As always, I was bored. I was seven, I was always bored. I remember the white headboard with built-in bookshelves as my Grandmother, Naomia and I sat on the bed watching television while she babysat me. She glanced up from her knitting every now and then to watch whatever cartoon I had put on.
Then Grandma got me 'hooked'. She handed me a size G crochet needle and a ball of acrylic yarn and taught me how to do a simple chain stitch. What I didn't know at the time was how I would cherish this memory of her and I together, forever. I practiced the chain stitch for weeks, never knowing what to do next. Unravel, start over, trying to perfect the stitches so they were all the same. Once I got this simple foundation stitch to where I liked it, I showed her. There was a look of pride twinkling in her eyes as she told me that I was ready for the next part - what to do with it! She then taught me how to do simple stitches; single and double crochet. Before you knew it, I was making Granny Squares.
When I turned twelve, I copied an afghan she had made for my father. I didn't have a pattern. I didn't even know how to read a pattern, but I knew how to copy any work that was in front of me. It took hours, but once I figured it out, I knew it.
I stopped crocheting for a long time after that. Too many other things to do than sit around with yarn and a crochet hook. Not to mention the fact that I didn't see the work as fashionable.
Until that ugly day. I was in high school when I was told that Naomia had Alzheimers Disease. I knew it would be a matter of time before she 'forgot' how to do a craft that she loved so much and had a natural talent for. I picked her brain, trying to get as much knowledge as I could out of her - knowing that I wanted to carry out the tradition to my friends and family the way that she had taught me.
When I was 30, Naomia passed away after a very long fight. My Grandfather handed over to myself and female cousins Grandma's knitting and crochet supplies. There was nothing fancy about Gram's 'stash'. A ton of acrylic yarn with pricetags for under a dollar, numerous amounts of size 'G' crochet hooks. But there was something in there I never knew about...knitting needles! There were double-pointed-needles, circular needles and straight needles in just about every length and size. But, I didn't know how to knit. So, I started asking questions. Turns out, Gram knitted anything and everything from socks to sweaters, she had it down back in the day! I wish I had known her during that time in her life, to soak up more knowledge, but that time was gone. Forever.
So, I taught myself. I bought books, watched videos, scoured the web for tutorials and before you know it, I was making cabled sweaters.
Then another problem got in my way. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I knew there would be days where I was too tired, my hands shake or my brain would just forget.
My goal now is to do the work when I can and for as long as I can and to someday pass along my knowledge to others. Gram laid the foundation for something that has now become a passion of mine and I plan on going for as long as I can.