The Next Stitch

I’ve picked up a new habit this year: crochet.


(You should know that I’m wearing hand-me-down pajamas from my 93-year-old great aunt as I type the word crochet. I feel this is significant because prior to acquiring this new habit I believed that crochet was for little old ladies preparing their goods for the Christmas bazaar.)


I can’t quite say why I picked up crochet except that it met some of my criteria for crafting consideration: A) It has a useful purpose when complete, B) It has great potential for creative expression, C) It has NOTHING TO DO WITH GLITTER. I chose this Mixed Stripey Blanket because the colors made me happy and the stitches change frequently enough I don’t get bored. I also chose to pick up a crafty because a few months ago I discovered my blood pressure numbers were on scales typically reserved for pressure cookers and the air tool used to tighten tires to vehicles. Getting a hobby that offered bi-lateral stimulation was suggested as a way to enact lifestyle changes. (I also gave up coffee and soda. I haven’t recovered from that choice yet.)


Every morning I wake up with the birds and sneak out into the living room to play with yarn. I have begun to crave the rhythm of the stitches, the way the yarn slides through my fingers, the quiet of our house before the rest of my family wakes up.


Lately, though, I’ve been trying to understand the complexity of the stitches. I only recently realized that each crochet stitch is actually a knot! I have been to a nautical museum and admired sailors knots and known I have no skill to make those. I have looked at barbed-wired artistry and considered the making of it well beyond my pay grade. I have groaned out loud to undo knots in pant waistbands, soccer cleats, and necklaces. Knots have not been my favorite. At all.


But as I have crocheted along I am recognizing that the way I grab string, twist it, and place it has been able to create a crazy, beautiful diversity. I’m starting to see the joy in knots… and the way each stitch is used to create a larger tapestry of a the story of the blanket.


This morning, as I stitched along, I asked myself if this whole crochet business had a way to be related to anything larger than a blanket. If it might, perchance, be an illustration for gleaning a life lesson. And I realized the answer is YES.


I have the ability, with my attitude, to choose the color of the day just like I can choose the color of my blanket. I have the ability, with my daily actions, to work to create a knot/memory that is within the pattern of principles I’ve adopted for my personal values. I am not required to continue with the exact same stitches forever – but I do need to recognize the importance of the stitches that came prior because they give me something to build upon, they taught me how to move forward, and the very mechanics of the stitch (how tightly I hold the yarn, what size of crochet hook I use, etc.) have created something that is individual and precious.


Hand crafted.


My life is hand crafted, just like this crochet blanket. There are no short cuts. The flaws make it more valuable and are proof it’s not machine made.

You know what else I realized this morning? Look into the background of this photo – do you see the random strings of ends that haven’t been dealt with? The slop of the yarn as it waits to be twisted? It’s a hot mess back there and sometimes I look at it and groan. But you know what else? It can and will be dealt with in the proper time. Right now the only thing I can manage this moment is the next stitch.


No more. No less. Just the next stitch. That’s what’s on my plate right now and that’s all I have to accomplish.


As we start this new year, I hope that you are building a life with a beautiful tapestry and that as you place the next stitch you are at peace. You’re creating a hand crafted masterpiece.


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