Some assembly required

Today I started putting the finishing touches on the crocheted violets for my mother’s now one-day (soon to be two days) late Mother’s Day gift.

I had no trouble weaving in the central end of the violets, and I thoroughly enjoyed using the invisible fastening off technique featured on page 19 of 100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet by Lesley Stanfield for the joining along the edge of the flower, but I was aggravated and stymied by the direction for the amigurumi potted plant which read “With yellow yarn, embroider French knots in center of Flowers.”

There are some things in life which cause me a great deal of difficulty: telling left from right, correctly reading an analog clock, and making French knots.

While I can certainly tangle yarn to give the suggestion of a French knot, until late this afternoon, I was not consistent in the production of an aesthetically pleasing French knot. And while it might seem overstatement to describe the French knots pictured as “aesthetically pleasing” that is only because I did not take the time to document what came before:

crochet African flower potted plant
Crochet violets with decorative French knots

So how did I transform the center of my flowers from “small-ish globs of tangled yarn” to an almost proper French knot?

It is said that practice makes perfect, but when you’re doing something incorrectly, practice can simply cement a bad habit such that it is difficult, even through diligence, to override the wiring of your brain. Fortunately for me, I am exasperated easily, and several times abandoned my efforts at making French knots to do housework. The house got cleaner, and I did not irreversibly program myself to make the world’s ugliest French knot.

Initially I worked from a copy of The Complete Encyclopedia of Stitchery and had used the directions given to good effect for my first French knot of the day, but after that one aberrantly successful try, my French knot luck was expended, and I was left having to rely on expanding my skills and practice.

To that end, I searched out explanations on the internet, and after trying several, I found a graphic which best communicated the information to my brain. This is not to say that from that point forward every attempt has been successful, but the ratio of successes to frustrations has improved considerably.