ok, i must chime in here... this is TOO FUNNY! while i had success with martha's fortune cookies (i mean, all my fingerprints got burned off, but...whatever...), i can't get her stupid baby booties to work! i have tried FIVE TIMES to crochet those *&^%$ booties and all i get are little yarn canoes. gaaahhh. my husband calls them baby boaties.
the bodice parts are usually made of lycra so they cling to the dancer's body, sometimes they're satin with schlock on there (lots of rhinestones and spangly bits). they all have built-in bloomers and bra cups, too. the skirt part of the long floaty dresses, which you wear for smooth dances like the waltz, is usually made of chiffon. sometimes they sew fishing line or boa feathers on the hem to make the hem move differently or fluff out when the dancer moves. the shorter, flirty dresses like the ones for samba or cha cha are mainly lycra. there can't be a lot of restriction in the leg area with the latin dresses because the music is faster and she really has to MOVE those gams. stuff like taffeta is generally to stiff to make a good ballroom skirt, and materials like brocade or satin are too heavy. she has to have as little resistance as possible as she's dancing. hope that answers some questions! : )
Ok, one more thing - not about kids tho - i also read that if you have someone around who can read crochet patterns, have them read aloud to you. but that would require having the buddy around whenever you crochet, so...logistically a problem but...might help. i have maggie righetti's book (sp?) "crocheting in plain english" which is actually pretty useful.
i have been working on flowers, too! i've been crocheting for a couple of years, but i've only just started using patterns in the last six months or so because i want to be able to do stuff that's more complex than a scarf or an afghan. the links xaviera gave look useful to me, so that'd be a good place to start. i've also found that the old trial-and-error seems to work pretty well, too.
as far as reading patterns, i read in a book that while you are learning to read patterns, you should you should read the whole pattern not just the abbreviations, so if it says "Ch 5, sl st to form loop, ch 4" you should read it (out loud or to yourself) "Chain five, slip stitch to form a loop, chain four."
i just thought it was me! my wrist pops, too. somebody else mentioned this, but i'm going to second it - it helped me to try to keep my wrist still and move from the shoulder down instead of the wrist down. and also, i try to move the work around with my left hand (i'm right handed) instead of making my right hand with the hook do all the work. erm...hope that makes sense. *snap* *crackle* *pop*
i am not a henna artist, but i was thinking about resources in louisville you could try - u of l has a HUGE indian student organization, some of whom may know someone who could help you. i believe there's a link on u of l's website somewhere. or maybe try the indian markets? there's one on bardstown road that i know of.