The link is there
I subscribe to a number of websites, blogs, etc. online that are dedicated to the needle arts, notably knitting and crocheting.
While I can knit a basic sweater, have even produced some with multiple fancy stitches including cables, I am far more adept at crocheting.
My grandmother taught me at a very early age.
How early? Maybe 8 or 9?
By the time I was 10, I was teaching classmates at OLPH how to crochet, designing and making collars to adorn my white uniform blouses. Like so many things in life, interest waxes and wanes.
I still have a small, precursor to a Barbi, doll that I dressed in a crocheted outfit as Red Ridinghood. There are some rather impressive doilies in my credenza that are the result of my love affair with something called fillet crochet and several pillow cases that are adorned with lacy like edgings of my handiwork. There are long stretches of time when my skill, if you call it that, lay fallow, ignored in favor of other pursuits.
I can’t actually recall when my interest in crocheting began to “wax.”
I did make a gift scarf each year for the Jesuit volunteer who worked with me at the Samaritan Center. That was at least 15 years ago, but sometime in that period, I discovered that the simple single, double and triple crochet that was the stock and trade of my grandmother’s crocheting had morphed into a panoply of exquisitely lovely stitches that included, at least in my memory, the unheard stitch of crocheted cables. There were front and back post stitches, reverse crochet stitches, even dropped stitches that allowed the crafter to makes rather impressive items.
I was smitten.
I now have half a closet of yarn, some of it never used, I bought it because it was so beautiful, which borders on hoarding.
Close to the yarn are the two large boxes full of books on crochet as well as stacks of downloaded patterns from the internet.
I’ve fallen in love with the big chunky chenille yarns that make up into luscious afghans so luscious that they might keep you warm outside in Antarctica and with designer yarns that have additions of metals or beads which used in simple patterned items make artistic statements of their own.
But, despite all of the newness, the excitement of creating that the stitches, the yarns and patterns bring, I still have a first and strongest love.
In my box of crochet hooks that range from gigantic, looking more like something you would use on a boat to catch the dock as you come in, to miniscule, so small that it is difficult to see the hook itself, are the small metal hooks that have my heart.
Thread crochet, the kind that produced doilies, tablecloths and bedspreads in my youth and still can today, can also fashion beautiful clothing, curtains, purses and edgings. The size 14 hook that requires thread no bigger than sewing thread can spin out lovely lacey confections that rival handmade lace.
The metal hooks, the hooks you used for thread crochet were my grandmothers. Perhaps that is why I love them so much, but there is something else operating here.
The link is tenuous at best, but it’s there.
It is the same link for the woman who gave me some marvelous sourdough starter last week, the gal who spends hours making quilts, the young man who dabbles in woodworking, the former student who is building a glider, the Marietta woman whose love of crafts fills her house and yard, my spouse who will craft an architectural plan on any napkin or placemat that is available.
I suspect that all who love to create, with whatever medium, have that same desire to connect with something basic, something eternal, something that speaks to what we might call art, a calling forth of the universal need to express ones’ self. But not just in personal expression, this link is to a way to connect, art as metaphor, a greeting and a statement about being here, sharing not only the creation but the act itself with others, a kind of gathering in, being human.