I keep plugging away at basic crochet skills. For me, the key to good knitting skills was just to knit lots and lots and lots of stitches. I'm assuming that the same will hold true for crochet, but I have a lot of stitches to go. I'm using cotton yarn and thread from my collection of leftovers and bargin bin shopping, and my projects are small, funtional items that I believe I'll use. This placemat is mostly practice in making even double crochet stitches--the pretty cotton yarns are all that give it spice.
The black yarn in this potholder is a cotton/wool blend. Until recently, it was a sweater I didn't enjoy wearing. It has good insulating properties, and I hope I'll enjoy it more as a potholder.