In today's story, Crochet Party, some friends get together to try a new craft
Today's prompt was inspired by a recent project where I crocheted a tissue box cover because I couldn't find one that I liked in a store. If you're curious about that project, I put pictures and a free pattern on my website: Crochet Tissue Box Cover
As always, today's story was free-written from the prompt with no planning and very little editing. It wandered its way to an end and now I kind of want to host a crochet party of my own! If you enjoy today's story, please share it with your friends and leave a review for Freely Written. Thank you!
More about Susan Quilty
Susan Quilty mainly writes novels, including two standalone novels and her current YA series: The Psychic Traveler Society. Susan's short stories for Freely Written are created during quick writing breaks and shared as a way to practice her narration skills before she dives into recording audio versions of her novels.
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Below is the transcript for Season 1, Episode 87 of Freely Written, a podcast by author Susan Quilty:
Welcome to Freely Written where a simple prompt leads to a little unplanned fiction.
[Light piano music]
Hi, friends! I’m Susan Quilty and today’s prompt is Crochet Party.
Today’s prompt came up after I pulled some yarn from my stash and crocheted a tissue box cover. I haven’t crocheted anything in a while but after browsing tissue box covers and not finding what I wanted, I decided to try making my own. It worked out pretty well, and I jotted down a pattern that’s shared on my website. I’ll add a link in the show notes in case you want to check it out.
I do enjoy crocheting and knitting, but I don’t do either regularly. I have to be in the mood for it, I guess. Or maybe it’s because I usually chose advanced projects that take a lot of frogging and restarting before I get them right. That’s where this tissue box ended up being a good project. Something I could finish quickly.
Since I have crochet on my mind, I opted for a crochet themed writing prompt for today’s story. As always, the story is free-written. Here’s what that means on this podcast: I sit down with a prompt and write whatever comes to mind, with no planning and very little editing. When it’s done, I share that story with you.
And here’s the story that came up today:
Will you teach me to crochet? A question packed with excitement and dread. Do I want to share a hobby I love with a friend? Yes, of course. Do I want to be responsible for getting them past fumbling fingers and frustration? Not so much.
But when Allie asked me to teach her how to crochet, I said yes. She said she understood that it might not be easy, and progress would be slow going. I wanted to believe her. She seemed like the type who might enjoy crocheting once she got the hang of it. But I’ve thought that about friends before.
She suggested a chill night at her place. Order in food. Sit around with some yarn and hooks while she learned the basics. Her goal was to make a baby blanket, but I told her it would be better to play around with some swatches first. Just make some squares to get the feel of the craft and not worry about a finished project yet. I wanted to set the bar low.
Two days before our crochet dinner, Allie texted that her sister was going to join us. Meg had learned a little crochet years ago, so she wasn’t a total beginner, though she’d never actually made anything. She just needed a refresh so she could try again.
I was uneasy but said yes. I mean, could I really say no? It was at Allie’s house, and she hadn’t exactly asked my opinion. Just let me know Meg was coming, then tacked on a That’s okay, right?
I liked Meg and hadn’t seen her in a while, so it sounded okay. Despite the faint warning bells echoing in my head.
An hour before I headed to Allie’s place, she sent a text saying: Hey, word got out. Deb and Michelle really want to learn, too. I know it’s more work, but we can pay you if you want?
Did I want to be paid to teach my friends to crochet? No. Did I think I could teach four students instead of one? Not really. But I wasn’t going to say that. I texted back, No need to pay me! I’ll grab some extra yarn and hooks.
It was Allie’s next text that sent the alarms clanging. She said, No need, I told everyone to bring their own! It’ll be a crochet party!
Hmm. Bringing their own yarn could mean anything. Most likely it meant they were armed with high hopes for specific projects, not the simple swatches I’d promised Allie.
I grabbed some skeins of light colored, worsted weight yarn—easy for beginners to work with—and two variety packs of hooks. Then said a little prayer for patience and drove over.
When I got there, Allie and Meg had already opened the wine and were flipping through a glossy book of baby blanket patterns. The kind that featured lacy designs, bobble stitches, circular motifs, and everything else far beyond a beginning hooker. And, yes, that’s what crochet crafters are called.
A few skeins of yarn in various weights were spread on the dining table. Most of them were in dark variegated colors. Some were novelty yarns with sequins or beads pre-attached. Before I could broach the potential difficulties and explain you need more than one skein for most projects, Deb and Michelle showed up waving mini Amigurumi kits.
“We can make cute little stuffed animals!”
They were so excited, I accepted a glass of wine and said we could give the kits a try. My fear was setting in.
“But let’s do a few basic stitches with the yarn I brought first,” I suggested gently. “Just to get the hang of it.”
Of course, they all agreed. You’re the teacher! We’re ready to learn!
