In our family, there is a reverence around the art of crochet. It is a skill, a talent, a craft that has been passed down generation to generation to generation on our mother’s side. We grew up watching Memere, our mom’s mom, whip up blankets and granny squares and Barbie clothes and crazy quilts and baby clothes and pillow covers and decorative bed dolls and giant comforters and soft baby blankets and baptismal wraps and and and…she was a machine. And we all coveted what she had.
We’d all ask her, pleadingly, as her fingers whipped the yarn around her hook and magic transformed string into works of art, to teach us! The company line was, “When your fingers get bigger. They’re too small now, but I will teach you when they’re bigger.”
We all waited, with bated breath, for our fingers to grow to the perfect length, width, size to handle the hook and yarn and learn how to crochet like our Memere.
And then, finally, finally, we’d be her students and she our teacher, and we’d try so hard with tongues stuck out and fingers too rigid and nerves on edge as she taught us a chain, a single crochet, a double crochet, a triple crochet and then we’d finally have a wonky looking scarf and voila! We were magic too.
But time goes on. And perfect finger age turns into teenager age and then early 20s age, and then…you realize, you haven’t crocheted in eons. In fact…you may not even remember how. It’s a sin, considering how eager we all were to crochet, what a lasting gift it was from our grandmother, and what a handy skill it is to have some sort of craft under your belt.
Time marched me right into my hairdresser’s chair for my yearly hair cut (yes, really) and style, where I sit alone, with no babies around, and in the middle of my head massage (oh, yes, really), she asked me, “What do you do for you?”
I was pregnant with Isaac at this point, about ready to pop, and had Lillian running around and Sophie gearing up for school, and I had no idea. What did I do for me?
And then she told me what she did when her babies were young. She crocheted. She’d get everyone into bed, and then the hook would hit the yarn and she’d be off.
When she said that word, crocheted, filled with enchantment and childhood wonder, I got it. Instantly.
Crocheting is for adults. It is a ‘Mommy-only’ activity. It can only be done when little fingers aren’t trying to get all up in it. It can only be done by ME. AND?? It takes a tiny bit of brain power. In fact, it’s almost zen-like in its ability to make you focus on one thing and one thing only.
So, I went home and found all of my crocheting stuff. I had one hook and some sad yarn. I went to a crafting store and got a fancy set of hooks. I grabbed my sad yarn and thought about what I should make.
I settled on dishcloths, because they are USEFUL. And baby items. ALSO USEFUL. And after 5 dishcloths and 5 sets of misshapen booties, I decided maybe useful wasn’t the best idea.
And then, I let it drop again. Because BABIES EVERYWHERE.
But this Christmas, I really wanted to make stockings for our family. We don’t have uniform stockings. We have mismatched stockings that were free or purchased for other people (visiting family)…but no real stockings. I found a pattern online and planned to have all five of them whipped up over the month of December in time for Christmas. HA. It didn’t happen (clearly), but I did get the yarn at a killer price after Christmas, and have made it through 1 of 5 stockings.
And then my sister-in-law, the fifth sister, Kim, asked if someone could make this headband:
I told the sisters that I was planning on making it, and they wanted in! Yarn-shopping adventure was ON! And then, of course, a granny night, complete with Friends on Netflix and homemade cookies and a rekindling of everything good about crocheting.
The finished product was gorgeous! Everyone who made one and got one LOVED them…and Kim?? Looks SMASHING!
I’ve been crocheting pretty steadily now since the New Year, and currently I’m working on a super-secret mission (if I told you, I’d have to kill you), but I’m getting to be pretty good! So good, in fact, that yesterday morning, when we were getting ready for a nice leisurely day of lounging around (it was a holiday here), the girls asked me if I could make them clothes for their lovies. Sophie wanted a sweater for the puppy stuffie she had received from Aunt Toni for Valentine’s Day, and Lillian wanted a Spider-Man dress (she LOVES Spider-Man) for her Baby (her most prized possession). After some Pinterest hunting, I came up with two patterns and got to work. It took a couple of hours for each, but both girls LOVED the final results.
It was fun, being able to say yes to something, having the tools and skill and supplies to fulfill requests on the spot, and of course, magic, watching the girls pick out their yarn colours and then help me do fittings and watch me with the same eager eyes that I had watching my Memere whip up yet another something.
The enchantment carries on here and I’m already getting bombarded by, “Can you teach me to do that?” and “I want to learn.” and “Can I try?”
And I’ve already delivered the line, one that is as generational as the crochet hooks and yarn – “Yes, when your fingers are big enough, I will teach you.”