Those of you that are close to me know that in January of this year we lost my grandmother unexpectedly to stomach cancer. Within weeks of coming down with what she thought was a nasty stomach bug and days of finding out the ugly truth, she was gone. I was fortunate enough to be able to spend the last weeks of her life with her. All the time I spent in the hospital while she was there, I passed the time by crocheting.
You see, my grandmother was the one that taught me how to crochet so crocheting by her side was nothing new for us. She taught me when I was around 12 years old, maybe younger. In those days I would spend the summers with my grandparents and my grandmother loved to go camping. We would go camping for a week or more at one time and as I’m sure you can imagine, a young kid will get pretty bored during that length of time with no phone, video games, or tv. Afterall, you can only play cards so many times. Undoubtedly I drove my grandmother crazy so in an effort to teach me something to do that would keep me busy, and quiet, she taught me to crochet. She would have me make chains until I was sure I could wrap the entire car in my chain it was so long. Then she taught me the basic stitches. I would practice those until she thought I was good enough to make something besides a very lopsided square. Finally the day came when I was good enough to make a potholder. She taught me a very basic potholder pattern and off I went. I swear I must have made a hundred potholders. In fact some of those early potholders are still hanging around, much to my dismay. They weren’t pretty by any means but boy was I proud of them. I eventually progressed to making a few very basic scarves but potholders were my mainstay. They were quick and easy and I could give them to everyone I knew!
As time went on I quit crocheting all together. Then just a few years ago I picked it back up. It was just before I found out I was pregnant with my daughter actually. I learned to read patterns, and really began to understand what I was doing. Even though I was married and “grown” I would still take my creations to my grandmother and go to her with my questions. It always amazed me how much more she knew about it than I did. Until one day I was able to show her something that she didn’t know. I came to her with the lighted hooks that I had only just recently discovered and she couldn’t believe that something like that was even out there. So of course I had to get her one for her birthday. It was so much fun to be able to show her something new about the craft the she taught me so much about. I felt just like that little girl who had finally made her first potholder.
I would often come to visit and see that lighted hook sticking out of a ball of yarn next to her chair and it always made me happy. I loved that crochet was something that we could always share no matter what else was going on in our own little worlds. It was our connection.
After that last day at the hospital I put my hooks away. Something inside wouldn’t let me pick up a hook, it just didn’t feel right. It was not easy the first time I picked my hook back up but I did it because I know she wouldn’t have wanted me to give up like that. She would have told me I was being silly. So I started to crochet again, not on the projects I had already started before but on one simple design. A dishcloth. Not just one dishcloth; I’ve made so many that I’ve lost count. I made dishcloths until I ran out of cotton then I would go out, buy more and start again. I think in some way it was my tribute to our days of making potholders. Something simple, useful and yet beautiful in its own way. Who knew a dishcloth could serve as a coping mechanism but it has certainly served that purpose for me. My days of making dishcloths are done for the time being at least, so here is my dishcloth tribute…