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It’s National Crochet Month, so I thought this would be a good story to share with you.
Just after I finished second grade we moved to Ohio, where most of my father’s family lived. One of those family members was Grandma Clark, my father’s mother’s mother.
We would go to Grandma Clark’s apartment for Sunday dinner. I don’t remember if it was every Sunday, every other Sunday, the first Sunday of the month…I just know it was at least once a month, and it was Sundays. I loved it! Grandma Clark was awesome. She was a seamstress by profession, and she also crocheted. I knew I was an artist, just as Grandma Clark’s daughter, Vada, had been. At the time I had no idea I would become a costume designer, and then transition into a crochet and knit designer and blogger. I mean really, there was no such thing as a blogger then. There was no internet then. It would be 2 years before we even owned our first computer, an Apple IIe. But I knew I was an artist, just like Vada. I think I turned into a mix of Vada and Grandma Clark. Grandma Clark had the technical skills, the sewing and the crocheting, and Vada had the design skills. I have mixed them both.
I’m a bit off topic here, the story is supposed to be how I learnt to crochet. So let’s get to that.
I don’t remember if I asked her to teach me to crochet, or if she decided I should learn, but either way, she taught me. I remember sitting next to her on the couch in her little apartment in Columbus, Ohio. It always smelled so good in there. She made us such delicious dinners that filled the entire building with wonderful smells! I remember sitting there next to her, and the yarn and hook in her hands. I remember her fingers bent a bit the wrong way, but she held onto that hook and showed me what to do. She gave me a hook and some yarn and showed me how to crochet a chain.
As the Sundays moved by, she taught me single crochet, half double crochet, double crochet. She taught me crocheting in rows that go straight up, not all slanty to one side or the other. She taught me granny squares. She taught me decorative stitches, and other nifty tips. She taught me to crochet. She taught me to crochet with pride. She taught me to crochet without mistakes.
I remember the Sunday when we were working on rows. I couldn’t get the starts and stops right, so my work was slanting. She unraveled it all back to the first row and had me do it right. It was painful for my dad. He saw all the work I had done being un~done. I didn’t mind. I wanted to know how to do it right.
I am so grateful that Grandma Clark would take my work and unravel it if there was a mistake that needed to be fixed. I think about all the times I work on something and take a look at it and see something wrong. I have no fear of unraveling it and fixing it. Sometimes I design something and hours upon hours in I see it is just not working. I take a deep breath and remove hours upon hours of work. I do it because Grandma Clark taught me that crochet is art, and art is a process. Sometimes a very long process. I do it because Grandma Clark taught me it is OK to make a mistake, but only as long as you fix it. I do it because Grandma Clark passed away on a hospital bed in my living room when I was 14 years old, and now I crochet for her, and I design for her daughter, Vada, so I want it to be right.
At least I crochet and design partially for them, or maybe more because of them, I do it for my family. I do it so Doug can leave jobs 2 and 3 and see the girls more. I do it so I can be home with the girls, and I can go pick them up from school when they get sick. I do it because it makes me happy. I do it because I can, because I was raised to believe in myself, and to do what makes me happy.
Speaking of being raised to believe in myself and do what makes me happy; there are a LOT of skills I learned from my parents as well. My father owned his own business until a few years after I finished undergrad. My mother was a stay at home mom, who went back to college when I was in grade school, and had earned her masters degree by the time I graduated high school. Now she works for the Department of Defence, teaching the children of our military men and woman living on bases overseas. From them I learned the skills and confidence I needed to create my home business. To fearlessly decide, with a husband, twin girls, and a house to care for (OK, I neglect the house a bit), I am going to create my own little Jessie At Home empire.
Yet there would be no Jessie At Home empire without Grandma Clark. Without that couch in that wonderful smelling apartment. Without those Sunday dinners.
Thank you Grandma Clark. I love you.
P.S. I would love to hear the stories of how all of you learnt to crochet! Please post them in the comments here, or, if you have a page of your own and want to share the story there, post a comment and the link to your story here. Be sure to post a comment with your link, as posting just a link will toss you into my spam folder and I get far too much spam to be able to search through it all.
P.P.S. 🙂 Fiber Flux has put together a list of quite a few awesome designers and how they learnt to crochet. Check out her post here!
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