Monday, December 05, 2005

Baile Rochel #8 I'm Embarrassed to Admit This…

Baile Rochel’s Back! #9 (not 8)
The 4th of Kislev
December 5, 2005

I'm Embarrassed to Admit This…
But I Crochet

Crocheting has not been my thing for a long time, and even when it was, it was nothing I'd brag about.

I used to crochet kippot (skullcaps for Jewish males) for my husband, who was overjoyed when our daughters took over. Mine never quite achieved the standard the "maivens" (experts) considered minimal. They looked homemade in the bad sense, like poorly done and not in style. I never quite graduated from that "first try" look. Though to be honest, they were light years better than my real first try. It was done from thick yarn, like for a winter hat and the decoration was embroidered on. Don't ask, and the guy who asked me to make him one is probably still embarrassed almost forty years later. Smart guy, he never asked me again!

Over the years, ok, decades, I kept my hands busy with all sorts of other projects. Believe me, there are times when busy hands keep the mouth from all sorts of evils, incoming and outgoing. If you want less food or less "foot in mouth", then stay busy with needlepoint or embroidery. I can't get through a staff meeting without something to drain my energies. I also found them helpful to overcome the boredom of flying. For years I did needlepoint, and luckily most of them took years to get finished.

Then two momentous events coincided, world terrorism and full walls! Yes, it was an amazing coincidence. Just when it became obvious, even to me, that there was no more hanging space on our walls, it became illegal to travel on an airplane with scissors, and I had to fly to the states. How could I survive ten hours in one seat without my needlepoint to occupy my hands?

The time had come to live dangerously, try something new! A few friends had been urging me to crochet hats, like they do. It had never appealed to me, since I don't think that I look good in them. And when someone told me that she had over fifty, a few per outfit, I thought I'd be sick. I'm trying to reduce possessions, like
Fly Lady.

Then I realized that I could always give them away… It was like what I learned in Kohelet, Ecclesiastes, how it's the "doing" not the "having" that gives pleasure. One of my daughters agreed to be a recipient, so I went into a yarn store, asked what to buy and bought some.

After that was the hard part, remembering how to crochet. Amazing, I did it. A hat is just a larger kippa, so it started growing and growing. When I was on the Long Island Railroad crocheting, a young woman told me how impressed she was at my talents. I was very polite and didn't reveal that I hadn't the vaguest idea of what I was doing.

I think that my daughter is getting tired of my hats. She has noticed that they're getting completed more and more quickly. So she suggested I try to crochet something else. "Something else!?! Wouldn't that require following a pattern, or thinking?" I replied.

The whole point of crocheting is to just keep my hands busy, without stress. I don't know what I'm doing, and that's fine with me.

If I crocheted a shawl, it would be too large to carry everyplace. I'm only interested in projects small enough to carry in my pocketbook, easy to remove and work on anyplace at all. The only other small thing would be socks, but if I crocheted socks, they would have to fit someone. And they'd have to have matching pairs. Just the thought and my blood pressure could go up, G-d forbid!

So I'll just continue with my hats, and maybe I'll even get used to wearing them. Or maybe I'll find more customers than my own daughters…

Don't worry; knitting is not in the cards. I can't imagine myself schlepping two knitting needles, poking people and worrying about fallen stitches.

And remember, it's lots better than noshing!

Baile Rochel
Copyright©2005BatyaMedad, Contact me for publication permission; private distribution encouraged.


wendy said...

I can imagine you crocheting your grand-daughter a little poncho. I have seem some simple patterns - and it will take more time, so it should keep your hands busy longer than a hat. I finally finished knitting a hat that I started last winter. I am ssssllllooowww.

Batya said...

Too bad I don't have enough room in my bag for a poncho.

Dzeni said...

Why don't you crochet squares?? When you have enough of them, you can join them together to make a blanket. I did this as a kid and have two rather large croched blankets that I still use. No brains required to make squares. You can do heaps of different colours as well :) Blankets are also really easy to give away.

Batya said...

How do I crochet squares? I only do circles.

Anonymous said...

That's wild. I have a kippa made out of thick brown wool crocheted by a Bar Ilan student with long blond hair in 1971!

Barry Silverberg

Batya said...

Sounds like the first disaster of a kippah I crocheted about 40 year ago.
Do you still have the kippah, or the blond?

Anonymous said...

Making a square is the same as making a circle, only at four places around, you do an increase - two stitches in one place. Basically.

Batya said...

I guess I ought to try it sometime.

Elle said...

oh I am very much the same way about knitting! I LOVE knitting... but only small hand held projects that don't require a pattern. I already have many jobs in my life (mother, doula, wife, cook, teacher...) I don't aim to take on any more. Knitting is purely for my own therapy and if I have to follow a pattern I don't find it enjoyable anymore. so I have made many a hat, scarf and fingerless glove and head warmer. that's as far as I ever intend to go.

Batya said...

I'll need a bigger bag for knitting, but it's tempting.