I guess it all started several years ago with a handcrafted crocheted flower that I received as a Secret Santa gift from a not so secret lady called Lynne. The flower was a work of art and I was impressed by Lynne's talents. I vowed that one day I too would be able to give a crocheted gift to my loved ones for Christmas and so began my quest to learn how to crochet.
My first port of call was a wool shop (no easy matter in the Caribbean), however after a great deal of perseverance I detected a basket of wool under a table at a local fabric store. Success! I bought some tiny threads and an equally tiny crochet hook. After surfing the Internet and watching YouTube video after YouTube video of bionic-fingered-crochet-fiends crafting at super-sonic speeds, my carefully followed results looked like a knotted cluster of cobwebs. My fingers ached and my eyes hurt from the excesses of peering. Maybe crocheting wasn't for me. I gave up.
Forward a couple of years later and whilst browsing in a bookshop I stumbled upon a crocheting kit for children. The kit included a book, nice chunky wools and a beefy crochet hook that I could clearly see without squinting. It was like the Holy Grail of crochet kits and I purchased it immediately.
Upon arriving home I looked through the book and targeted my first project - a Granny Square. How difficult could this be? I read the instructions and sought to make sense of the coded letters. Magic circle? Double crochet? Yarn over? It reminded me of a time in my youth when I went camping to the magic circle of Mitchell's Fold.... I kind of forgot the tent poles and proceeded to drink double shots of vodka whilst yarning up in my sleeping bag. It was a difficult night and the crocheting was following a similar thread. If only I could make a magic circle.
However armed with my chunky wool I was more determined than before. It was March and Secret Santa would be upon me before I knew it. There was only one place to go... Back to the speed-hungry, crocheting You-Tubers who'd likely give Usain Bolt a run for his money. Again I encountered the despair, despite dutifully following their pesky instructions and non-cinematically enhanced fingers I continued to weave a tangled mess. I felt lied to. I felt betrayed.
And that's when she came to me, in a glorious puff of pink niceness and calming serenity: Bella Coco! Not only did Bella have pretty hand-crocheted flowers on her jumper, but she also talked about making a blanket based on your emotions (I loved her already). She was the first You-Tuber who explained to me super carefully how to create a Granny Square step-by-step. Her video footage showed me exactly what I needed to do and as I caught another tightly filmed slip-knot I began to suspect that Bella was most likely wearing a Go-Pro camera on her forehead.
Bella's tutorial resulted in the birthing of a Granny Square production line. Granny Square cushions, blankets, scarves! Secret Santa went into overdrive, but as with every high there followed the inevitable downer. What was I to do for Christmas next year?
Once more Bella stepped forward to save the day with an awesome tutorial on how to crochet snowflakes. It was like a dream come true and I was pretty chuffed to discover that the crocheted snowflakes made super pretty alternatives to Christmas baubles.
That Christmas my husband also bought me a "grown-up" crochet kit and I confess it filled me with dread. You see I couldn't find a Bella Coco reindeer tutorial. She had snowflakes, stockings, Christmas trees... But no reindeer and a reindeer featured prominently on the front of my professional pack. I studied the instructions and felt sick. Was this it? Had I reached the end of my crocheting career? Could I face any kind of crocheting future without Bella?
After a lot of heartache, I realised that Bella must surely have encountered similar obstacles in her crocheting career. Did she give up? Did she stop yarning over and making magic circles? Not likely. Bella would apply some lovely, pink nail polish and straighten up her GoPro camera and do her very best. I decided to be like Bella.
I carefully transcribed all the instructions and watched several Bella tutorials to help me get through. I slowly began to understand the written instructions and with great trepidation I started gaining confidence as I crocheted Rudolph's head. It took shape and my fingers started to move like those long admired YouTubers of old. I was on fire. A frenzy of hook and wool! And thereupon after a full day's crafting there appeared before me: Rudolph the slightly squiffy-eyed, red-nosed reindeer. I was delighted.
A huge thank-you to Bella Coco for her wonderful tutorials and for helping me find my crochet monster!