Work has been killer this week. After leaving the office each night, all I want to do is collapse with an overflowing bowl of brownie batter and eat. the. whole. thing. I totally eat my feelings — and they’re delicious.
But eating a bowl of batter would require me to get up and make the batter, or otherwise bribe my boyfriend/sister/dog to do it for me. So I’ve started crocheting instead. I mean, I crochet all the time — but for my Etsy shop. And I love it. If it’s possible to have a true passion for Gryffindor and Ravenclaw scarves, I’ve got it. I’ve created more than 60 since opening up a few years back, and I still find it as fun as I did in the beginning. Even when orders pile up near Christmas and I have to stand in the black abyss that is the post office and I want to cry or run away. (But I don’t. Because I am reliable!)
My mom and sister recently came home from a jaunt to Hobby Lobby, land of joy and peace, with a present for little ol’ me: rust-colored yarn. A burnt orange, if you will. It inspired me. I haven’t crocheted anything for myself in so long, save a skinny scarf I’ve worn a few times. But that took about an hour to make, so I don’t really count that toward my “personal projects” goal.
And I would like to actually have a personal projects goal. Just like my attempts at balancing review copies vs. personal books read, I want to make time for more of my own “fun” crochet projects that serve no purpose other than I . . . like them.
Balance, I keep telling myself. It’s all about balance. As complicated and tenuous and difficult though it may be.
Yarn is very zen for me — and many other knitters/crocheters, I’m sure. The feel of wool or acrylic, the click and slide of the hook, the happiness that accompanies seeing your lap fill up with row upon even row of stitches — and the joy of declaring a piece finished. I love holding something and thinking, I made this. It’s a sense of tangible accomplishment so different from anything else I do.
When I worked at a craft store, a young woman in scrubs walked timidly up to my customer service desk. She asked if anyone there could help her choose yarn — “for an absolute beginner,” she said — and a hook. She explained about her long commute each day, noting she had been feeling stressed and anxious. A doctor recommended she pick up a hobby, something to keep her mind occupied on the train, and she thought about crochet.
The store was really busy that day. It was probably around the holidays. Though I didn’t have much help at the registers and knew I would probably get in trouble for stepping away, I walked with her to the yarn department and helped her choose a basic hook and skein of yarn. She knew nothing about crochet, but she looked so hopeful — and there was no way I was turning her away. No way. I had her stand at my register while I helped other customers — and when there was a slight lull, I tried to show her the basics.
I don’t know how much she picked up that day — and she might have been better served watching videos on YouTube than instructed by a frizzy-haired cashier fresh off a long day of college classes. But I’ve thought about her over the years — about whether she stuck with it.
In my mind, she’s sitting on the Metro somewhere with the makings of a blanket in her lap. Everyone else is on their iPhone, reading a Kindle, staring vacantly into the dark train tunnel. But her blanket is growing, row by row, stitched together in reds and grays and whites. One long and flawless piece.