Wednesday, October 5, 2005

... not horsing around ...

There is a story of a man who went out to a pub one night.  He enjoyed himself a bit "too much"  and realized that if he were drive his team home and be found drunk by the authorities that he'd be thrown into jail.  So he thought about his situation and came up with a solution.  Sure enough, the authorities caught up with him on his way home and they asked, "Have you been drinking, sir?"  He replied honestly, "Yes I have."  The authorities then asked him to explain how it came to be that he was tethered to pull a cart with two horses in it.  "Well," he said, "it's against the law to drink and drive, but there's no law against drinking and pulling."  The authorities had to let him go.  {{chuckles}} I'm sure they must have had confused faces as much as the horses in the cart did!  {{more chuckles}}  (go ahead, click onto the link; you know you want to! heh heh heh)

I bring this story up because there's an old adage to never put the cart before the horse, or as Ruth said to me at our "Coffee, Crochet & Chat" session today, "you're not to butter your bread before toasting it," and this all relates to comments recently made by a judge about crochet work my daughter recently submitted.

To back up this story a bit, my daughter graduated this year from just creating simple crochet chain stitches to crocheting the single crochet.  It was a major accomplishment and she's still working on tension, yarning over, hook holding positions, and stitch counting.  For her entry she crocheted a pink purse.  She had to learn how to do rows, which includes remembering to do her turning chains (she frogged that project over a dozen times until her rows started resembling "normalcy") She had to learn the difference of working through both loops, or working through just one -- and why it makes a difference.  It was a lot of work for her, and she was proud of her accomplishment. 

She did not win a ribbon for her entry, which is fine.  This is something we discussed as a possibility.  But when she read the judge's comments that she should concentrate on her joinings (seams) it caused a lot of confusement for her.  "Does the judge mean I should have learned how to sew first, Mommy," she asked.  "Good question," was my reply to her.

When I first read the judge's comments I too was a bit baffled.  It could have been the "Mommy" in me wanting to put that protective wing around my daughter to protect her feelings, or it could have been all of my training in becoming a Crochet Teacher and thinking there's a disregard for the "laws of learning" here, or maybe it was just a common sense thing to me ...  I'm not sure really, but I think the judge was way off base and apparently I'm not the one that feels the way I do.

The "Mom" in me thinks that the judge is not very knowledgeable about crochet.  After all there was not one comment made about her crochet stitches; about those rows she worked so hard on.  In looking at my daughter's work I can see clear as day that she has some problems with tension.  The "Teacher" in me thinks the judge needs to reexamine this piece and make more appropriate comments in regard to the work -- primarily the stitching.  After all, she's only eight  and she's still a beginner crocheter.  And, let me add, I don't know of ANY beginner who first learned how to crochet by learning how to do joinings (seams) first.  Do you?

Since this is not the first time the judging at this event has come into question, like the man in the story from the beginning of this entry, I will attempt to solve the problem, or at least draw some attention to it.   I will ask my daughter to write a letter to the coordinator of the event letting them know that she found the judge's comments confusing.  I'll include my own thoughts and offer my services to assist the judge (or be the judge) for the crochet department next year.  At the very least, discussing the issue will help highlight that there's a problem.

In my humble opinion and experience, I would never tell a beginner to put the cart before the horse.  (go ahead, click onto this link too; you know you want to! heh heh heh) Seaming comes after stitch perfection, not before, and I'm not horsing around on this one.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations to your daughter for entering the contest....My 8 year old can chain stitch, but I'm not sure the best way to take it from there....and boy do I understand that "protective wing" sounds like to me the judge was a little bit harsh in his/her judging....but these are what I call "character building moments"....

Anonymous said...

Dee,  I believe that often people judging children forget that they are children.  Honestly, I'm 36 and I still have trouble with my  Good for your sweet girl and don't let her give up.