Adding purple to my color wheel
Yesterday I alluded to a time where I had a really bad start to a project. One summer while travelling back to my childhood home, I asked one of my two grandmothers to teach me to crochet. I had just started knitting, and everyone remarked that crocheting was so much easier, implying that I should have started there. Both of my grandmothers are talented when it comes to cooking, sewing, crocheting, and quilting. Nanny dabbled in just about every craft imaginable and was an amazing florist, and Mama was a professional seamstress who now crochets to keep her hands busy. The amazing thing is that both share the same birthday (albeit 5 years apart) – today.
One is celebrating her first birthday surrounded by loved ones in heaven, and the other celebrates 89 young years. This baby afghan started six years ago almost never came to fruition. Following the passing of Nanny in December, I just couldn’t let it lie unfinished.
When I started the project, I was visiting at Mama’s house, and asked her to teach me to crochet. A quick trip to the Mecca of the South provided tutor and pupil with the needed supplies. I don’t know what in the world possessed me to buy purple yarn – because it was and still is my least favorite color. (Sorry to my Minnesota neighbors, Vikings colors and all.)
While my grandmothers are equally special in my heart, they couldn’t be any more different. One is just a plain old purple girl, and the other is definitely a mauve maven. As different as they are, they share a love of the color purple. Maybe their shared love is what guided that yarn purchase, but other than to make a Vikings scarf, I have never had much interest in purple yarn since.
When we sat down to start our lesson, I tried as hard as I could but didn’t find it easy or enjoyable. This isn’t a condemnation of the teacher, because she was as patient as Job. No matter what I did, my motor muscle memory was still in training for two needles – not one hook. I completed maybe 2 or 3 inches of the afghan before it was time to load up the minivan with suitcases, coolers, and oh yes, kiddos to head on down to Florida.
At Nanny’s house, she critiqued the work and gushed about the color. She wanted to see how many stitches Mama suggested to create the ripple pattern. She, too, offered encouragement, but even her tutelage really wasn’t getting me anywhere. At this point, five inches total were done.
One not to give in too quickly, I took the whole works on a 4-H trip, working while we traversed by Amtrak from Minnesota to New York. After that trip, the whole kit and caboodle (all seven inches) went in the recesses of the craft buckets, not to be seen again until this last December.
Like a beacon from a lighthouse providing hope and guidance to wayward sailors, the afghan became a vestige of hope for a brokenhearted granddaughter, one who would never this side of heaven be able to work collectively with both of them again. After tackling the Granny squares mentioned yesterday, I was equipped with more confidence and ready to complete the long forgotten baby blanket.
The resurgence of new found interest was not without problems. Thankfully, I could phone a friend (Mama) and get a few more tidbits of instruction. Also, when you start a project six years earlier, most likely dye lots have changed on the yarn. So rather than one seamless project it became a tribute to all things purple in memory of Nanny and in honor of Mama.
One evening as I was close to finishing the afghan, my sweet little Clo climbed up in my lap and asked the most beautiful question.
“Momma, who is going to get this blanket?”
My response was one of uncertainty. Her cherubic face and inquiry brought me to tears.
“Since I love purple, I have been thinking. Someday, I am going to have a little girl of my own. Could we save this afghan for her?”
With tears streaming down my face, I agreed to that request, knowing in my heart when I meet this future granddaughter I am going to tell her all about her great-great- grandmothers and how amazingly colorful they both were, in the life of girl who needed just a little more purple.
Happy 84th Birthday in Heaven, Nanny! Happy 89th Birthday in Alabama, Mama!