Two days ago I finished a crochet blanket and yesterday I had the pleasure of giving to a girlfriend. It always fills me with satisfaction to see the final product and know that I made this beautiful (at least, I think so!) thing with my own hands. The other day in my post about boredom, I wrote about how manual labor in the form of creative crafts can help alleviate ennui and make one feel useful. Crocheting, for me, is more than just a way to feel productive: it a fun way to give a little part of myself to my dearest friends.
Last year I joined a Stitch n’ Bitch and started meeting up with a group of (mostly) ladies on Tuesday evenings. (Stitch n’ Bitch is an international thing and you can probably find one in your hometown if you’re interested.) We meet in quiet, well-lit cafés around the Plateau neighborhood and chit chat mostly about our projects, but also about the little things that make up these lives of ours. I have learned a lot of tricks from the ladies, including this neat tip for joining two skanes of yarn!
There are always new and familiar faces at the meetings. They come from diverse backgrounds, all brought together by a love of knitting and crocheting. The other day, the organizer of our group asked us on Facebook why we knit (or crochet). The reasons were diverse: some said for socializing, others for keeping their hands busy. Still others said they learned it from a loved one and kept on in their memory, and others do it for the love of creating something. Everyone had his or her own reasons for picking up the needles or hook, and it was interesting to hear the different ways this simple, ancient activity brings joy to people’s lives.
That got me thinking about why I love crocheting so much. My mother taught me when I was little, and she and I worked together on a granny square blanket which I kept for many years (until it disintegrated). It wasn’t until college, though, that I realized what a precious gift crochet is. My friends saw my old blanket and kept asking me about it. So I finally picked up my hook again and made a throw for each one of my closest girlfriends. Then I made one for my grandmother. Then I made one as a wedding gift for my oldest brother, then another for my second brother and his bride.
Soon, everyone I loved had a handmade Jane afghan. Even my new little nephew has his own original BrainInJane piece! So when asked why I crochet, I realized that it is because for me it is a way of telling a friend or a family member just how much I love them. I want to give them something that I have put time, thought and energy into. It’s my way of saying, “You are a person I value and here is just a small token of how much you mean to me.”
The next time you have a gift to give, consider making it yourself. You’ll be delighted by how much it touches your friends’ hearts.