Saturday, October 11, 2008


Sometimes it’s good to break out of habit and do things differently. For Hooked on Murder, Dead Men Don’t Crochet and By Hook or Crook, my pattern of working has been pretty much the same. I would drink my morning coffee and handwrite on a yellow legal pad. Then sometime later I would type what I’d written into my computer.

It seemed to always take longer to type in what I’d written and I would end up continuing with the yellow pads, while trying to catch up with putting everything into the computer. It was easy to get the yellow sheets mixed up and there was the issue of reading my handwriting.

So, as I began my fourth book for now titled Murder and the Marshmallow Stitch, I thought I would cut out a step. No more yellow pads. I’d just go write to typing it in the computer. Sure that it would be faster, I tried working that way for a month. Usually I wait until I finish the first draft to read what I have, but this time, I started reading after completing three chapters.

I’m glad I didn’t wait. It was obvious when I read the fourth time I’d stopped in mid sentence and started the beginning over again that going right to the computer just wasn’t working. Oddly enough, it wasn’t faster either. When I work on the yellow pads, my pen can’t seem to move fast enough. Not so when it was my fingers on the keyboard.

So, this morning, I pulled out my pile of yellow pads and found a nice pen and started handwriting from where I’d left off typing.

So maybe it was good to try something different, but the old way worked better.

I had different experience with a crochet project I just started. I want to make a pair of wrist warmers. I happen to have very long arms and sleeves never cover my wrists, so aside from being cute, they seem useful. Generally crochet starts with a row of chain stitches, but this pattern mixes the row of chain stitches with the first row of double crochets. In essence you do the foundation chain stitches and the first row at the same time. They are called extended stitches and though I’ve seen them a few times before, it seems to be a new idea. I mentioned them to the leader of my crochet group and she had never heard of them.

At first the directions looked confusing. But as I did the first row, all of a sudden I understood what I was doing and it made perfect sense and was much easer than making the chains stitches and then doing the first row. Now I’m curious to see if I can change other patterns into using these extended stitches.

This time the new way might just change how I crochet from now on. I guess it’s good to have an open mind.


Monica Ferris said...

I, too, seem to learn by doing. I can figure something out in my head, read an article or essay - or book! - about something and think I understand it, but it's by putting my hands on the thing that I learn how it really works. I often call it "learning where the catch is," because somehow all the writing seems to leave out some essential element I only discover by trying it out.

Betty Hechtman said...

Yes, Monica, that's it exactly. As I was doing the extended stitch, I had this aha moment when it all made sense.