When my father realized that I wanted to learn to crochet, he went out and bought a few skeins of Aunt Lydia’s rug yarn and a booklet with simple instructions for making pot holders. He then sat down on the couch with me, his then 11 year old daughter, and proceeded to help me learn to crochet from the written instructions. This was the same Daddy who used to take me fishing with him before my younger brother was born, and the Daddy who now encouraged me in more linear pursuits by gifting me with a microscope for Christmas, while he actively practiced football techniques with my brother, and accompanied him to Little League baseball games.
My father was a man of masculine pursuits and loved his time hunting and fishing, as well as rooting for his favorite sports teams, and encouraging my brother in sports. He was also very intelligent and creative. I cherish several heirlooms I have that are his creations. He made a little collar of pink wool yarn woven into squares when he was a child during the Depression years, and he cut and polished an agate and set it into a ring in his teen years. He made a little wooden sled for his young children, and he envisioned and built an incredible landscape for an HO model train. He even built two kayaks that I was able to paddle around Caddo Lake in Texas to try them for seamanship, before they were sold.
Though my dad sometimes seemed unapproachable in his masculine world of interests and responsibilities that were foreign to me, I am forever grateful that he encouraged me in my creative endeavors. Indeed, he sometimes pushed me to learn beyond my desires! While I needed his encouragement and direction to learn the skills of cooking (another area where my mother is not talented), I really have no need, with today’s supermarket selections, to know the art of cutting up a whole chicken!
My dad encouraged me to learn to crochet, and then directed me to go to Mammaw for more techniques. Mammaw made crocheted house slippers, hangers, and granny square blankets. In my early teen years, she would often be working on white thread crochet hexagonal motifs. I asked her what they were, and she said she was making a bedspread which she would give to my father when it was done. One time, I asked her if I could make a hexagon, and she taught me the pattern. I made several and gave them to her. She seemed surprised that mine turned out as well as hers. I don’t know if she incorporated my hexagons into the finished bedspread.
Though I made my share of granny squares, neck scarves, and baby clothing, my favorite is thread crochet. Two of my sons and their wives have already received a pair of intricate doilies as wedding gifts. I love relaxing for an hour or two while my fingers create a small doily to set on the metal base of a doll stand or to give as a gift. Cotton thread crochet is keeping with my reverence for natural fibers and an antique inspired home environment.
My father didn’t receive that crocheted hexagon motif bedspread. He now has clouds for his pillows and stars for his companions. I have the bedspread that was intended to be his, and I have fond memories of his encouragement of me as a child, and his example to follow. He died when I was just twenty, and I did not get to know him as one adult to another. But I do have my crochet time when my fingers know what to do, and my spirit can meditate in loftier realms.