Going to the dark side

Japanese crochet books

Who would have thought?

After decades of ignoring anything crochet, two days ago I found myself at Kinokuniya in Little Tokyo (these things just happen to me) where a seriously depleted knitting shelf (emphasis on the singular) forced me to look around the other craft shelves and against my better judgement I picked up two crochet books.

Before the crochet crowd starts throwing rocks at me, let me explain that by “against my better judgement” I mean nothing disparaging regarding crochet, only that if you decide to learn a new skill, getting your trainer books in Japanese is not the sanest option.

In my defense I can say that my judgement had been impaired by a convergence of brain-draining factors:

— Constant construction work around the house for several weeks this time, with at least two weeks of sawing, cutting, rotating blades ablaze, dust and noise at record levels.

— A sudden spike in errands and things that needed to be done now, including medical and dental stuff. After yesterday’s radioactive pill I am positively glowing.

— A five-day-long smell attack on our house that made the place stink like a body farm in a bad CSI show. We suspect a rather large animal died under the house (we are on a slope and such spaces abound) and with temperatures in the 90s until two days ago… you get the picture. Well, finally the decomp smell subsided and we were enjoying an evening of TV and reading when a skunk decided to restore our olfactory environment to Code Red.

Tile cutting station

Tile cutting station conveniently located under my office window.

As you can see, it’s not that I am going gaga; I had objective reasons for not being at my best when I set foot in that Kinokuniya store.

Tile surgery

Tile surgery

But back to crochet. In case you wonder why I never had the urge before, the main reason is that to me the process of crocheting “hardens” the yarn. If the same yarn is used to knit or crochet, the knitted item will be softer and nicer to touch, and warmer to wear. As a result, until now the only crocheted items I liked were straw/rafia/cord bags and hats. On top of that, I never cared for the granny square look. Then a couple of weeks ago I happened to come across the photo of a shawl crocheted with Kidsilk Haze that looked as soft and fluffy as any knitted shawl. Time to revise my opinion of crochet, me thinks.

Any good crochet tutorial in English or Italian that you know of?
I get the gist of the individual Japanese symbols since I can look them up, but run into problems of interpretation when it comes to putting them together.

Any tips from the pros?