Hooked: My Love of Crocheting
What is one hobby you have maintained since childhood? For me, it’s crocheting. I learned the craft of crochet when I was in middle school as part of the crochet club. We would meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays during my lunch period. I still have my first crochet hook. I vividly remember practicing how to make a slip knot and crocheting foundation chains. The cream acrylic yarn was scratchy and easily bobbed around my plastic gray 6.50 mm hook as I yarned over and pulled through the loop.
I didn’t pay attention to anyone else, I was laser-focused on my own hook, my own yarn, and my own hands. I watched my art teacher review the moves again. She sat on her high stool in the center of the art classroom, to my left. From then on I crocheted scarves and very tightly stitched hats. I couldn’t get the measurements right but my parents would proudly wear their gifted hats anyway. I crocheted things for people I loved so much. I would ask them what their favorite color was and make them scarves with the softest yarn I could find.
My knowledge has grown so much over the years and I am amazed and overcome with gratitude and glee that I get to crochet for others and reach new people with my little creations. I keep all my WIPs (work in progress), even though I know I will never finish them, haha, but I can’t throw them away because they’re a part of my story. Each WIP and finished project marks certain moments in my life. I can recall my intentions of what motivated me to make that certain thing. I can recall the places I brought a project to crochet in. I can recall the yarn shopping experience and who I was with.
Like when I entered a small yarn shop and unexpectedly saw the owner crying into her phone. The store was empty besides me and a friend, so we quietly walked around to not disturb her private conversation. Later on I asked her, “What happened? What’s wrong?” She then shared everything, in between sobs, and I reached over the counter and held her hand and asked if I could pray for her. She said yes and after that she smiled, said thank you, and wiped away her tears. Next she was happy when more customers came in. That day I was buying yarn to crochet scarves as Christmas gifts for college friends.
Crocheting is like a trusted friend to me. Always there when I need it, and I learn more and more about crochet over time. I recently read actress Sutton Foster’s memoir, “Hooked: How Crafting Saved My Life,” because of her love of crocheting. I enjoyed it a lot more than I had anticipated, but I do wish there was more mention of her crafts and crocheting. But when she did mention her crafts, I related to them so deeply:
“Each one made me smile as it appeared, stitch by stitch.” You get a thrill to see your vision or someone else’s pattern come alive by your stitches.
“The life I had been building for the last five years had completely unraveled. I made stacks and stacks of squares. And that became a visual reminder that I was making progress. That even though my heart was broken, I was still moving forward. Each time I placed a finished square on one of the piles, it reminded me that I was healing. My garden was growing. Even if it didn’t feel that way on the inside.”
I am more motivated to crochet for others rather than just for myself. I’m the same way when it comes to quality time and self-care, I sometimes forget to remember my needs and I pour from an empty cup. With crocheting, my body tells me when I need a break, and that’s hard not to listen to. My fingers start to cramp up, my hips hurt from sitting, and I need to stand up and stretch. But seeing results gets addicting, haha. You’re so excited to almost be done with your project!
I used to think you couldn’t start over with crocheting. That the first project you made had to be the final one. But just like writing, you have your drafts and then your final piece that’s ready to be read by others. It takes three, sometimes four samples before I decide if a pattern works, and decide on the yarn type and crochet hook. Then once I share the finished project with others I’m excited with them on how cute, charming, or beautiful the project is.
Some people are inspired by your crafts, others may laugh. Which is why this moment in Foster’s book made me cry; it undid me. It was the final day of shooting for her television show “Younger” and her cast-mate surprised her with a gift that he had crocheted himself: “I’ve been watching you crochet for seven seasons, so I went to Knitty City on the Upper West Side and took lessons from this little old lady, and I watched a few YouTube videos, too. Didn’t you wonder why I wasn’t sitting in the same room as you the other day when we were shooting? I was furiously trying to finish the rest of your present.”
It hit me because you never know who you’re inspiring. Just being yourself and sharing things with others can just spark new interests for a person. Think about something you took on after seeing someone doing it first. Take a few minutes to thank them and share with them how they have inspired you, they’ll be so grateful to hear that sentiment from you!
In the end of her memior, Foster wrote: “Each blanket I have made over my lifetime tells a very specific story, including those that are not quite finished…I think a lot about what it means to ‘sew in the ends’ and how this book helped me do that. There is meaning in everything if you look for it.”
Sew in the ends, calling something done. No more tweaking or unraveling rows. It’s trusting yourself, your work, taking pride and delight in it.
Crocheting is an intimate and private activity for me, and it’s a space where I can’t compare my work with anyone else’s. I don’t have anyone else’s hands. I can have my own interpretation of things and prefer certain stitches or yarn from others. With crocheting, you find your way.
I love how Foster explained crocheting to one of her cast-mates: “Molly, Hilary and I would sit together between scenes and crochet, with me giving them ideas and tips. Molly was really intimidated at first, so I told her to take it slow and try not to get frustrated or impatient. Equally important, she had to figure out how to hold the hook, as everyone holds it in their own way – there is no ‘right’ way.”