I was a guest blogger last week on Cre8tion Crochet, it was such a cool experience I haven't ever had the opportunity to do that before. It was so fun because I was asked all kinds of questions about myself and my crochet and it gave me a chance to just be me! One of the questions that I was asked is what I love about crochet. And my answer sparked a little conversation. I actually received a couple of e-mails and Facebook comments about my answer to just that question. I hadn't really thought it was anything special but basically my answer was that I feel more complete when I do, I don't yell at my kids and husband as much and I feel more calm and centered. I thought since it sparked such an interest that I would take some time and share my crochet journey with you all today.
I began crocheting when I was 10, I've now been crocheting for almost 20 yrs. (If any of you start doing the math we are no longer friends.) ;) My grandma taught me. The woman was an amazing crafter! She could quilt, and hook like no body else I knew! She and I had always had a special bond and I was so excited that she wanted to share something of herself with me!
Her arthritis was getting to a point that she couldn't crochet anymore so she gave me her hook and the two trash bags that were her yarn stash and taught me a chain and single crochet stitch. Then before our lesson was over she showed me how to make a pot holder using those two basic techniques. Our lesson lasted maybe a half an hour, my first and last lesson, but I was fascinated! I kept playing around with the stitches the whole drive home (about 6 hrs of "awake" time.)
My parents always wanted us doing something constructive if we were going to watch TV, and this became my new thing to do. I could carry it from my room to the living room and back easily enough and I could pay attention to the TV without losing track of what I was doing with my hands, it was perfect!
Once I mastered the pot holders I got started on some afghans. I asked my parents for pattern books for my birthday and when my grandma saw how much I was enjoying it she gave me all of her crochet books that she had collected over the years with basic stitch instructions and patterns. I went from afghans to scarves and then decided to try my hand at thread crochet. I made a few doilies which is really the only projects I still have from those early crochet days. Most of the items I made were gifted to family or donated to charity.
About this time I was in High School and was very involved in my classes and extra curricular activities. I was a cheerleader so I needed to be at A LOT of sporting events and practices and then there were tests and activities that I was involved in at church (service projects and activities). I didn't have hours on hand for hooking but I still kept at it. It was my safe place. Whenever I was getting overwhelmed with life, boys, parents, all those things that seem to collapse on you as a teenager, I was able to sort out my stress with my yarn. I don't know how it worked but a couple hours of creative thinking a week took the stress level down from all those other bombardments. I loved it!
I was a little nervous when I moved out that all my college roommates would think I was some old woman carting around yarn and hooks. But one of my roommates was a fellow hooker and we loved to freak out other people by taking our projects to football games. ;) I got teased by a bunch of my guy friends at that first game till I out cheered them! Muahahaha!!! They were amazed that this "old lady" knew what was going on well enough in the game that she could hook and shout at the same time. ;)
Crochet helped me out a lot through my single life. My friends would always laugh when I was moving to a new apartment because I had a couple boxes that were just for yarn. But when things would get crazy at work, or when we needed a new marketing idea or sale (we did a lot of our own grass roots marketing in the retail company I worked for) I would just pick up my hook and let my mind wander and somehow opening up the creative side of my brain allowed me to think differently about all of my problems, school, boys (ugh, boys are always a problem aren't they?), work, roommate drama. It would all dissolve!
Eventually I met my husband. We met country line dancing and when I realized he didn't have a problem with my yarn (or shoe) addictions I knew he was the one for me!!
I kept crocheting and soon got very excited about making BABY things!!!!
When our first daughter was born our lives turned upside down!!! Who knew one little tiny person could demand so much attention! I quit my job to be a stay at home mom (which is a decision I wouldn't change in a million years!) But I didn't realize the toll she would take on me. As a new mother I made the mistake of thinking that I was now responsible for EVERYTHING! I almost never put her down. I got anxious when other people would hold her, I needed her back! I didn't rely on my husband at all. My life became completely about her and I didn't crochet for almost 6 to 8 months. By this time the "baby blues" that had seemed to linger around since our daughter was born began to deepen into post partum depression. I didn't even realize it because it had come on so slowly.
I didn't want to really do ANYTHING. Getting up was a burden, going to bed was a burden. I was doing most of what I needed to do out of necessity. I never got to the point of wanting to hurt my child but I was mean. I was a yeller. I hollered at my husband over so many small, insignificant things. When we went out on a date we almost had nothing to talk about because I was such a sour puss. I unconsciously blamed him for the time away from my daughter and I hated myself for reasons that I couldn't identify. I was starting to drown and didn't even realize it was happening.
One day my angel of a husband sat me down and asked me when the last time was I had time for myself. When was the last time I had done something that I wanted to do. I didn't have an answer. I couldn't even remember. He told me to take some time for myself and that he would play with our daughter for the next couple hours. At first I just wanted to sit still, not have anyone touch me or call my name. But I knew I would get bored fast so I decided to make my daughter a hat and I went to go find my hook. Peace washed over me, that is the only way to describe it. I sat down on the couch with a skein of yarn and a hook for the first time in months and all of a sudden, in that moment, life was ok again! I was smiling and laughing and talking to my husband about the silly things that our daughter would do and we were making her laugh and together, in that moment we became a family! I have such tender memories of that day. I realized I needed to ask for help, and taking a little time for myself each day wasn't a sin of some kind. My children could still be healthy, well adjusted kids because their mom wasn't yelling all the time. It took a lot of time to work through and it didn't come all at once but I began to heal. My hook healed me in ways I can't describe!
Now, today, I still need to work to find that creative time. We now have two little girls and they work together to drive me crazy! ;)
It was shortly after our second daughter was born that I decided to take on this blog journey. It has been quite a learning experience and was very discombobulated and unfocused as I learned what it was that I wanted to get out of it and what I wanted my "business" to be. I'm so happy with where this journey has taken me. I'll forever be indebted to my dear sweet grandma for giving me an emotional coping mechanism so many years ago. I don't know if she ever knew what a difference crochet made in my life.
I do still notice that I get ogre-ish and mean when I haven't had a moment to get my frustration out with yarn. I still have stresses, I now have in-laws and children and a husband that all make life all sorts of interesting and challenging. I love them all to pieces and wouldn't trade them for anything but if I feel myself getting a little crazy I know where to find relief. I know that a little yarn therapy goes a lot further than carrying around all that grumpiness and frustration. The process of making something beautiful from nothing has been healing for me and I hope that someone out there can find peace from me sharing this little piece of myself.
I hope you all have a great Wednesday!