The Year of Crochet
At some Chinese restaurants, you can spend your time while waiting analyzing which animal and corresponding attributes from the Chinese zodiac (Shēngxiào) align according to your birth year. Recently, I giggled at myself for creating my own “Year of Crafts” calendar. No purported benefits have been found, other than self-satisfaction and a methodology to be a gift bearer (0ne of my very favorite things to do). I have a lifelong goal of learning a new skill each year. My list of goals includes other non-creative endeavors, but thus far, my attention has been focused on crafts. My concerted efforts to this end began at our family goals and dreams meeting on New Year’s 2007.
Each year after watching the final sunset of the year, we put to pen and paper (or sometimes other mediums), a list of our dreams for that year. In my recollections, this is the first time that I audibly announced that I was going to try to learn a new skill annually.
2007 – The Year of Knitting
2008 – The Year of Quilting
2009 – The Year of the Digital Canvas (wall art)
2010 – The Year of Digital Storybook
2011 – The Year of Machine Embroidery
2012 – The Year of Crochet
My bemusement arose when I realized that each year most of my gifts had something to do with the new skill at hand, (pun intended this time). I love creating things with my hands, especially when it is meant to be a gift. With each stitch or mouse stroke, I think about the person who will be the final recipient from my heart and my hands.
So it was with the Year of Crochet (which may be special enough to warrant a repeat performance on the “Year of Crafts” cycle). I began a project back in October during some free time with full intention of blessing the newest upcoming arrival to our family tree. Of course, when I began the project she was still being knit together in her momma’s womb (Psalm 139:13).
Since I had never crocheted before (other than one really bad attempt to learn during the Year of Knitting), I went to the mecca of teachers (youtube) to learn how to make Granny Squares – those quaint Americana favorites that I have loved my whole life. I found a teacher that I enjoyed, and she didn’t mind if I had to rewind and play her over and over until I got the technique just right. I will admit that I never warmed up to her way of wrapping yarn for tension, but I think my improvised method worked for me. (The link to the first in a series of videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79zZJjXRfSM)
I chose my colors (an aqua reminiscent of the beaches of my childhood and a variegated aptly named ocean) and got to work, in the beginning saying my steps aloud so that my fingers would cooperate with my brain. Once they were in agreement, I “went to town” making squares, at first not having a plan of how many I would ultimately need. I just made stacks of squares. Stacks of squares. Stacks of squares.
Eventually, I needed a plan and not just stacks of Granny squares everywhere. I sat down with colored pencils and sketched out what my vision of the final product would be. That in mind, I now kept track of the number of squares in the two colors I had chosen. The bag of yarn, hooks, and scissors went with me everywhere – appointments, bleachers for basketball games, and travelling. As I made each one, I said prayers for the tiny baby that we were all waiting to meet – my first great-niece. Finally my magic number of squares (99) was reached, and it was time to piece the squares together. I researched various methods, settling on the one I liked the most.
Then it was time to finish the project. Possessing a thimble-full of knowledge on that topic, I did some research knowing enough to know what I didn’t want for a finished look. Another blogger came to my rescue, and I found a technique I could do that would allow the blanket to lay nice and flat. (http://bunnymummy-jacquie.blogspot.com/2011/06/how-to-make-flat-border-for-granny.html) One more trip to the store for a coordinating yarn – a nice lilac – followed by many practice tries – and away I went.
Since the recipient of this blankie was to be a newborn baby, I wanted a super plush edging similar to the ones my own babies had nuzzled into in their early days. About the time I made this decision, it was D-Day. (Delivery Day arrived, and this auntie stayed up very late to pray for safe arrivals. Praying love into each and every stitch.)
Our sweet little girl arrived, and I waited patiently until I could personally deliver my labor of love. Little L lives just under 450 miles from my house; so, my visit had to be a planned one. My wait was worth it when I got to see God’s beautiful baby wrapped up in one of my favorite projects from the Year of Crochet!