch on the top

PS I decided against the puff stitch because it’s “one sided” in that it doesn’t look right when turned over. Same goes for the start and the waffle stitches, alas, because they are fun to do. So I learned the bead stitch, which is also fun. That’s the light blue section I recently completed. I have no idea what’s next.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Susan Jerde says:

    I will never look at crochet the same again- and it was nice to visit with Jeep last week. We are still studying those Japanese winter squash.

  2. Barbara Gregorich says:

    Love this blog! So happy that Jeep is better, and so happy you are learning all those crochet stitches and putting them to good use. (You do know that you’ll have to stop crocheting the afghan at some point and start another, don’t you? Unless you intend to cover everybody in the house!) Whenever I’m confused about a stitch, I check a youtube video: learn so much from them.

    1. Robin Koontz says:

      Thank you, Barbara! And Jeep says Woof. Yeah I know I have to stop at some point, though covering everybody in the house sounds very cozy.

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