Thursday, January 26, 2012

or, How I Learned to Stop Looking at My Watch and Love Waiting Rooms.

I began crocheting in earnest in 2007, when I was accidentally sent a book of crochet patterns instead of scrapbook layouts. Mom had taught me to crochet when I was a little girl, but all I remembered was to make a long chain and how to double crochet. But this book had a picture of a cool skirt I wanted to make for my stepdaughter for graduation, which was about 3 or 4 months away. Paul gladly took me to a yarn store he’d seen a story about online, and I purchased everything I needed to get started. It was NOT going to be a cheap project, it turned out.

Let me back up. When Paul and I were dating, I had bought about 10 or 12 skeins of Red Heart Fiesta Yarn and was going to make a giant blanket. I made a chain the approximate length, and then began double crocheting my way back across it. It was very, very, very boring and after I was about a foot or so into it, I set it aside in a pretty basket to work on. That yarn is STILL in that pretty basket, though I pulled all the stitches out and rolled the used yarn into big balls, just waiting for me to figure out something to do with. Yeah… that was 10 years ago. Since then I have amassed BINS full of different colored yarn, mostly acrylic but some much nicer, depending on the project, and made probably 100 awesome little things and maybe 10 or 12 bigger projects. But that Red Heart Fiesta yarn is still waiting quietly to be turned into something. I feel sort of sorry for it.


That’s a whole ‘nother post, too… the repurposing of unloved things. But I digress…

Back to Brittany’s skirt. This was in about February, graduation would be in May… she got it for Christmas. But by gosh and by golly, as Grandmother would say, I learned those stitches. I stitched for hours, then held it up and looked at it, and would pull it all out and start all over again, or going back to the place where it started to look “wrong.” For weeks and weeks I did this. Stitch, unstitch, restitch, look… wind it back into a ball. But when I gave it to her for Christmas, all the stitches were right, and it hung straight instead of twisting off to one side.

In the meantime, I’d discovered Annie’s Attic (have no idea how I stumbled onto that) and Annie’s Crochet Newsletters from back in the 80′s, and began hunting Ebay and then Etsy when I discovered it, and began amassing patterns. Patterns for everything from clothes to dolls to stuffed animals to play food. That’s right, play food. But I’d also experiment with what I called “yarn sculpting,” which was sort of just staring at a picture of something and crocheting until it matched. Here was one of those efforts.


A couple of weeks ago, Jessyca and I went to renew her driving permit. The DMV here was so packed, it was raining and a line of people with (and without) umbrellas wound around the building outside. So we drove to Boerne. Well since the last time we did this, the secret of the Boerne DMV had somehow been leaked to the general public, and it was packed, with a line that ran outside. So we admitted defeat and got in line, pushing our way first through the crowd gathered in the foyer to get a number. People were out in their cars, too, and would come up and ask what number we’d heard called last, to see if their number was getting close. They were on 65, and we were 93 when we got there. And it was raining, and cold. Well, I just pulled my knitting needles (I’m teaching myself to knit) and started working on a big loopy scarf. Everyone was grumpy, cranky, angry, even rude. But I just knitted and put up with the cold, waited until room opened up in the foyer for both me and Jessyca… even traded numbers with the lady who had 99 because she was so afraid of how late she was going to be for work. Seats would open up inside and we would let older people go take them. Later when 2 seats opened up, everyone insisted that Jessyca and I take them. Just the wait from arrival to leaving was 4 hours. I loved it – uninterrupted time to play with yarn. When I got home I had only enough time to grab a piece of buttered bread and sign on to work. But for that whole time waiting in line, I got to play. Other people waiting in the same line for the same amount of time were miserable, but we actually had a good time.

I learned this when I first started taking crochet projects with me everywhere. When you have kids, you have appointments. They can tie up all your time. But they can also be YOUR time. Generally if you’re on a plane, on a bus, in a waiting room, in line, you can listen (or just read) a book. But you can also draw a picture of something you see, or knead a small piece of clay into something, or crochet or knit something. It’s YOUR time, and the only thing you’re EXPECTED to do with it is just be there. At home there’s vacuuming, laundry, cooking, phone-answering. At work there’s… well, work. Heck, I once sat on a pile of lumber at Home Depot and crocheted on a project while Paul looked around for whatever he was looking for. He got to take his time and not worry about me being bored, and I got to work on this… which by the way took me 2-1/2 years and over 2000 yards of thread. I did it ALL while sitting in traffic, in the few minutes before church service started, and waiting. It was grungy and grimey from being handled and hauled around everywhere. More than once I would mis-count and have to rip out rows and rows of stitches. I really learned not to mind that, either… it taught me to enjoy the time spent on the project, whether creating or correcting, so that the picture would come out right. Anyway, all that effort turned into this:

 {christmas runner} 

Patience isn’t something you “get,” like the flu. It’s something you go get, like lessons to learn ballet, or to play the piano. You don’t have to find any more time, you just have to love the time you have. It’s a choice! Plus, people REALLY like you when you trade numbers with them in line at the DMV, you get to feel good all day long about it, and your karma skyrockets. Be patient… I dare ya.
This morning I finished this scarf, and listed it on Etsy. Like everything else, the more I rushed the more stitches I had to rip out. I was trying to do it in between important things but instead I just did it WHILE doing important things. Like, watching “The Apple Dumpling Gang” and “That Darn Cat” with my kids, and the first 10 episodes of Hawaii 5-0 on Netflix.

{valentine scarf}

Thanks for spending some time with me! Have a wonderful day!

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