Crochet has become a large part of my life again. Thinking back, I don’t know how I let it disappear because I enjoy it so much.
When I went to Skipton this July to make a bower bird with Lucy of Attic24 in The Studio that she shares with Tracy of Handmadeoveryonder, I realised that this was the first time that I had crocheted as ‘a group’. I’ve been to a knit and natter group but most other people there were knitting. To sit in a room and crochet with others enjoying hooky time was a new and very enriching experience.
During this summer I also held a little crochet class for some friends who wanted to start learning – I hope this will continue this autumn and that I can do more social crochet.
So where did my crochet journey begin?
During Lucy’s workshop, we started by going round the table telling the other members of the group a bit about our own crochet journey. Lucy explained how she had been to uni to study textiles and had always been interested in colour but had discovered crochet after having her first two children. I discovered crochet much earlier, when I was about 14. My mum was always a great knitter and could make fabulous cardigans and jumpers in patterns, pictures and with complicated cably bits. I was rubbish at knitting and all I could think about was getting to the end of the row in one piece without dropping a stitch or ending up with more than I should have.
I can’t really remember learning to crochet but I think me and my mum learned at the same time. She didn’t really like it though, but did make my a granny square blanket to go to university with. For some reason, I spurned wool and crocheted with cotton. Using tiny steel needles and patterns bought in doily magazines, I sat for hours and crocheted intricate cotton circular creations, which now would be called mandalas. But instead of being brightly coloured, mine were white or ‘ecru’ and took forever to finish.
Crochet takes a back seat
Well, more of a back burner with very little flame. After going to uni to study science, I was busy with my course. Unlike students today who have about 9 hours lectures a week, I had a full-on 5 day week and lectures on a Saturday morning and three essay assignments each week. No time for much else. Relationships blossomed, graduation happened, jobs followed, my career progressed, marriage and children took over the picture and I became freelance and ran my own science writing business. I still do (the Day Job) but I have always tinkered with crafts.
My mum was a great crafter and in the last few years we did a lot of jewellery making together, which has become a major passion of mine. Very sadly I lost my dear mum in July 2013. As my dad had died when I was only 20, she had lived alone for 30 years in the same house that they had built and moved into when they married in 1962. Even more sadly, I had to dismantle her beloved house and prepared it for sale.
Its amazing what we mothers keep and she had so much that reminded her of our childhoods (mine and my brothers). She had painstakingly stored our favourite things and possessions, including our first shoes, photographs of our schooldays, our school reports, tickets from our graduations, even all the birthday cards we had received from the age of one to the age of 21. In a frail looking envelope I found the wrist bands that we had been given in hospital when we were born, and a letter from her dearest friend dated the day after my birth, congratulating her on me arriving safely.
All a lifetime ago now.
In amongst all these precious memories was a small red wallet. I recognised it immediately even though I hadn’t given it any thought for more than 25 years. It was my original set of crochet hooks. I could not bear to part with any of these things so I have been a bit of a hoarder during the last year. It has become easier to let some of the things go but my mum’s craft supplies have inspired me to start a new creative phase of my life. As well as jewellery making, I am now into papercrafting and textiles – and I have made a big come-back with crochet.
Picking up the hook again
It was strange at first, but after making a couple of granny squares at Christmas, I started to get into the swing of crochet again. My first proper project was a granny stripe blanket, made after I discovered Lucy’s wonderful Attic24 blog.
The therapeutic nature of crochet was something that I don’t remember experiencing the first time round but I really needed it in my life now. I have done some more experimenting since then and rarely a day goes by when I don’t do some crochet. I am about to start a new blanket, perhaps even two and I love making flowers. I’ve even had a go at making a rather lurid tea cosy.
My most recently completed project was by crochet bag to keep new projects safe and handy and I chose a group of crochet flowers from my garland as my Crafternoon Treats facebook image.
Now I am a hooker again, no sliding back. Crochet is here to stay with me.