I first learned how to crochet when I was 6 years old. I lived with my Great Aunt Clydie, and my Aunt Dee served as her caretaker and my babysitter. The best part of this arrangement was that Aunt Dee brought over my two cousins to play every day. During the summer months we would run around outside and play Barbies with the twins next door. In the winter, our time after school was dedicated to crochet. All five of us kids would pile around the kitchen table and watch in awe as my aunt turned a piece of string into a blanket or a scarf, while telling stories and providing life lessons. I learned how to double crochet, single crochet, and make a scalloped edge. Armed with this knowledge I created the world’s most crooked cat blanket. I was so proud of it, and can still see it clearly in my mind 25 years later.

Since that time, I’ve picked up and put down crochet many times over the years. The skill has served me well when I needed to make homemade gifts for family members, or when I’ve just needed to do something with my hands. My stitches have never been very straight, but it is fun to watch the creation of an accessory (my specialties are hats and infinity scarves) right from your own hands.

Six months after I had my son, I was looking for a creative outlet. During the early days of the pandemic, I picked up watercolors, but that felt like way too much for this new mom. The set-up, the drying, the supplies made the process seem more involved than I could take on. While trying to figure out what to do, I came across my yarn stash (doesn’t every fiber artist have one of these—bins full of yarn passed down and purchased in a fit of energy) while cleaning out my closet. I decided to come back to crochet; after all, all that was required for this artistic outlet is just a hook and some yarn. It felt so much more approachable to me than any other endeavor, which felt (and feels) so looming and involved.

I made a bear balaclava for my son, hoping this would help him keep a hat on his head for longer than 5 seconds. I used yarn given to me from my grandmother who passed away, and it was such a warm feeling to give something to him that she gave to me. He promptly lost the hat, but I do have pictures of him in it!

I told a local friend who knits about my renewed interest in fiber arts, and it reignited her interest too. We began meeting every Tuesday night from 7:00-9:00 p.m. to eat dinner, watch TV, and knit or crochet together. The time spent together is some of my favorite time each week. We work on our individual projects and talk about whatever is on our minds. Sometimes we talk about nothing at all, enraptured by the episode of Gilmore Girls that we are watching for the 15th time or the clicking of our needles. I’m currently making hats for everyone I know and just finished a round of star puzzle balls that took me longer than I’d like to admit.

Picking up crochet again has helped me carve out time for me, my interests, and one of my closest friends while navigating new motherhood. I’ve gotten better at reading crochet patterns, at checking in with myself, and at sticking with a project to the end—enjoying the journey with all of its ups and downs (which in my case means ripping out and restarting a row over and over and over and over). My yarn stash is as big as ever, but I like to think I’m making progress. I’m so grateful that crochet was there for me when I needed to find something to fulfill me.