Stitches of Love

March 11, 2009 at 9:11 am (Church, Crocheting) (, , , )

When my Father passed away, someone–I don’t recall who, now–gave my Mother a light pink shawl crocheted in broomstick lace. It was a lovely gift, and for the year that she lived past his death, she kept it near her at all times–wrapped around her shoulders during dialysis, draped over the arm of the couch when she was home, or tucked into her huge lighthouse tote when she went out. For her funeral, someone–I believe my Grandmother?–wanted her buried with it, but we couldn’t find it. My brother Adam eventually stumbled across a pink shawl, one she was given when first diagnosed with Renal failure, five years before, and we used that.
I’ll be honest–the year after my Mother’s death is a blur: graduating from high school, the summer, starting college. I don’t remember exactly when I realized that I had the shawl, but there it was, tucked among my other crocheted afghans in a huge green tote.
And there it remained; an eidolon of my Mother, made of Red Heart pink yarn, as long as my arms stretched out, with long fringe, smelling distinctly of Old Lady (you know the smell! That weird, soft, powdery smell!) And I kept it buried.

When I moved into my apartment, I came across it again, and took it out. At first, I folded it up and tucked it under my bed, with the rest of the extra blankets. But as winter came and I actually decided to use all those afghans, it came out more and more. It eventually ended up on my couch, tucked under my over-sized pillow.

Well, a few weeks ago, I was attempting to straighten up and came across it again. It still felt the same, and smelled the same (which baffles me!) and still had the same feel to it–someone sat down and did this complicated stitch to make something beautiful for my mother, to try to tell her she wasn’t alone.

Prayer shawls are funny things in that way. There is the practical use of a shawl to keep yourself warm. But there’s more to it than that. There’s something…comforting about knowing that someone sat down and created it from a thread of yarn into a fabric, made especially for you.

So I’ve been making shawls. I’ve made fifteen or sixteen of them since January, and have just been collecting them in a pile. And I’m not sure what to do with them. Is it equally effective if I give them to someone to distribute? Should I wait to hear of someone who needs one? Will it be as effective if it wasn’t made specifically for them? Feel as special? Am I putting entirely too much thought into this? (Probably.) I gave one to my brother’s mother-in-law, and whenever I go over there, I see it sitting somewhere nearby, and it makes me feel like…I helped? Comforted? I’m not sure how to describe it. It’s just a positive emotional reaction.
But at the church my Grandfather is a pastor at, there is a woman who made a bunch and hung them near the sanctuary, giving them away but requesting a donation. And it made me feel…odd.

Regardless! The pattern I use is a very simple one that creates a solid, triangular fabric that is still pretty.

Pattern:
Chain 3. Slip stitch into the first chain to create a circle.
Chain 3, do 2 DC into the circle
Chain 3, then do 3 DC into the circle.
Chain 3 and turn. Do 2 DC into the same stitch.
Chain 2. Do 3 DC-Ch3-3 DC into Ch-3 from first row (this will be the point of the shawl)
Chain 2. Do 3 DC into the last stitch (the top stitch of the original ch-3)

Repeat, adding a Ch-2-3 Dc-ch2 into each subsequent ch-2 space, with the 3DC-Ch3-3DC for the point.

It is basically half of a granny square.

Another variation is to a do cross-stitch in 3DC spaces, either starting with the second row, or doing every other row.
Cross-stitch:
In the 3DC space, Do a DC into the last stitch (the stitch furthest from your hook, before the ch-2 space)
Ch 1. Do a DC into the first stitch, creating an X.

If anyone knows anyone who could use a prayer shawl, let me know. They’re free, unless I have to ship out of the country, or buy yarn I don’t already have. (So much yarn!)

Also! The hex is nearly done! And I’ve been writing up patterns/experimenting to make little, non-voodoo dolls.

I am not affiliated with either of these, but they are both great organizations:

http://www.stitchesoflove.us/
http://www.stitchesoflove.org/

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Hex

March 5, 2009 at 3:56 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

I don’t generally like the number six.

In my experiences, it usually leads to awkward, occasionally menacing things. Bad things happen in sixes, too, not threes: it’s always three big things, and three little things.

Regardless! I decided to make a hexagon blanket, because I haven’t made one yet.

A month or so ago, my grandmother gave me a trash bag full of balls of blue yarn. Mostly navy blue, with some smaller balls of light colors. I made all of the bigger ones into hats, and a few of the small, light ones into flowers for the hats and a necklace.

But I still had a lot let over. So I tied them all together, and rolled them into one giant ball. And started crocheting the hexagon.

Why a hexagon? To satiate me impulse to count things. And, well, it’ll be interesting when it’s done!

It’s a fairly simple pattern:

Chain 4, slip stitch closed to form a ring.

Round 1:

Chain 5. [3 Double Crochets into ring, chain 2] 5 times, then 2 DC into ring. Slip stitch into the 3rd chain of chain-5.

Round 2:

Slip stitch in next chain, chain 5, 1 DC into 2-ch space.

*1 DC into each of the three DC. [1 DC ch 2 1DC] in ch-2 space.

Repeat from * 4 times.

1 DC in next 2 DC. 1 DC in 3rd ch of Round-1’s ch 5.

Slip stitch in 3rd ch of this round’s ch-5.

Repeat Round 2 as many times as needed for desired size, adding 12 DCs to each round (in the ch-2 spaces.)

I’ll post pictures when I’m done!

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Hello

March 2, 2009 at 10:02 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

There is something to be said of the inability to sleep.

At first, it is irritating. You toss and turn in the dark, tangling sheets, becoming aware of the quiet shuffling of the night–the tick of the clock, the sound of cars passing in the distance. You try teas, and herbal supplements; chamomile, Valerian root. You try over-the-counter sleep aids: tiny blue pills that do little more than suppress the headache that has been slowly, but constantly, building in your brain. You cut caffeine out of your diet, try to relieve stress, exercise. You might even take prescription sleep aids, only to find that the one night you refrain, you cannot sleep. You try all of these remedies, all for five hours a sleep a night, if you’re lucky.

Eventually, you give in to the lull of prescriptions, letting the tiny white pill become a nightly routine after brushing your teeth and setting your alarm clock. You get used to bizarre blurriness of the waking world, the fog that settles on your brain, and never quite leaves.

Or you don’t. Maybe you decide to stay awake. What’s the worst that could happen? A Fight Club-esqu break in your psyche?

I tried all the remedies, none of which was very effective. I still have a full prescription of sleeping pills hiding out in my vanity drawer, and maybe someday I’ll act responsibly, and take them again.

Maybe not.

For now, though, those 18 to 20 hours that I am usually awake (sometimes more, but those days are less common, and more disconcerting) I decided to utilize. I crochet, mostly. Stuffed animals, blankets, hats…sometimes other things, and rarely with a pattern, or a purpose. When I’m not crocheting, I read, bake or cook, and write. I’m almost always online.

At the next available chance, I will post all the things I’ve made thus far (and still have) to give an example. I will post recipes, and patterns (if I have one.)

There’s something to be said of the inability to sleep. At least, something useful (and occasionally yummy, or adorable) can be made of it.

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