I’ve always been a creative, whether it’s writing, photography, sewing, sketching here and there, but I always come back to one thing — crocheting.
My mom taught me how to crochet when I was little. We’d sit side by side as she showed me how to start the single chain and progress from there. When my daughter was little, I tried teaching her, but her creative tendencies weren’t fulfilled by a needle and yarn.
My mom is a master at the craft. She has made dozens of blankets and thousands of scarves. It’s her expertise and passion for crocheting that has given me the inspiration to try different things.
I admit, I’ve gone years without crocheting at times, but as soon as I pick up a needle, I’m back at it again — sometimes for a few weeks or a few months.
About 15 or so years ago, my dad was in the hospital having surgery, and we were spending hours in the waiting room. My husband, Matthew, knew how much my mom had loved to crochet, so he went to the store and came back with some yard and a new needle for my mom.
It was a nice distraction for my mom, and after weeks and weeks of sitting by my dad’s bedside, she completed a beautiful, handmade blanket. It was amazing! What was also amazing, and typical for my mom, she gave the completed blanket to my dad’s doctor, who had literally saved his life.
My parents had been retired for some time at that point, and my mom continued to create wonderful projects. For the next few years, my mom made and gave away all her creations — from baby blankets, lap blankets, full-sized blankets, scarves and even those little scarves that adorn the Bugg Light’s penguin display. Her generosity is still keeping people warm to this day.
My mom had to stop crocheting about six years ago when she hurt her back. We think it was the way she was sitting for hours upon hours with her hobby that she got injured. She’s been better for a few years with help from a new medication.
When my dad died last year, it was hard on all of us, especially my mom. I don’t think she knew what to do with herself. So I went to the store and bought some yarn and took it to her house. It remained in the bag for a few months. She just wasn’t interested.
One day, as we were sitting and talking, I thought to myself, “Enough is enough.” I took out the bright-yellow yarn and started crocheting. My mom looked on, asking what I was going to make. I told her I was just starting it for her, and it was up to her what it was going to be. She said she didn’t want to do it.
I kept on doing what I was doing, and I could tell she was getting more and more interested, and I asked her if she wanted to do it. Time and time again, she told me, “No.”
I had completed about two rows, and I figured I’d have to come up with something creative to lure my mom to finish it. I stood up, walked over to my mom, handed over the yarn and needle and told her I needed her help.
She took it and started crocheting. Needless to say, she’s been crocheting ever since. The first project she made was a yellow and white shawl that she gave to me. She’s made several more shawls, blankets and a few scarves since then.
My creative mom also inspired me to get back into the habit. When my dad was in the hospital years ago, I had started crocheting my own blanket — a project that’s actually still in the works. I took it back out of the closet last summer and it’s been a slow-and-steady work in progress.
I have, however, made some different things. I crocheted my granddaughter and my daughter each a beanie, and I made my mom a lap blanket. With a new-found outlet for stress and a way to relax, I’m back in the swing of things. I even recently purchased a knitting machine to make hats in less than half an hour.
I don’t know how long I can keep it up but, for now at least, I’m having lots of fun.
We all have our hobbies, and crocheting, for my mom and I, gives us a gratifying feeling of finishing a project. As we get older, busier and sometimes slower, we have to take a moment to release some of that creative energy.
Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.