Thank you! Y'all are so nice. So nice. More expressive than the feline set, certainly, though I will say that Violet has not left the ripple blanket in, what, three days now, so that's cat-ified appreciation for ya. It occurred to me early last night as I clambered into my ripply nest again with a huge, exhausted sigh (it's been a tough week, I have to say) that I might actually love the blanket enough for all of us combined. But thank you, as ever, for all the ripple love. I'm very flattered that it would inspire anyone else. I hope that everyone learns to crochet, I really do.
I learned to crochet about six years ago from the book Crocheting for Dummies and the first thing I made was one little granny square. I was in my late 20s before I even tried to knit or crochet; I did neither as a child. I'd had to "learn" to knit several times over several years before I could finally do it, and I'm still just a beginner. I was certainly not a natural. But I picked up crochet in one night, for some reason. It just felt right to me, especially after my knitting issues.
Nevertheless, whenever I teach people to crochet, I am careful to not over-emphasize how "easy" it supposedly is. A lot of people start knitting or crocheting when they have real need to relax, or do something fun, or whatever — I've noticed that there are often life-circumstances that precipitate learning to knit or crochet. And when it turns out that you don't pick up this "easy" thing that everyone on earth seems to be able to do in five minutes, or that you're all thumbs, or that you are the worst in the whole class (and with knitting I definitely was), you can get kind of double stressed-out, because you're really not in the mood to add more challenges to your life, or feel incompetent, or hear about how much fun everyone else is having with it.
So I always try to encourage people to not worry. To slow down, look at the directions again, keep trying. It takes practice. No matter how naturally it comes, it takes practice before you develop any kind of muscle-memory. And at some point there will be a "moment" where you "get" it — much like riding a bike. For quite a while you will be stuck in the technical stuff — balancing, pedaling, turning, moving uncomfortably through the motions, possibly wiping out, stopping to fetch a Band-Aid. But then there will be that small, smooth, bright moment when you are not conscious of every movement and the wheels are still turning, and you're moving forward, down the block, toward the park. There's the park! You're thinking about the park, and still vertical. . . . Aw, you've got it now.
The benefits — well, the benefits of dinking around with a ball of yarn are extraordinary. One of the best cures in the world. Worth every scraped knee, don't you think?