Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Yesterday I mentioned my book problem. Today I will confess to also having a hook problem! I am an avid crocheter. I do many yarny/ thready things on occasion. In fact, at one time, it was my primary interest. I had grown up fascinated by my grandmother who could sew anything. I still marvel at the fact that she would go to rummage sales, buy drapes, and turn them into slipcovers. By the time I knew her, she didn't have to do this out of financial necessity, but frugality was just a part of her, given her past life, which included 8 children and a depression. So when I grew up, I was going to be like Nana. I bought a low end sewing machine and gave it a try. And I kept trying. And I didn't like it at all. I consoled myself with latch hook kits and crewel embroidery, which were OK but not something that inspired passion in my soul. My other grandmother was a knitter. I would always see her with her thin yarn and aluminum needles clicking away. So maybe I could try yarn. I sat down with yarn, magazines, books, knitting needles, and crochet hooks. Stitch by stitch I taught myself both techniques. Knitting was OK. I could get into it. Sometimes I could get excited about it. Ah, but crocheting—there was a different story! I found my creative passion when I picked up a crochet hook and started pulling those loops of yarn through one another and a blanket or a sweater or a stuffed animal appeared. Use thin yarn or small thread and I could make lace and Christmas ornaments. It's been 25 years since then and I haven't stopped. I have cut way back at times, but crocheting has always served to excite me, comfort me, and provide me with a way to express myself creatively. I usually listen to podcasts or music when I crochet and sometimes I get lost in my own world when I get into a project. I still knit sometimes. I needle tat—or I did. My needles are currently residing in a box in a friend's shed in Oregon, so I won't be doing that anytime soon. I do these other things. I have even taught classes in these other techniques. But I never get as excited about them as I do about crocheting. I think in crochet. I will suddenly have an idea and begin playing around with texture or color or whatever. So when a woman at church said that they were going to put a tree in the narthex and decorate it with hats, scarves, and mittens, and she wanted to know if I could make some, I happily said I would. That was a few weeks ago and I walked in Sunday to see the tree up. I had been planning to finish the thread work I have been doing for the past several weeks—got into playing with color by mixing different colors and weights of thread (some of the results can be seen at http://www.flickr.com/photos/burkejunior/sets/72157622850008540/ )—and then start on stuff for the tree. On Sunday night, though, my elbow began hurting after I'd crocheted for a few hours. So I reluctantly put my hook away and turned to weaving in ends. I decided that the next day I would knit a hat for the tree and give my hands and elbow a break by making different movements with the knitting needles than the usual crochet. So after supper and a bit of time spent finishing the book I was reading, I dug out some knitting needles and started in on a hat. Halfway through, I decided that one knitted hat would be enough. So when the hat was done, I put away the needles and got out one of my favorite hooks, my wooden J. And I started crocheting a hat, hoping that the fact that the hook was wood and quite a bit larger than the small thread hooks I'd been using would be enough of a change to prevent pain and soreness. It was. I made another hat. I enjoyed the process much more and I find the hat itself to be more interesting. I will dig out the knitting needles again at some point. Maybe I will even feel like knitting more than doing anything else one day. But I will always be addicted to my hooks first. It's good to know this about myself. There is much that I am interested in. But I discovered that I have a tendency to want to immerse myself in everything and then I burn out. It's good to follow interests and passions, but also good to know what can be skimmed over or left alone in favor of the things that are really important. And living the way I do, without a lot of possessions, it is good to know that I can let go of stuff that I probably will not use—fabric, sewing machine, embroidery floss, etc. But my hooks will always be with me!