Saturday, October 10, 2015

Crochet and Healing [day 10]

My grandmother was a crocheter. She did fine thread crochet -- bedspreads and tablecloths. Large projects of intricate design. I wanted to know how to do it but was too intimidated to ask her to teach me.

When I was in high school (back in the dark ages!) we learned to crochet in Home Economics. We had a spinster lady who taught the class, and she was old as the hills. Rather than teach us basic crochet skills that we could build on, she taught us one rather esoteric stitch, broomstick lace. I excelled at it but had no idea how to transfer that knowledge to learning basic stitches or reading patterns. So I felt like a fraud telling people I knew how to crochet.

Fast forward many years. My college age daughter suffered a trauma of her own, and one of her friends suggested taking up knitting as a calming mechanism. I tried knitting, but couldn't get the hang of it. Did I mention I'm left handed which adds a whole different issue to learning handwork? Watching my daughter knit got me pondering crocheting. Could I teach myself those basic stitches? Could I learn to read patterns?

I found a class at the local library and did learn those basics. I took another class at the local yarn shop and learned about reading patterns, and about asking for help. I also learned it was best to explain that, yes, my hands shake terribly when I'm nervous, and yes, I'm nervous a lot. 

I watched YouTube videos and found out there are left handed instruction books and videos!

And then I was hooked! I started crocheting, at first just to have something to occupy my hands and mind. I made scarves and dishcloths. I was so stinking proud! Later I began to wonder about afghans, lap rugs, and shawls. 

Ahhh, shawls. Prayer shawls in particular. Are you seeing a theme here? My desire to create was leading me to desire to know God more authentically. 

I began to make things for myself and as gifts. I was commissioned to make some afghans, but quickly learned I don't work well under that kind of pressure. I make what I want and do with it what I want.

I found the stitching soothed my rattled mind and I had something beautiful to show for it when I was done. Crocheting also opened unexpected doors of conversation. When I wear a piece I've made it frequently leads to comments, questions, and conversation. A really good thing for an introvert like me. I'm not good at chit chat, but I can explain what I do, even if it means accepting a compliment (hard still). Most places I go these days I carry my crochet basket filled with my current project. People asked me about the basket or its contents, and the next thing I know I'm having a friendly conversation often with a total stranger. And most of the time I'm okay with that.

Sometimes we all need a bit of help and encouragement to get outside of ourselves, and that's okay. Just keep in mind that encouragement may come from the most unexpected places.

This is day 10 in Write 31 Days


  1. I love this line: "I found the stitching soothed my rattled mind and I had something beautiful to show for it when I was done." That is so wonderful! What a great post!

  2. Busy hands are happy hands? I love handwork but I have carpal tunnel so badly - IT HURTS to hold a needle. :(

  3. How cool! I learned how to knit from someone who learned to knit from an arthritic left-handed lady. I have no ide how to


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