Accomplishment. That is exactly what I saw on the face of my daughter as I watched her struggle and then master and perfect a skill that she had wanted to learn for some time. As her eyes looked into mine and I could see her joy, I was humbled to know that a hobby I enjoyed was bringing some joy to her as well; she wanted to be like me.
My maternal grandmother was a master. Her stitches were even and small, amazing creations seemed to flow effortlessly from between her hook and fingers. Round by round or row by row, the chains and loops would emerge: a doily, an afghan, a lacy basket. My own mother recalled to me how Grandma would starch and block the doilies, with heavy pins, on an old towel to create the perfect addition to a table or bookshelf. She would pull and smooth until everything was just right.
She never passed on her talent to my mother. I’m not sure why. Perhaps she was stingy with something she regarded as her ‘own’ and it wasn’t to be shared with anyone else. I think it was a travesty, myself. Just as her famous dinner roll recipes was lost, so are the patterns housed in the vastness of her mind. What I would give to have some of those treasures, the dinner rolls especially, to pass on to my own children!
For weeks now, Abbie has been pestering me about teaching her to crochet. I taught myself, mostly, but my paternal grandmother taught me how to single chain, and then to create a double crochet to make cotton yarn washcloths. It was a pleasure to sit at her side and learn something, knowledge passing from one generation to another. From there, I went through books, teaching myself a stitch here or there, and to read a pattern. I started with the thicker yarn, making a hat, a scarf, a shawl. I slowly graduated to crochet thread, going around the blankets and burp clothes that were hemstitched, and eventually started the more complicated designs.
A few days ago, I taught Abbie how to make a chain, and she spent hours making various lengths of chained yarn, weaving in between stuffed animals and across her lap. She would unravel the yarn and start again, over and over, trying to perfect it. She tried to do a single crochet stitch, but grew frustrated and didn’t want to continue, thinking it was too hard to do. Like anything else, it takes practice, and a lot of patience, something a pre-teen sometimes is lacking. After some frustration, on my part and hers, and continued pestering, Abbie learned to crochet around a burp cloth yesterday. The stitches were uneven and bumpy at the beginning. After a few inches, they became tight and steady. Soon, she was slowly making exceptional progress and beamed at the accomplishment. She asked me if I was proud of her. I almost cried as I said yes. I need to tell her that more often, because she is amazing.
I imagine the future, with Abbie, teaching her child how to knit and crochet. They will sit on the couch as we did; hooks and yarn intermingling with laughs and smiles. One skill learned from her maternal grandmother, and one learned from me. I can envision the scarf or doily that is created by her own hands, gracing the neck or bookshelf of someone she loves. She may sew like my mother in law, or she may want to pick up the pen like me. Perhaps her skill set includes the love of numbers, from both grandfathers, and the intricacies of computer hardware like her dad. I can see her foraging her own way and finding talents and skills so far untapped by her progenitors. I can’t wait.
Welcome to my digital writing journal, or mydigitalclutter. What started as a family blog almost two years ago has morphed into my writing therapy. This is where I do a lot of free writing, mostly about my life with my family and the things that catch my interest. While nowhere even close to perfect, in each post I like to see how my writing is changing with time and practice. Most posts are left unedited for this reason, so if you don't mind, take the journey with me.