When I was about 20 years old, I met my soon-to-be fiancée’s grandparents.
As I sat in their house and sipped iced tea, making small talk with his grandmother on a Sunday afternoon, the bright summer sun streamed through the slatted blinds and inspired confidence in both of us. Soon we began to relax, and when she set her tea glass down, my attention was drawn to her hands. They were knotted, had age spots, and the skin stretched tight over the bones.
Watching me take note of her hands, she said, “Let me show you something, my dear.”
She stood, and I followed suit. My curiosity was fully aroused as I followed her into her bedroom. She stopped just inside the door, and there on her bed lay the most beautiful bedspread I had ever seen. Moving closer to get a better look, I saw tiny, intricate circles the size of silver dollars joined together flawlessly to cover the entire surface of the bed.
“Do you like it?” she asked with obvious pride in her voice, and I immediately knew that she had made it.
“I love it,” I replied.
She took a few steps forward and joined me next to the bed as she said, “I crocheted it with twine.”
Fascinated, I bent down to get an even better view of this amazing work of art, then said, “There must be hundreds of those little circles.”
“There are quite a few. They’re called medallions,” she said. “I can show you how to make them if you’d like.”
Of course, I did.
I watched in awe as the white twine flew through her aged fingers, twisting and turning into beautiful crocheted medallions. The hook she used resembled a pecan picker, the twine a thick thread. After a few minutes, she offered me the hook.
“Oh, no. I couldn’t,” I said. “I’ve never crocheted before.”
She chuckled and gently patted my arm as she said, “Yes, you can. Here, I’ll work with you.”
The hook was thin and awkward, and my fingers became hopelessly entangled in the thread. How did she make it look so easy? Her tolerance of my gawkiness and her encouraging words gave me the confidence to keep trying. My fingers felt like tiny aliens, refusing to follow even simple commands. However, I persevered, and before I left her house, I could crochet an untidy chain.
I practiced hard over the next couple of weeks, and I learned as much about patience as I learned about crochet. Even stitches eventually replaced awkward loops, and a medallion soon began to take shape. Each finished medallion compared in size to a silver dollar and took about an hour to complete. I took pride in my accomplishment, but the idea of producing enough of them to make a bedspread continued to be more than a little daunting.
Many years have passed since I picked up that first crochet hook. The white twine graduated into wool yarn, and granny squares replaced the medallions. Since that time, my fingers have adapted to many different hook sizes and
a variety of threads, including strips of fabric to make hook rugs.
Since learning to crochet, I’ve made doilies, throws, afghans, doll clothes, fringe, dish cloths, potholders, rugs, shawls and scarves.
I’ve also taught my mother, my grandmother, my sister, my daughter and many friends how to crochet. Few accomplishments in my life have brought me so much pleasure or so much pride, and I owe it all to the kindness of a grandmother.
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