My Nana taught me to crochet when I was eight. I remember sitting on her plaid couch, canary yellow yarn in hand, watching her loop yarn around a crochet hook. Crochet, unlike knitting, is a “handed” sport. If you’re right-handed like Nana, you made the stitches one way. If you’re left-handed like me, the process works in reverse.
So Nana taught herself to crochet backwards while I watched. Then she put the hook in my hands and showed me how to make loops. I had no idea what a virtuoso lesson this was until much later. It’s a bit like teaching yourself to write with your non-dominant hand before giving someone writing lessons. Completely. Amazing. With her help, I made a “blanket” the size of a dishcloth, shaped like the state of Texas.
Then I chucked the blanket into my closet and forgot about crochet until I moved to New York to get an Master’s in Fiction. Six months later, I dropped it again in favour of knitting.
But there’s something primal about crochet for me. That particular fiber craft will forever be tangled up with memories of sitting with my Nana, learning something special from someone who thought I was great. So when the Pandemic hit, and I needed some comfort, it was only natural that I pulled out my crochet hook and made hexagons for a blanket. It was my way of connecting to the family far away.
And as of March 26th 2022, it’s the only way for me to connect with Nana because she passed away unexpectedly. Sophia Margaret Hernandez was a mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and great great grandmother. Nobody called her Sophia. Nana Margie read Danielle Steel novels and put puzzles together when she wasn’t crocheting. She liked her Coors Light cold and her salsa hot. She kept a bottle of Tobasco sauce in her purse, for emergencies.
I miss her. But every time I crochet, I will have a little piece of her memory at my side.
What’s That Douglas Up To?
The last two months have been a grab bag of all the things. I lost one grandparent at the end of January and another at the end of March. In between those things my daughter and I published our first artistic collaboration. It’s a single panel comic and I’m proud of my kid’s newly developed professonalism. Check it out if you’re so inclined. Two days after Nana died I started a new remote job in a Project Management office for a global company. A week later I published another work related comic.
So I’m basically both in mourning and celebrating. If I needed proof that life isn’t all one thing or another, the first quarter of 2022 has definitely been it.
I’ll have more to say about my adventures as a remote worker in a truly global company as I get a little further into my role. Until then, I invite you to try crochet. And if you teach a kid something you love to do and they end up dropping it right after, don’t dispair. The skill is there, waiting for the right time to reemerge.