Last fall I learned how to crochet and, for the first time in my life, I found a craft that kept me coming back for more. On one of my recent trips to see my parents, my mother happily handed over all of my grandmother's retired crochet hooks and some of her pattern books (where I saw a few familiar afghans). Oddly, I somehow made it through 33 years of life without realizing that my own grandmother crocheted and that's why my brother and I were given matching yellow, orange, and green crocheted bedspreads when we were kids. It's all coming together now.
While I was excited to get my grandmother's crocheting tools, there was a deep sadness in me that when she was alive, she never thought to teach me how to crochet. Granted I didn't see her very often, she lived in Indiana and Arizona most of my life, but when we did get together she taught me things like Cribbage, Gin Rummy, and Solitaire; couldn't she have taught me this simple crafty skill?
There are many levels to this sadness, one is that crocheting (like knitting, which I tried to learn as a child but never took to) is a useful skill that fits with a simple, non-consumeristic lifestyle that I strive to live out, though often failingly. Since October when I learned to crochet, I have given several scarves, two hats, two blankets, and one stuffed animal as gifts to friends and family with some more scarves in waiting to give to the homeless this fall. Each of these gifts has been received with great joy, more so than anything I could have ever bought them.
The beginning of these projects were boxes of old yarn I'd be carrying around for years that I wanted to put to use. It's that thrifty, don't waste anything, pack rat part of myself that wanted to rile against the consumerism of this culture that held onto that yarn. Now, it has a new life and new purpose.
To that end, I want to share with you a project I look forward to working on later this summer or fall, a crocheted Market Bag designed by Lion Brand yarn (the pattern is free, but you have to sign up for their newsletter to view it). I can make it with my old yarn and use it for groceries or other shopping outings, making it an easy fit into my enviro-ethic! I am so grateful that I finally learned to crochet and can reclaim some of the thrift, simplicity, and self-sufficiency our grandparents took for granted.
If you have eco-crafty projects that you'd like to share, feel free to comment on my blog post or email me! Happy Crafting!