I told the person with the problem.
I was at the craft event again yesterday. I have been going to these events for long enough now that I know quite a few of the regular stall holders well enough that, if they are working alone, they know I will stand there for a few minutes while they rush off to the loo and then on to get yet another mug of their caffeine fix of choice - usually coffee. When my friend P.... is not there, and she won't be there until September, I get asked to help.
So, I prowled down to the show grounds before starting time and was almost immediately pounced upon.
"Can you crochet?"
"Can you help?"
"I might be able to but I am a left pawed cat."
The person asking me laughed but then turned serious. I didn't know her but someone else had sent her over to see if I could help.
She explained that she knew only the absolute basics of crochet but she wanted to enlarge something her daughter had made for her. She had the motif pattern but she couldn't read the instructions. Alarm bells rang but from a distance as she said that. Instructions are notoriously difficult to write and crochet instructions tend to be even more difficult than knitting instructions. Most crochet instructions now tend to be in diagrammatic form. These were not.
"Have you got a picture of the motif?" I asked her.
She looked at me in a puzzled sort of way and I added,"I need to read the picture."
I am not sure she thought I was making sense at that point but we had time so she produced hook and yarn and brought up the pattern on her fancy phone.
"That's what it says," she showed me.
"And what is it supposed to look like?" I asked.
She scrolled down a little further. I looked. Thankfully it was actually very simple. It was the corner that was bothering her.
She went back to the instructions but I told her,"No, I have the picture in my head. Leave me with it for a moment and I'll see if I can do it. I don't want to look at the instructions."
And I didn't. It was one of those moments when looking at the picture made far more sense. I could see exactly what the person who had designed the pattern intended and how she had done it. The written instructions made no sense at all even though I understand US terms - which are different from the rest of the world. It is little wonder a novice crocheter had a problem.
I tried it out.Yes. That was it. I showed her. I had done it "back to front" from her because of working left handed but she could see how it was done. I undid it and made her try right handed. She did it slowly.
Her husband, also working on their stand, gave me a nod and said,
"That's an excellent example of a picture being worth a thousand words."
She threw the ball of yarn at him. He laughed. I prowled off to do what I had come to do thinking, "Thank goodness' for pictures."