Friday, May 06, 2011

Learning to Crochet

My Mama, the night I graduated from high school in 1976.
One of my earliest memories (I was about 3) is of my grandmother (whom we called 'Big Mama') showing my mother and me a doily she had just completed. It had a lacy white center, and was edged with beautiful purple pansies. I was enthralled. "I want to make one of those," I told Big Mama. She handed me the doily so I could examine it closer. "You will, someday," she promised.
But it was about 15 years later before I actually learned to crochet. I was expecting my first child, Robyn, and my husband was working on an off shore drilling rig. While he was away at work (two weeks on and two weeks off) I stayed with my parents. I was lonely and a little bored; both my parents worked and I was home alone all day.
My mother firmly believed  that only unintelligent people got bored. "Read a book, go for a walk," she would say. "If you are still bored I will find something for you to do." So one morning when I complained of boredom, she decided that  it was time for me to learn to crochet. She had about 20 minutes before she had to leave for work; that should be enough time.
She pulled a big bag of yarn out of her closet, and took a couple of  crochet hooks and a pair of scissors from her sewing basket. Her plan was to teach me to make granny squares for a baby blanket. I rummaged through the bag of yarn and picked out all the pastel colors. 
We sat side by side on the couch, each of us with a hook and a ball of yarn. “Okay,” she said, “Hold the hook like this and the yarn like this.” I fumbled with my hook and yarn and tried to mimic her movements. “Now do this,” she said, as she made a chain and slip stitched into the first chain to form a circle. I did my best to comply. “Alright, now do this,” she said as she whipped out the first round. She sat as patiently as she could while I struggled to complete my first round. “Alright, now cut the yarn off, join the next color like this and then do this.” Her fingers flew through the motions; I desperately tried to memorize the  movements as she made them. She watched me as I awkwardly joined a new color of yarn and clumsily began the next round. “Okay, you’ve got it,” she said. “Just keep doing the same thing until it gets as big as you want it. Then start another one.” And she was off to work, leaving me to my own devises. I struggled along the rest of the day, determined to succeed.
When she returned home from work that evening,  I proudly showed her the 4 little granny squares that I had managed to complete. She examined them and said “These are beautiful. Now make a bunch more and I will show you how to put them together.” Which, over the next several days, I did.
Years later, I was making an afghan of pastel colored granny squares for a friend’s new baby. My daughter Robyn, who was about six at the time, watched me making the little blocks for a while, then asked me what they were called. “These are granny squares,” I replied. “Is that because your Granny taught you how to make them?” she asked. "No," I told her. "My Mama taught me how to make them; my Mama taught me how to crochet."
And for that I will always be grateful. Thank you, Mama, for teaching me to crochet, and for everything else. I love you and I miss you everyday.
Happy Mother's Day to you all. And if your mother taught you how to crochet, as so many of them did, be sure to tell her thank you.


Amanda said...

That made me cry. I miss her still too very much. Happy early Mothers Day, Mommy. I love you very much.

Gramma Rita said...

Your mother's beautiful! And what a heartwarming story. Thanks for sharing with us. :)

CrochetBlogger said...

Beautiful story. Thanks for sharing.

glor said...

What a wonderful story. Happy Mother's Day and know that you're mom is smiling on you.

MamaLezlie said...

Mom's are awesome. My mom taught me to crochet several times. I always gave it up and would forget. Then I would get interested again. It didn't 'take' until I was in my 20s. Now I'm in my 40s, and she and I still have fun sharing our 'projects'. What a blessing! I have only sons, but someday they will have WIVES!... :) And maybe they will want to learn.

Z said...

That's such a sweet story. Thank you for sharing it. Aren't moms just great.

Misty said...

Wow, this is such a nice story about how personal your crochet is to you (because you learned it from someone you love).

Anonymous said...

That was a great story.
Diane B