Thursday, April 23, 2009

Crochet, Knit...What's Your Craft?

In the spring of 2006 I walked into my mother's house one day and saw a large box on the kitchen table. When I asked her about the box she seemed frustrated/annoyed and a little flustered. She told me about the contents of the box - skeins and skeins of blue and white yarn.

She said that my grandmother was working on an afghan for my brother, but never finished it before she died. That struck me as very sad, because from the time my brother was 8 years old my grandmother had lived on and off with our family until she died. She and my brother were probably the closest of any of us grandkids. She had completed afghans for each of her grandchildren, but since she had started with her eldest grandchild, she was just getting to my brother, the youngest one.

Mom continued to tell me that his blanket was about 2/3 done at the time of her death, but since she didn't know anyone who crocheted she had left it sit in the box for at least 10 years. She then learned that an elderly friend of the family who lived in FL knew how to crochet and she asked her if she would finish the blanket for my brother. The lady agreed. My mom shipped the blanket and the remaining yarn to this friend with the expectation of giving it to my brother right away. This dear elderly lady received the box and proceeded to "work." A short time later she called my mother and said that my grandmother had so many mistakes in the blanket that she had to rip it all out and start again. In doing that, it hurt her wrists too badly and she said she was shipping the yarn back to my mother. That was the box full of yarn on the table. She had begun crocheting a piece that was maybe 6 inches long, but it was a far cry from Grandma's own handiwork and a blanket 2/3 done. No wonder my mother was flustered. I burst out with, "I'll crochet it. It needs to be done by a family member." My mom looked at me with surprise and then asked, "Do YOU crochet?" I answered, "No, but I'll teach myself and get it done." I THEN got the Mommy look! We've all seen it...the look that says "Ok, dear, whatever you say!" (You may not remember it, Mom, but it's true!) I don't think she believed me. : )

I packed up my kids in the car and drove straight to the craft store and purchased a couple of books, needles, and practice yarn. Over the following weeks I poured over this book that taught me how to crochet lefthanded. (It has directions/illustrations for both lefties and righties.) At first I made coasters as practice. They about did me in...I've never hated coasters so much in my life! Then I made some practice swatches until I thought that I had a good basic understanding of crocheting. I had a feeling that I would learn a few more things if I made a blanket, but I didn't want to do the learning on my brother's blanket so I set out to make an intermediate skilled blanket. I wish I had a picture of that was beautiful. It was a cream colored throw that had a beautiful alternating open pattern to it, but I didn't take a picture of it before sending it off to my grandmother (other side of the family) for Christmas of 2006. I hope to go visit her in the Midwest next month so I'll try and get a picture of it then.

Anyway, after completing that first blanket I felt confident I could complete my brother's blanket. I had just three months to get it done if we were going to surprise him for his birthday. I had to rip out all the yarn since I was crocheting with my left hand and the elderly friend had been right-handed, but it was much easier than the first blanket so I felt confident in what I was doing. Here's a picture of the completed blanket, as Grandma had envisioned it.

I think Grandma would have been proud. And yes, my brother liked it!

After completing that blanket my husband and two older kids suggested that I make a blanket for a special lady in Peru. The three of them had been to Peru the year before on a mission's trip and Mark had worked in the kitchen with several very sweet Peruvian ladies. They all took very good care of him and he enjoyed sitting during their breaks and having coffee together. My big kids were going again in the summer of 2007 and one of the kitchen ladies was getting her house renovated by our mission's team. Our family thought it would be special if I made her a blanket as a house-warming gift. What an honor it was for me to serve this dear woman. I asked the Peruvian pastor's wife what colors I should use and she said in Spanish, "All of them! The more the better." So this is what I came up with:

It was bright and durable and made my whole family smile when we saw it. We were very excited about giving it to her. (I did get some crazy looks when buying that yarn at the store though!) Here is Ashley giving her the blanket for her new home.

(Re: the face paint-Ashley was in a drama, cast as Satan-that's a whole other story.

Now I am working on two "baby" blankets for my little girls and a gorgeous tri-colored blanket for my son. I crochet in spurts so it takes me a while now to get something done, but Ashley mentioned that she'd like to learn to knit so that may be a new craft we take up together this summer.

I highly recommend the book that I learned to crochet with as a great place to start. If you're interested in knitting, then you should check out Sarah's blog here. She's so talented, this girl!

Feel free to leave a comment and share what your favorite craft/hobby is! It was fun sharing my stories/craft with you!


still.sofia said...

Angie!!!! I love your quilt!!! Great job! Remember that next year around March 2nd, your old and beloved friend will be having a birthday and I love warm color combos ;-))). But really, you did a great job, all hinting aside!

Angie said...

Thank You, Sweet Friend!! Who knows? :)