Sunday, June 8, 2008

Comfort Crochet

What is that line from the old song – something about when this old world starts getting you down you should head for the roof?

The only time I’ve been on my roof was to rescue my cat who’d become trapped there and nobody was very happy.

When things start getting me down, or I get tense, I have a better remedy and it doesn’t require a ladder.

I didn’t know there was a name for it until I read a bunch of posts on a list I belong to called Crochet Partners. I just called it making something easy. But on the list they referred to it as comfort crochet. Everybody has their own version. Many of the people on the list are far more proficient than I am and what’s comforting to them would cause me to have an anxiety attack.

In my second book DEAD MEN DON’T CROCHET that comes out in December, the crochet group is making shawls for a women’s shelter. The idea is having a shawl around your shoulders feels comforting and the group even calls them Hugs of Comfort.

The pattern I made up for the book is simple and repetitive. Basically you keep repeating the same four rows. I made two shawls while I was writing the book and I discovered they are not only comforting to wear, they are comforting to make.

Unlike my blog sister Joanna, I still have to watch my work, even with the shawls, but there is something meditative about the movement of the hook and the looping of the yarn.

When I’m feeling overwhelmed and breathless with too many things to do that all need to be finished immediately (sounds familiar, doesn’t it), I take a few minutes and work my version of comfort crochet. The tight feeling in my head goes away and my breathing becomes deep and peaceful. Often, as my mind relaxes, answers to pressing questions just show up. And when I’m ready to go back to the swirl of things, I’m that much closer to a completed shawl.

The great things about comfort crochet is that it can also be portable. Now that I have conquered granny squares, they have entered into my repertoire of comfort crochet possibilities. Squares are great. There is no big almost finished shawl in a bag to lug along. You don’t need to carry a lot of yarn or tools. And you can actually have a finished product in a short space of time.

I started carrying square supplies when I fly. It is the best way to get your mind off turbulence, having the seat in front of you almost in your face, and the screaming child across the aisle. I found a perfect plan of what to do with the squares in a movie. It was just part of the set, but there was this gorgeous throw made out of all-black granny squares with crocheted pink flowers attached to each square. I know that making a square takes me about an hour, so flying from L.A. to Chicago, which I do often, I could probably make three squares and have the added feature of arriving refreshed and relaxed. I forgot to mention that – not only is comfort crocheting relaxing, you end up feeling like you’ve had a nap.

So, while going up on the roof, assuming you have a flat one with a view and some nice patio furniture and the weather is accommodating , might help some people get away from it all, I’ll take comfort crochet every time


Terri Thayer said...

Nice post. That's the best part about quilting, too, the comfort. It's actually quite healing. I must get mesmerized by the sewing machine needle going up and down so often. I bet if they studied our brains, we're going to same place where meditators go. Very Zen.

Now if we could just get a few politicians interested...

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Oh, Betty, please share the pattern! Sounds perfect. I love it when it's soothing and repetitive.

Betty Hechtman said...

I can see where quilting could have that same comforting feeling. I think working with your hands has a lot to do with it, too.
As for your idea about politicians -- Can you really see Hillary with a sewing machine?
I hope the B for bronchitis is gone for you.


You just gave me an idea for next weeks blog.


I will

Kiki said...

Hi, Betty! I just saw a piece about your book in the most recent Crochet Today and immediately bought it. I am a sucker for anything for anything involving my obsession! I can't wait until it comes!

sexy said...