They gathered around the table, hooks and yarn ready. I took a sip of wine, demonstrated a slip knot, and got a boost from their early success. Slip knots all around after only two tries.
“Oh, wait!” Allie called out. “We need to order food. Who wants what?”
Food ordered, we got back to it. Chaining stitches went fairly well, earning a toast with large sips that didn’t bode well for later dexterity. I pushed on, hoping to build on their excitement.
“Slip your hook into the second chain from the hook.”
Blank faces all around.
“Like this, see.” I held up my yarn, showing them how to slip the hook through the chain and pull up a loop of yarn for their first single crochet.
“Oh, I remember this!” Meg announced. “But you skipped the part where you loop the yarn around the hook first.”
“Uh, no, you don’t do that for a single crochet.”
“What’s a single crochet?”
I started to explain the difference between the basic stitches, single crochet, double crochet, half-double crochet…
“Half-double crochet?” Deb jumped in to say that didn’t make sense. “Isn’t a half-double a single?”
They were frowning. I was losing them.
“Well, no… Here, hold on.” I stitched rapidly, setting up a foundation chain.
They chimed in with a chorus of Too fast! Are we supposed to do that? I need more wine!
“No, just watch,” I said, hoping to tap back into their earlier engagement. “I’m setting this up so I can show you some different stitches.”
“Do we need those for these kits?” Michelle squinted at the back of a package.
“The video I watched earlier didn’t mention them,” Deb said knowingly.
Allie pulled out a second bottle of wine, saying, “Maybe we should start with the kits and go from there?”
Their expectant faces made me reach for another sip of wine. I told myself I could do this. I just needed to get them to the next step. A successful few stitches to show they could do it.
“Yeah, we’ll get to the kits,” I promised, “but you’ll need to know what I’m showing you to do them.”
“You haven’t looked at the instructions yet,” Deb pointed out. The others’ expressions showed their silent agreement with her.
“Right, but I’ve made Amigurumi before.”
“Amigu-what?” Deb asked. “These are little stuffed animals.”
Their skepticism was growing.
“Yeah, I know. That’s what those little 3D crochet projects are called. It’s Japanese.”
Michelle flipped to the front of the package, searching for the word and not finding it.
I was rapidly losing credibility to a beginner crochet kit. But that was okay. It was a crochet party. I just needed to make it fun. So, I had another sip of wine.
We made it through a few single crochets on their starting chains and everyone’s spirits lifted. We toasted their progress and kept going to the end of the chain.
My confidence rose. This was going great.
So, I said, “When we do the kits, you’ll have to join the chain to make a loop before doing these stitches and work on the round. But for this, I’ll show you how to turn your work to start the next row.”
“You’ve got this!” I promised, then took another sip of wine.
After a few attempts, we turned the swatches and started on a second row. Another cheer for progress. Another toast. A few more rows across their swatches. A few more toasts to their progress.
The doorbell ring and Allie hopped up.
“Food’s here!” She skipped to the door, and I heard her tell they delivery guy, “We’re having a crochet party!”
I didn’t want to stop our momentum, but we couldn’t eat and crochet, so the hooks went down and the phones came out.
“Here’s the video I watched earlier,” Deb announced, angling her phone for others to see.
“Here’s the scarf I want to make!” Michelle flashed her screen.
“Here’s the book Meg brought!” Allie announced, spreading it open in the middle of the table.
I sat back and watched them, wondering how hard it would be to get back on track after the dinner break. They were here to learn. They had visions of walking out with cute little crochet animals. I couldn’t let them down.
“This is so much better than book club,” Deb announced, and everyone agreed. “I have no time to read but this is something we can do together.”
“And leave with a project!” Michelle agreed, waving her two-inch swatch in the air. “Look how much we learned already!”
“Right?” Meg agreed. “This was a good start. We can open the kits next time.”
“Next time?” They all turned to me hopefully.
“You’ll keep teaching us, right?”
“You want to meet again?” I looked at their tiny swatches, the unopened crochet kits, and their happy smiles. “I mean, you’re having fun?”
“Yeah, this is great!” They all agreed.
“You said it’d take time, right?” Allie reminded. “This was a pretty good start, wasn’t it?"
I blinked at them, wondering when I became the one with the high expectations.
“Uh, yeah, this was a great start!”
And that’s how our crochet party became our crochet club.
I had no idea where that story would go, but I do wish I was part of a crochet club. For me, crochet is a very occasional hobby. I spend most of my time writing my novels, which you can learn about on my website, which is SusanQuilty.com.
Remember, you can listen to past stories in any order, share your favorites with your friends, and write a review wherever you listen to podcasts. Thank you for listening and for all of your support!
Until next time, try a little free writing of your own. Let go of any planning and see where your imagination takes you.
[Light piano music]