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I learned to crochet when I was pretty young, 7 or 8 maybe? I loved dressing up dolls and I after I have sewn and glued all I could, my mom taught me how to crochet and gave me this new avenue for the doll fashion making.
After that, I tried my hand at knitting. Made myself some disastrous looking leg warmers that were all the rage at the time moved on straight to making a dress, cause why not pick a smaller, more doable project?
The dress and I had a complicated relationship. Because I didn’t know how to gauge right, my dress first came out super small, and so I had to rip it, then it came out too big, so I had to rip it out again, and finally that Goldilocks came home in a size that was just right.
I told myself that this dress was a lesson in patience (and boy, it was) and in working on large projects. After that I attempted, more successfully to make a long sweater with a name Sam (my favorite name I wished my mom gave me) on the front. I was super proud of that sweater.
As I got older, I got busier and busier, and crochet, knitting, and other fun things had to give way to schoolwork, stress, and life.
Fast forward to twenty years later, give or take and I found myself in more stress than I could handle. Both my mom and my hubby were battling cancer at that same time because those things have horrible timing. Inspired by all the donated chemo caps and blankets at the chemo rooms, I picked up the crochet hook as something I could do while I kept my loved ones a company during their treatments. My hubby, then my mom recovered, and life went back to it’s usual: running around, being busy and stressed out. I put the crochet away, again.
And then, after a few years, when we thought we were safe, my mom discovered that her cancer never really went away, it just snuck in further down her body, into her bones. This type of cancer was incurable but manageable, and so we hunkered down for the long battle.
Life became more stressful and busier, but my mom was responding well to treatments, and so we thought that she was winning the battle. Until, a year later, we discovered that cancer pulled out its ultimate card and spread into my mom’s brain. My mom fought that battle like a champ; it was amazing, inspiring and gut-wrenching. She was an incredible woman.
After a year of heavy chemo, radiation, cell therapy, and high hopes, we found that the treatments did nothing. Cancer spread even further and that we lost. Three months later my mom was gone. We tried, we fought, we suffered, we cried, we prayed, but it was all for nothing. My mom was gone, and I couldn’t save her.
It was devastating. I lost my best friend, confidant, and supporter, someone who always had my back and helped me in all my crazy ideas. But I also lost hope, my trust in modern medicine and belief that I could make a difference. With the amount of effort I put in trying to save my mom’s life and failing at it, it was evident to me that I was useless and couldn’t add anything valuable to this world.
I kept a brave face and supported my dad and my family through this time, but inside I was numb. I dropped all the side things that used to light me up: a small online business building people’s websites and teaching how to use social media, sewing toys, and writing books. There was nothing inside me to create from anymore.
After some thinking, I realized that after many years of stress and pushing myself through it all I burnt out. You know how they say to fill the cup? I haven’t been filling my cup for a long time. So, even though I’m the type of person who likes to keep myself busy with new projects and things to learn, I decided that it was time for me to be still. To not do anything, to just live my life and observe, to listen to myself and see where my soul would pull me.
I took a hiatus that ended up lasting about six months. And when I say hiatus, I mean, I still went to work, I took care of my family, I helped my dad to go through all of my mom’s (and his) things and decide what went where, packed his whole house and moved him in with us. What I didn’t do was create. All my hobbies were in the boxes in the garage, waiting for me to fill the cup and return.
I read books; I journaled a tiny bit. I pulled oracle cards once in a while; I listened to music, I did yoga and tai chi.
Then, in the summer of 2018, more like the end of May, something inside me said that I had more to give than just my daily chores. It’s funny, May always gets my creative juices going, I wonder why? Anyway, where was I?
I felt like I wanted to create something. But I knew it wasn’t a book as it was in the previous years. I didn’t want to create with my mind; in fact, I tried desperately to stay out of my head this whole time.
I wanted to create with my hands, to create something tangible, something to hold, something to give, something that would light someone’s smile, something to ground me and show that my efforts didn’t go wasted.
And that is when I turned to crochet. I opened my craft bins, grabbed my favorite crochet hook set and began.
At first, I was surprised how rusty I was, how out of habit my hands got. So, I decided to make something straightforward, something that anyone could understand, appreciate and use. For my first serious project, I picked a blanket. Yes, I know, I thought I was crazy too. But I also knew that it wasn’t about the speed of execution or perfect stitches and market deadlines. I knew it was about daily creation, this meditation in motion, working with something soft and comforting and repetitive that would keep my hands busy and soothe my soul.
Once I started, I couldn’t stop. That summer I made four blankets (including one that took 22,500 stitches to make).
I’ve been making blankets since. There is something so special, so cathartic, so rewarding about making a thick, fluffy, soft and warm blanket. The blankets I made were all meant to be simple, use basic stitches and require minimum counting so that the person making them could relax, let the stress go and lose themselves in the healing process of creation.
I created the patterns for all the blankets that I have ever created so I could pass on the experience and the magic of letting go of stress, worry, grief and finding peace, creativity, and fulfillment.
I will be sharing these and other easy to make, timeless patterns for everyone to make and find happiness and joy among the minutes of their busy days. It is my mission to help overworked, overwhelmed women to let go of stress in a creative and fulfilling way by welcoming crochet into their life.