Friday, March 9, 2018

March is National Crochet Month

It’s National Crochet Month. I owe so much to crochet. It literally changed my life.

The first time I remember seeing a granny square afghan was when I was a kid. It was in Indiana at the home of one of our summer cottage neighbors. Marian and her husband lived in the country year round and had a house full of interesting things to look at. She was an artist with threads of silver in her black hair and the bluest eyes I’d ever seen. Her husband was writer. The afghan was hanging on the arm of a couch in a room that looked out into the woods. I was instantly fascinated by the shapes of the colorful insides and the contrast with the black yarn on the outside. A side note, Marian offered me some candied violet petals she’d made, which I thought were exotic and exciting, though in the end, they didn’t taste that good.

I learned how to sew when I was in high school and soon was making all of my clothes and my mother’s. A friend showed me how to knit when I went to visit her at a creepy health spa where she had gone to lose weight. The place was a story in itself. I remember the spa was known for sulfur smelling mud baths and a sour milk drink. I didn’t partake of either. I used knitting needles that looked like small baseball bats and four strands of yarn. The end product was supposed to be a dress, but turned out too terrible looking to wear.

I finally taught myself how to crochet - well, how to single crochet and I made a hat. But I really wanted to learn how to make granny squares. They looked so complicated with the open spaces and all the changes of colors. Many years went by and I  accumulated an assortment of granny square items, the best of which was an afghan I bought at a resale shop in South Haven, Michigan, but I was still clueless about how to make those lovely squares.

And then by chance as I was walking through the FAO Schwartz in Las Vegas I saw a little blue suitcase that had a banner wrapped around it that said something like Learn to Make Granny Squares. If it had been a movie, there would have suddenly been a glow surrounding the suitcase and some musical cords to announce something major had just happened.

But it was real life, so I just grabbed the little suitcase and headed to pay for it. I waited until I was back home in Tarzana before taking out the plastic hook and hanks of yarn along with some instructions that might have been written by someone who English was not their native language.

It didn’t matter, I understood the instructions enough to make my first square. It had mistakes, but was close enough that I understood the concept of how to make them. It was a truly magic moment and I felt as if the golden door of crochet had opened up and I could figure out how to make anything now.

And then I had an idea. Why not mix crochet with mystery.




Linda Osborn said...

Hmmm, as a child my aged grandmother tried to teach me how to knit, but she kept switching needles with me because she thought mine prettier...I got mad and never learned. Then a couple of years ago my daughter in law tried to teach me to crochet when I had a broken leg. She is a leftie and I am right handed...I just didn't catch on. Still hoping one of these skills will somehow find it's way into my mind !

Linda O. Johnston said...

What a wonderful story about how your passion for crochet and other crafts originated and sparked you to do much more!

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda Osborn, you just need the right teacher.

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda O. Johnston, thank you. We are both lucky to be able to write about our passions.

Miriam Lubet said...

I learned how to knit and crochet from a woman who worked at the day care I was working at. I have loved both ever since. But I was watching an instructional video and just found out I have been knitting backwards all this time!

Betty Hechtman said...

Miriam, I have done stuff like that too. Maybe you invented a new way to knit.