It’s like riding a bicycle – you never forget how. That’s how I felt recently when I picked up a crochet hook, bought a few skeins of yarn and a new pattern book, and crocheted a baby blanket for some friends of my son who were expecting their first child. Then I made another one for my daughter’s sister-in-law, who is due next month. And now I’m off and running.

My grandmother tried teaching me how to crochet when I was young, but it never quite took. I wanted to learn, but lost interest before I got the hang of it. When I was in college, however, a friend taught me how to make, ironically, granny squares, and from that point on I was hooked – no pun intended. After making scarves and afghans out of granny squares for pretty much everyone in my family, I bought a book that taught me other stitches and patterns, and a hobby was born.

After college, when I got a job in downtown Chicago and took the train in to work every day, I was rarely ever without a crochet project in the tote bag I carried with me. And once my friends and cousins started getting married and having kids, I always made a baby outfit and blanket as a shower gift. When I was expecting kids of my own, I bought out the yarn store, going home with enough yarn to make not only outfits and blankets, but stuffed animals and toys, pillows, and anything else I had a pattern for. Plus christening gowns for each of them.

As the kids were growing up, crocheting was a great way to pass the time as I waited for the kids during soccer and basketball practice, and on long car rides when my husband was driving. But over time, and as the kids grew up, I started crocheting less and less. And then not at all. When I started up again, just recently, I couldn’t even remember the last time I crocheted anything. And as my husband and I prepared to move and downsize, I got rid of all the extra yarn I’d been holding on to, and tossed out most of the patterns I had collected over the years.

But now, I’m starting up again. Our new parish has, among other things, a Prayer Blanket Ministry, consisting of women who knit, crochet, sew, or quilt blankets that will be donated to people who are in need of warmth and comfort. I decided to join this ministry, and have already completed my first blanket and started a second one. Travel time – as long as I’m not the one driving – gives me plenty of time to work on them, and allows me to get something practical done during time spent in transit.

So I’m back at it, reconnected to an activity that I’ve always enjoyed – one that is giving me a new sense of purpose, that is bringing me as much comfort and pleasure as I hope it will  to the recipient of whatever I’m making, and that definitely has me hooked for life.

June 2, 2017
©Betty Liedtke, 2017