I crochet in bars. And coffee shops, restaurants, theatres, on El platforms, in cars, on buses and subway trains. I crochet in the dressing rooms of the Lyric Opera. I've been known to crochet backstage in a quick-change booth while waiting for the performers I have to dress. I've never crocheted in church, but I have crocheted in Bible study. I've crocheted in a shipping container in New Orleans.
Yarn makes my heart race. I love the way it feels, I love the way it smells, I love the colors it comes in, I love the awesome stuff I can make with it, I love the look on my loved ones' faces when I present them with handcrafted treasures. Crocheting for me is like a moving meditation. No matter what's troubling me, all I have to do is grab some yarn and a crochet hook and start counting stitches. My shoulders relax, my breathing slows, my tension melts away.
My grandmother taught me to crochet when I was a young girl. I'm an only child and she was my primary caregiver, so she wanted me to learn a craft that kept my hands busy and out of trouble. She had a weekly Lunch and Stitch (no good Christian woman would have referred to this type of gathering as a Stitch 'n' Bitch even if that term had been coined at the time!) with her friends Edna, Edna, Mildred and Mildred. They mostly made lap robes for the church to donate to "old folks homes." They primarily used sport-weight acrylic yarn and a size G hook. This is not what prompted my love affair with crocheting. We were friends, crocheting and I, but it didn't make my heart race.
I would revisit crocheting every few years when I needed something to occupy my hands, but it wasn't until the autumn of 2008 that I fell deeply in love with my craft. It was my first season as a dresser at the Lyric Opera. I had a lot of downtime while the performers were onstage, but I never knew when I might be called to stage with someone's glove or fan or something. Books were out of the question because my OCD wouldn't allow me to stop reading mid-paragraph if I were called to stage. Magazines proved to be too expensive, and crossword puzzle books, when completed, were just tossed away leaving me with nothing to show for my labors. And then it hit me -- I needed to crochet! I found a pattern (which I sometimes still refer to as a recipe) for a Granny Square afghan, bought some yarn and a hook. And the minute I completed my first square, I heard violins! Later, of course, I realized those violins were coming from the orchestra pit, as this epiphany transpired during a performance of "Porgy and Bess". But I digress!
Baby blankets followed. Scarves, hats, fingerless gloves, shawls, flower pins. I even crocheted myself a boa. It's become a way of life. I host a Stitch 'n' Bitch (all apologies to Grandma, the Ednas and the Mildreds) on Thursday nights from 7-9 at the Glenwood Bar, 6962 N. Glenwood Avenue, in the Rogers Park neighborhood on the north side of Chicago. I have yarn in my bag wherever I go. There's a skein of green worsted yarn in my bag as I type this!
And I decided that if I'm this passionate about my crocheting, there must be others who feel the same. And I meet a lot of interesting people when I'm out and about crocheting. I also hear lots of interesting things when people think I'm too focused on my stitching to hear! So that was the impetus for this blog. I'll post pictures of things I'm working on, share awesome patterns (which I sometimes still refer to as recipes), and tell stories of the road. I hope you enjoy! Peace, love and yarn!
The Supplementary Men's Chorus of "Lohengrin" in the hats I crocheted for them