Posts Tagged ‘Crochet’

Knit Picker

Growing up, I’d seen my grandmother knit or crochet a few Afghan blankets and footies, but I didn’t learn to crochet myself until I went to boarding school and I housed with girls who would sit around making blankets when they weren’t doing chores or homework.  They taught me how to crochet a granny square, and I soon made my first baby blanket.  Next, I made a throw for my mother, and then I quit making anything with yarn for, oh, 20 years.

Four years ago I found out my brother and his wife were expecting their first baby and the first thing I thought to do was to make a baby blanket for this child.  I like the idea of crafting something from your own hands and heart to give to those you love most.  I visited a local yarn shop, Knit One, that carries really unique (and expensive) yarns and carefully selected my material.

The yarns in the shop were so varied and beautiful, I was inspired to learn how to knit just so I could work with them.  A friend and I signed up to take a 2 hour knitting class offered at the store.  I purchased this wonderfully soft Malabrigo kettle-dyed Uruguayan yarn and knitted my very first piece.

Isn’t it amazing what you can turn a simple string into?

This is my friend Alyssa, who took the class with me:

Alyssa and I started a virtual trend, and soon others were crocheting and knitting, too.  We got requests, we searched new patterns, we collected books on yarn crafts.  We also agreed that the knitting class we took was not worth the cost and I have since learned all of my advanced stitches either online or from a book.

Alison saw this interesting pattern in an Etsy shop and asked if I could replicate it for her.

Baby blankets are always in demand:

And I saw a girl wearing a hat I really liked, so I went online and searched for a pattern.  Now I get compliments on this hat almost every time I wear it and I love to say, “I made it myself!”

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Around about 1979 or 80 our mother went out with a fellow with connections.  His arms were connected to his shoulders, his legs were connected to his hips, and his head was connected to his neck.  If memory serves me.  So anywho, I go out to get on the school bus after school lets out one day and there’s mother and her man waiting for me in his car.  Bruvvah Rock was with them already, he may have been a 4 year-old half-a-day-er at the time.  And out to the country we went! Through the valleys and into the highlands where we spent the weekend at a motor-inn with a pool.  Hiking along the dirt roads surrounding the motor-inn, we found a box turtle with one eye, which is why we should have named him Dick, what with him sticking his one-eyed head in and out all day long, but we didn’t.  I don’t know what we named him, but we did put the box turtle in a box and brought him home to the city with us.  Again, if we’d named him Dick….


Back in the city our one-eyed friend found himself living outside in our old gerbil’s aquarium.  We were feeding him frozen fish from the pet store and it was fun to watch him wildly tear them apart by shaking his head back and forth with his beak sunk into the dead fish.  It wasn’t long before our mother’s boyfriend brought home another turtle, this time a painted variety from the pet store.  Now we had two turtles, with three eyes betwixt them.   And not long after that we were back to one turtle.  The victims of turtle theft.  Of course, we were left with the one-eyed country bumpkin, while that painted tart of a turtle likely jumped right out of that glassed confinement.  But really, anyone could have just lifted the screen off the top of the aquarium and reached right in.  And turtle thieves of the late ’70’s knew a re-sale opportunity when they saw one.  These turtles were moving faster than ever.  And I’m not sayin’ I know whodunnit, but I think you mightn’t had to look much farther than our very next door neighbors.  But before Cara Capra stole our turtle, I discovered an egg!  There we were, near the end of another perfectly played out summer day.  I took the egg out of the aquarium and excitedly showed it to my bruvvah.  It looked like these:


You know, when we were kids we used to find these rocks on the ground a lot and we called them “lucky stones.”  They look like this:


See the resemblance?

So this 4 year-old half-a-day-er who thinks he knows more than his big seestrah tries to prove me wrong by placing the egg squarely on the sidewalk, raising his tuffy-shoed foot above it, and stomping on it.  The amount of yolk a box turtle egg produces made the entire event somewhat anti-climactic, but still.  Bruvvah killed my turtle egg!  (Did I mention that the the turtles were living in our old gerbil’s aquarium?  Yeah… Bruvvah ALSO killed my gerbil!!!  And he KNOWED how much I loved animals!)

And so the story goes….

This guy that Mother was dating seemed hell-bent on getting us pets.  He knew some people with a farm who had a horse to sell.  He was going to buy her this beautiful black horse with a white blaze down it’s face.  We took a ride out to the farm and they also had a litter of beagle pups, the cutest things you ever saw.  I was in instant LOVE.  I spent the entire time ogling those puppies in that pen, letting them yelp at me and lick my fingers and face through the gate wire.  And I knew which one I wanted and I how I would take care of her and love her and call her…. “Clover?”

A few weeks after the first trip to the farm we returned to get our pup.  In sort of a trade, we put our box turtle in a box again and headed out of the city.  Along the side of a country road we pulled over to reintroduce our turtle to the free life.  There inside the box with our box turtle was another box turtle egg.  Not a lucky stone.  This time my mother saved the egg and we buried it in a bowl of salt on the warm window sill to wait and see if it would hatch.  But really, would you sit and watch a bowl of salt in the sun with a beagle pup nipping at you to play?

Oh, geez.  I nearly forgot the moral of this tale.  So, here is the stuffed turtle I made for my nephew:

Of course, little Rockwell won’t have a clue about what I am referring to, but little children like stories.  Plus, I figured my bruvvah would get a kick out of this reference to our past.  See, my stuffed turtle only has one eye!

And my bruvvah says he doesn’t remember a thing about all that I’ve just told you.  Which proves what Samuel Johnson said, which is, “The true art of memory is the art of attention.”  But even more so, in the words of Nisbet, that “A good memory is an essential element of genius.”

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Rockwell: Advanced

I invited Zia over for dinner yesterday because we hadn’t seen each other in at least a week and I still had a nice turkey in the freezer to thaw.  She came over shortly after noon and noticed the amigurumi animals I’ve been making since November.

I do not enjoy making these little buggers and would much prefer to make a blanket, scarf, hat, or almost anything else.  And even though Rockwell probably won’t play much with them, I still thought they’d be a nice gift.  So, she picks up the mouse and the frog and says, “Oooh!  Are you making these to sell?”  “No,” I say, “I made them for Baby Rockwell.”  “Huhooh, I think Baby Rockwell is advanced waaay beyond these!”  Look, I know Rockwell just turned three.  I know he is a rough-and-tumble little tyke who likes to ram toy cars and motorcycles into stacks of blocks.  But I still wanted to make these stuffed animals.  I thought they were cute.  I thought they would stick around long enough so that maybe Rockwell could hand them down to a baby sister someday.  And I thought I would enjoy making them.  “I know he’s probably not gonna play with them, but so what?,” I said.  “I wanted to make them.”  Zia looks at me, tilts her head, and says, “You should give me one!”  Do I have to point out that she’s got at least 50 years on Rockwell?  How is he advanced and she’s not?

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