Saturday, April 28, 2007

Crochet Memories

This morning, I awoke with a long-forgotten memory clearly in my mind. I think I must have dreamed about it, although I have no recollection of the dream.

For those of you read my blog regularly, you've probably heard me mention that I don't crochet. It's true. I don't. If you had asked me yesterday I would have told you that I've never crocheted beyond perhaps an occasional single crochet finishing touch on a knitted project. If you ask me today I will tell you that I crocheted once.

When I was around 8 or 9 years old, one of my best friends was an odd little girl named Rosanne. She was extremely intelligent and rather quiet, but also a tad eccentric. She had a habit of intentionally mispronouncing certain words. Although her reasons for doing this were not apparent, it seemed to be a form of derision. For instance, she pronounced "emotional" as "em-toy-nal." She was not an emotional sort and so I always took this as a rather condescending poke at those who were more emotional in nature.

One day, she suggested that I teach her to knit and she would teach me to crochet. The thing was, she didn't say "crochet." She pronounced it "crotch-it." Now, I knew this was another case of Rosanne choosing a pronunciation all her own and I assumed that it also meant that she had some level of disrespect for this activity called "crotch-it-ing."

For some inexplicable reason, I simply did not make the connection between knit and crochet. I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about. Despite the fact that she was one of my best friends, I was far too proud to tell her that I did not know what "crotch-it-ing" was. Instead I simply agreed to her plan to swap our knowledge. It's a good thing that I had a pure mind at the time or I might have been nervous indeed about just what I was going to learn during this crotch-it lesson!

We planned our little learning lesson for that weekend and I showed up at her house with two pair of knitting needles and a couple of balls of cheap acrylic yarn. I taught her the basics of how to cast on and knit and purl (which was about all I knew how to do). Once she had that down and was ready to settle in to practicing her newly learned skill, it was her turn to teach me to crotch-it.

When she produced two crochet hooks, of course, the light bulb finally went off. Crochet! I was glad I hadn't asked her what on earth she meant by crotch-it-ing, as she would surely have given me a hard time for my stupidity. (Great little friend, huh?)

She taught me a bit, although I can't recall at all what it was. Perhaps the basics of single and double crochet?

After we each practiced a while, it was time to plan our first projects. Rosanne knit herself an absolutely ridiculous and entirely age-inappropriate tube top. I'm sure her mother was thrilled to see her prancing around in that!

I crocheted a hat. The yarn was a dark and bright purple acrylic. The hat itself was a normal ski hat shape at the start, but at the top, rather than finishing up decreasing the size to shape to the head, this hat continued upward in a tube of around 4 or 5 inches in length. With the rather thick, cheap acrylic yarn I used, this tubular embellishment sprouted stiffly straight up in the air. I suppose it's only appropriate that my crotch-it project sported a phallic symbol as an adornment!

To top off this purple monstrosity, I added a lavender pom pom atop the phallic tube. Oh my! What a hat!

This amazing hat was then presented to my mother as a gift. This - I learned several years later - was a mistake.

My mother wore that hat. She wore it often. She wore it with pride. She wore it not only that winter but FOR MANY winters to come. That's right. She wore that hat when I was 10 years old ... 11 years old ... 12 years old. She wore it right up to the point where my sister and I were traumatized. She wore it to the supermarket and to the Post Office. She wore it to drive us to the mall! She picked us up from school wearing the purple-phallic-symbol-pom-pom-crotch-it hat!!!

My sister and I were less than thrilled about this to say the least. Looking back at it, it makes me smile. The thing is, my mother wore that hat not for reasons that most mothers would. She did not wear it because it touched her motherly heart that her daughter had made it as a gift. No. My mother wore that hat because she liked it. She didn't care if people thought she was a nut. She liked it. It made her smile. It was fun. And, yes, her daughter did make it which was a nice little bonus, but it was not the motivation for wearing it.

My mother was already in her early 50's when I made that hat. She was long past the age when she might have cared what other people thought of how she looked (although I'm not at all certain that she ever really cared about such things). Growing up, everyone always said that I was like my father and my sister was like my mother, but when I look at myself as I am today I think I am much more like my mother.

I believe if I had a purple-phallic-symbol-pom-pom-crotch-it hat today, I would very likely wear it.


Sue J. said...

What an absolutely delightful story! I think your mom must have been a very special lady. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing. While I was reading your story I thought of things from my own past. I think I would have liked your mother.

Micki said...

I love this story!

My dad still uses the first afghan I ever crocheted. Whenever I look at it, all I can see are the flaws. But he won't give it up, even though I've since given him a much nicer replacement.

Oh, and my mom continues to display some atrocious pottery I made back in high school. Parents! :)

Faith! said...

Great post- I'm a firm believer in the "thought that counts" theory.

KC said...

Great story!
It is funny how memories can just pop out of your head for no reason and how different childhood experiences look in hind sight.

schrodinger said...

Oh man, I *love* that story!! Thanks for sharing.

Lynne E. said...

It's wonderful, isn't it, when someone really likes something that you make for them? I love that story, although I shudder a bit at the description of the hat. :D

~Tonia~ said...

What a sweet story. Thanks for sharing.

Scarves For All Reasons said...

And now we know who started the purple hat/red hat society. YOUR MOM With your purple hat with pompoms etc. Love it!

anne said...

i think you should make yourself one, deb! and go one step further; choose a stitch from the ripple stitch book! or, ribbed for your pleasure.