I recently shared that I have picked up crochet again after a hiatus of about 10 years. My grandmother, whom I called “Nana,” taught me how to crochet when I was 7 years old. I remember a pale blue crochet hook, but I can’t remember the yarn.
Funny enough, I have plastic bags containing abandoned WIPs, mostly in variegated acrylic yarns, from that time period. Interestingly, these WIPs are in colors that I still appreciate, but, sadly, they were abandoned because I just couldn’t continue the monotony of row after row of single crochet.
My Crochet Stitching Journey
The Monotony of Single Crochet
Fast forward to my college years, and you could find me crocheting scarves—only short rows of single crochet, mind you—as a little side hustle, to students and faculty. I ached for a creative outlet and had no idea what else to do but crochet. (I should mention that this was still the pre-social media/Pinterest era.)
A bit of crochet followed me after graduation from nursing school when I started to make blankets for co-workers as they had babies. I even made a few blankets for my nieces, and a few throw pillows for my couch.
But, the problem was that all I knew about crochet was that it was row after row of monotony, apart from occasional color changes. (I did make one blanket that was block based, but it also seemed to take forever.)
The Transition from Crochet to Sewing
As it happened, when we moved to Malawi, I brought my crochet hooks with me, but yarn was nearly impossible to come by. In addition to that, it was far too hot to enjoy even touching yarn, let alone handling it long enough to make something. However, I found myself in a strange place, with lots of time on my hands, and aching for a creative outlet.
When I started hand stitching a quilt out of thrifted clothes, cardboard paper templates, and a sewing kit I bought at the grocery store, I imagined I was the very last person on the face of the planet to sew anything by hand. (Sewing machines were invented for a reason, right??)
As it turns out, it took my discovery of hand stitching, English paper piecing (EPP) in particular, for me to learn something about the value of slowing down.
What EPP Taught Me About Crochet
When I picked up EPP, I had to learn how to slow down and appreciate the process of stitching for the sake of stitching itself. It had nothing to do with reaching the end goal as fast as humanly possible. It had everything to do with the process of doing it.
That realization took its sweet time to arrive, but I was surprised when I picked up my crochet hook again for the first time in 10 years, that the lesson EPP taught me carried over to crochet, as well.
A New Season for Crochet
When we arrived back in the United States, we landed in my in-laws’ attic. There was a bed set up in the middle of the room, with all of our things, past and present, lining the walls from floor to ceiling. Our luggage sat untouched in one corner until we mustered enough energy to move into our new place down the street.
However, as I sat in that attic room, my eyes landed on my yarn stash. I hadn’t touched it in at least 10 years, but something nudged me to go and have a look at it. I was surprised to find so many skeins of yarn in colors I loved. Navy blue was there, along with bright pinks and peaches, aqua blue, turquoise, and a splash of purple.
As one does in 2023, I jumped on Pinterest to look up crochet patterns. I discovered Bonnie of Green Letter Day by “accident” following a crochet rabbit hole somewhere. Happily, she had a tutorial on her Instagram account (rabbit hole, remember?) for making these delicious puff circles out of different weights of yarn using her Mia Granny blanket pattern.
(When I had bought yarn in the past, I had no idea you were supposed to take the yarn’s weight into account. All I knew was to pick colors I liked. You don’t know what you don’t know, I guess.)
My First Crocheted Blanket for Myself
Well, as you can imagine, I dove in straight away! And, before I knew it, I had a delightful pile of squishy, puffy circles growing in a plastic tote bag from Joann fabrics, circa 2012. At some point I jumped in the car and drove back to Joann fabrics and bought three jumbo skeins of white yarn for the price of two, because sales.
And then, just like that, I had a giant snuggly, squishy blanket all my own. As I sat with that blanket, something hit me. I realized that I had never, ever completed a crocheted blanket for myself before. I had made dozens for friends and family, but never myself. (Well, me and my dogs…)
Again, I thought of my hand sewing journey. It took making quilts to make a crocheted blanket that I had the confidence I would love. Not only that, it took making block based quilts, to realize that one of the huge hindrances to me continuing with crochet was that I preferred block based blankets over row based blankets.
And, so my love affair with crochet has rekindled, and I couldn’t be happier about it. I recently reflected on the possibility that different stitches can be for different seasons of our lives. And, I couldn’t be happier that I have rediscovered my love for crochet. I see many more crocheted blankets in my future. Not only that, I’ve had a bit of fun dipping my toes into crocheted garment creation, but that was the topic of another post…
Are you a mutli-crafter?
Do you have a fiber craft that you learned as a child, but haven’t touched in a while? Do you ebb and flow with your stitching journey? I’d love to know in the comments!