MY most unusual accomplishment during the lockdown years was to enroll in Amigurumi — the Japanese doll-making crochet craft.

I chose because that was what has been popping up in my social media feeds. There I learned the basics of making single, half-double, double, and triple crochet stitches before learning how to make a ball using just the single crochet. Making a ball requires a magic ring from which you go round and round using single crochets in a spiral of increasing and decreasing stitches. In decreasing, the stitches look clumsy because you’re gathering two stitches into one. But later you’d discover that there is such a thing as invisible decrease where you just gather the front loops and thus lessen the bulk.

Since it’s a spiral, then the next layer is always jagged, a step up. Again, you’d later learn that there is such a thing as invisible join! And there are many ways to make one. Having tried many, I finally made my own simplified, which I’m happy with.

One thing nice about Amigurumi is that you can already make a lot of toys with just the single crochet stitch. But the big sister asked a pair of bedroom slipper-socks. I checked patterns and realized, it has so many stitches I was unfamiliar with, so I searched for the simplest. The simplest uses single crochets. Except that... it is soooo tedious, too many stitches and because it’s single crochet and I’m using a thick acrylic yarn that was just given to me the resulting piece is thick. (We use milk cotton for our Healing Hearts Bears so I don’t have use for the acrylic, but it’s a waste to just stock it unused.) Using the thick yarn with single crochet, the slipper also looked very tightly-crocheted ergo hot to use, definitely not for a tropical country. So I innovated using the triple crochet stitch. I’m well on my way to finishing the pair when I found out that, again, there is a better way to make the triple crochet. Maybe next time.

Bottomline, crocheting like life is a never-ending learning. I’m proud to say that just a year after learning Amigurumi, I am now making and writing my own patterns. Others are happy just buying or looking for free patterns to make. I’m not. The fun part is in discovering and expanding one’s knowing.

Indeed, learning is never-ending if you choose it to be.

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