Thursday, February 16, 2006

Sometimes, I can go a little "overboard"...

On occaision, I can get a bit carried away with things. One might call it OCD tendencies, and as I've said before, I believe it's genetic.
Whatever my current interest is, it becomes all consuming.
When I first started beading, I was going to the bead shop at least once a week and to Gemfaire whenever it was within a reasonable driving distance. By the way, to me "a reasonable driving distance" was whenever it was within approximately 100 miles. I told you I can go a little overboard. Anyways, I had to have more beads, all the different types of pliers and crimpers. I was making necklaces, bracelets, anklets, cell phone charms, etc. for EVERYONE.
When I first resumed crocheting about 10'ish years ago (after a loooooong hiatus from when my great-grandmother first taught me as a child), I had to have every size crochet hook made, almost every color of Red Heart yarn (egads - I had yet to learn the beauty of local yarn shops and natural fibers), and EVERYONE got afghans. Then when I began knitting late last year I discovered a few local yarn shops and some BEAUTIFUL yarns and bamboo needles. Considering I have more disposable income now than I did 10 years ago, I can afford nicer yarn than Red Heart and my bank account reflects this. Whenever I walk into my favorite LYS, the owners face lights up.
Also, I'm always more than happy to help any charity or worthy cause - most notable it the Sacramento area blood bank. I am TERRIFIED of needles - come near me with one and I'll start to hyperventilate, seriously. Two years ago my mom (who is a medical assistant) got to test me for allergies and thought it would be hilarious to pull out the biggest needle she could find. The office receptionist said all of the other patients in the waiting room jumped when I screamed. BUT, every 8 weeks I'm at the blood bank giving a donation. Why? Guilt. It works wonders. My senior year of high school I got talked into donating at the blood drive we had at our school, and found out that I am O-. Ever since then I get the following message on my answering machine every 8 weeks "Hello Vanessa, this is Vampiress from We Want To Suck You Dry Blood Bank and did you know that your blood type is the only type that can be transfused into infants and premies? Think of the babies, Vanessa, THIIIIIIIIIIIINK OF THE BABIEEESSS!!!!!!!!"

So, what do you think happens when you mix a touch of OCD, a bit of a stash of Red Heart, and a fondness for charitable organizations?


Last week Drew made a plea for granny squares in reponse to the current volume of request for comfortghans from the organization, Heartmade Blessings. I thought I could knock a couple out while watching TV and send them off to Drew. Well, that turned into a nightly routine of "I'll just make one more tonight & then send them tomorrow"
I'm a stinky smoker, so I've Febreezed them well, and threw a couple of fabric softener dryer sheets in the envelope for extra April-Freshness. I'll be taking them to the post office on my lunch break Friday.

Drew, I hope they're not too stinky.

I enjoyed making each and every one of them, it gave me the chance to do more crocheting than I've done in a long time and I was able to try out some new patterns.
But, I think what I enjoyed most about making these was that they reminded me why I started crocheting again 10 years ago this fall.
When I was little girl, I would spend a considerable amount of time at my great-grandparents house and would watch my great-grandma crochet items for church missionaries, including granny squares. Being the pain-in-the-ass, I mean curious, child that I was, I begged her to teach me what she was doing. I THINK I was about 7 or 8 at the time, and she gave me a hook and some scrap yarn and taught me the basic chain and single crochet. With this information I managed to crochet a scarf or two for my Barbies (they were just chains) and some "area rugs" for my doll house (it looked REAL classy). That was about as much information as I was able to absorb before my attention was diverted to something else and I completely forgot about crocheting. It was probably George Michael. I was a big WHAM! fan when I was 8.
Then, in 1996 just before I turned 20, she died. I had just moved to Boston and had started a new job only two weeks prior to her death but I was able to fly home the morning of her funeral, then had to turn around and fly back the very next morning. Being 3,000 miles away from my family, by myself in a new city, I wasn't grieving very well but decided that I needed a scarf for my first New England winter. I got some Red Heart and randomly picked out a crochet hook (mind you, I was not paying any attention to the hook size, but rather which color hook was prettiest) at the local Walmart. That first scarf was... interesting. I had to rip it out and start over SO many times. I didnt have anyone to teach me, I didnt have internet access to look up anything, and my budget couldnt afford any instructional books, and it was obvious. BUT, with every stitch and every row, I remembered my great-grandmother. I remembered her sweet tea that could induce a diabetic coma, all of the afternoons that I spent at her house, my cousin and I playing dress up in her spare bedroom and picking hydrangeas, geraniums, and azaleas from the front yard.
I remembered her teaching me how to crochet on summer afternoons over 10 years earlier.
That was the first time I was able to cry since learning that she had passed. For me, crocheting is a way to remember my great-grandma, to remember how much love she put in to every stitch, and to try to continue it.


carrie said...

what a nice story. i'm sure she'd be thrilled that you are crocheting again. and how great of you to make all of those squares! i'm sure they'll be put to good use.

kimananda said...

It's wonderful that you can put together all these strands into charitable granny squares, which also look wonderful. Really, reading your blog makes me want to abandon cross stitching (temporarily only, mind you) and learn to crochet!

Tara said...

Ok, your blood bank bit made me snort coffee.

Mama Kelly said...

gorgeous granny squares ....

my favorite things to make right now are:

and oversized granny squares that i donate as blankets to project linus

theres something extra restful about crocheting for a good cause

Shananigans said...

You are such a good and giving person, whether it’s guilt induced or not that makes you special ;) I wish I could be a little more obsessive/productive, too bad I’m just lazy. I really have to force myself to accomplish things and can’t seem to focus on more than one thing at a time. At present my mission to not look like a beached whale in a Speedo on my vacation in June is going to have to take precedence over picking up that drop stitch experiment I started over a month ago. Your squares look very cheery, I know they’ll make someone very happy.

~drew emborsky~ said...

The squares arrived today and they are fantastic! Thanks for sharing the backstory about your great-grandma... that makes theme extra special!