After a little bit of strife and tearing out a few rows and then a few more rows, then making a phone call to my mother I figured out how to successfully crochet.
Project number one was a neck warmer or 'convertible cowl' as the pattern labeled it. I know my tension was not consistent all the way through, but I'm pretty happy with the results. With a little practice and a re-do I'm sure I could make it stay on my head like a cowl should.
It was actually quite easy.
Also, by the sounds of it my sewing machine is going to take more than I thought to get it fixed, as such my dress that I was altering is still on hold. Sorry, I really want to show you it totally finished!