Coffee and Crochet

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“4 reasons you should be crocheting right now”

I haven’t picked up a crochet needle (G, please) in probably three years. Too much going on in my life: new job, quitting old job, various health crises, my growing blindness, my carpal tunnel fingers, dissatisfaction with the way I weave the ends and stitch the afghan together, boredom with the same Granny squares, blah blah blah.

But it’s time.

I would have dreams about wandering endless aisles of yarn at a random craft store in the middle of nowhere and everywhere. Everywhere I turned, blues and greens sang me their siren songs.

I also realized the digital world contained a wealth of different stitches, patterns, and even ideas for crochet projects. I might even make one of those figures Jen’s a Little Loopy excels at (have you seen her Trump figure? Hilarious), even though my son says, “I will burn it if you make one of me.”

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But why blues and greens? I didn’t understand what my dreams were telling me until I asked my best friend her favorite colors. “Blue and green,” she texted back.

Voila!

Her mom is one of us. We’re kind of a secret society of badasses, not at all grandmotherly. My friends are surprised when they find out that I love, love, love to crochet and have all my life. It doesn’t seem to fit their image of me as this Warrior Princess, tearing into a Roman feast with my bare hands. My husband and son are confounded by my crocheting, but immensely relieved, since it calms me down considerably and seems to give me the kind of happiness they naturally find in their sports and electronics.

My mom is the one who taught me. She and her mom would crochet these teeny-tiny doilies with the thinnest yarn, more like string.

My first finished crochet project was a pot holder, completely impractical after I burned my hand using it to remove a pan of cookies.

After I learned the Granny square from my paternal grandmother, I dove into the wonderful, wacky world of afghan blankets, then scarves. My favorite stitches are the Puff, Popcorn, Cluster, and Basketweave. One day, I will make one of those crazy scrap afghans using the Magic Ball of leftover yarn, with huge color-blocked squares.

Right now, I’ve started experimenting with blues and greens for a Starburst square I found on simplydaisy’s YouTube channel. I’m still not sold on her method of tying off only one knot before starting a new color, but we’ll see how it goes.

The last time I sat down to work on an afghan, the Summer Olympics were on. I sat on the couch with my family — who would come and go — watching or listening, as I crocheted for hours. Some days, I sat there from morning till late at night, leaving only for bathroom and snack breaks.

I can picture myself crocheting away at a beach house, mountain resort, or my own little corner of the world, lost in a lovely world of vibrant colors and stitches, watching something beautiful and comforting come together, created with my own hands.

A lot of people meditate with yoga, maybe a hike in the woods. My ideal form of meditation is crocheting, followed by baking, reading, and writing. I love all of my hobbies for the satisfaction and calm they bring me.

Baking relaxes me and feeds others. Reading engages my imagination and introduces me to larger-than-life characters I will never meet. Writing, well, writing is my soul, the only true language I’ve got to connect me to you; it keeps me from going insane.

While all of my hobbies take me away to a wonderful, stress-free space, crocheting reminds me the most of my childhood. It is, after all, one of my oldest hobbies. It gave me a chance to bond with my mother and grandmother. It gave me a safe place to anchor, and a gift for someone I love.

Like the old saying goes, if I crochet you an afghan, it means I really love you.

I’ve crocheted afghans for people who didn’t deserve them in the end, two women in my life — past tense — in particular. But I don’t regret the act, or the expression, because at the time, I loved them dearly. In a way, what I put in the afghan, the colors, the stitches, the handmade mistakes, loops, and creativity — the imprint of my fingers, my spirit — is essentially the best and worst of me in there. I’m giving them me in an afghan or scarf.

The only problem is, as anyone who crochets will tell you, once you start, it’s impossible to stop. You become obsessed.

In fact, the only thing I can think about right now is crocheting those Starburst squares. And, maybe that’s a good thing, considering all the shit I’ve had to go through in my life. Crocheting keeps me from obsessing about the bad stuff.

I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do than hunker down with my crochet project and my piping mug of coffee, stitching the world away.

Next on the agenda: Getting NetFlix, and figuring out if I want to use these Caron Cakes for the Seahawks/Sounders-esque afghan I’m building for my best friend…

Load up the Keurig!

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