I love to crochet. My mom, as far as I can tell, was primarily a knitter. She’s made me upwards of five sweaters throughout my lifetime, not counting baby clothes, and who knows how many for my two siblings and dad combined, not to mention herself. Of the afghans I can think of in my parents’ afghan chest, the majority are either quilted or knitted. There’s maybe one that was crocheted.
But somehow, despite the influence of my mother’s craftiness, I rejected knitting after a (mostly) failed attempt at a shrug in first year. It was boring and I had issues with the counting. (I’m an English major for a reason…) I’d lose track of how many rows I had decreased by and found it difficult to identify individual stitches and rows enough to count backwards.
I love the feeling of yarn passing through my fingers though. Maybe it’s because my baby blanket, tattered and fraying by the time my parents took it away from me when I was seven, was a knitted blanket. There’s something comforting about it.
The first time I ever crocheted was, I think, while I was a member of a girls club at my church called GEMS (Girls Everywhere Meeting the Saviour). One of the main activities in this girls club is the completion of various badges. (My original goal was to complete all 150 or so. I managed around 34, and was one of the top badge achievers in my year.)
My mom was my counsellor. In a couple of the evening meetings, she taught a group of five or six 10 year olds to crochet granny squares. I don’t know how she did it. I tried teaching a friend once and failed miserably. Anyway, she bought a selection of crochet hooks, sparkling and bright colours. I believe I picked metallic blue. And, using her own leftover scraps, we each picked two colours and began the laborious task of learning chain stitches and double crochets, the pattern of threes and the switching colours. The first ones weren’t perfect. I remember unravelling whole sections just to add three more simple stitches. It wasn’t easy, and it often wasn’t pretty.
I think I made 10 granny squares that year. My mom had a lot of scraps and each one made a completely different, often clashing square.
And then, they sat in the crafting cupboard as I dragged myself through high school and broke through into university. And then, something made me finish the afghan. Perhaps it was the cold, somewhat hostile dorm room, perhaps a subconcious home-sickness.
I made 10 or so more squares, crocheted white yarn in between the squares and finally ended up with this:
I wouldn’t exactly call it pretty, It’s not even finished: I never did get a chance to work in the ends. But it reminds me of me, 10 years ago. (And here comes a sappy metaphor…) This blanket has grown with me, from a wonky start, to a small, semi-finished work, not useful for much at this point, except curling up in on camping trips, when my other, prettier afghans are safe and clean at home. And maybe someday I’ll finish it. Or, maybe I won’t, as a reminder that I’m never really going to be finished myself.