American businesswoman, actress and sportscaster Phyllis George once said, “Crafts make us feel rooted, give us a sense of belonging and connect us with our history. Our ancestors used to create these crafts out of necessity, and now we do them for fun, to make money and to express ourselves.” Crafting is a wonderful hobby, an excellent way to pass the time and a way to keep one’s hands busy to prevent mid-meal snacking.
Crafting has been a tremendous part of my life. As a child, my mother taught me how to knit, crochet and wield a needle in the fine craft of embroidery. I learned to sew garments that had been torn, how to create flocked furry animals with the help of a sewing needle and thread and was able to teach myself how to use a Tunisian crocheting hook. These skills enabled me to save money by creating gifts for others and left me with a sense of accomplishment, especially if the item I had created required a significant amount of time.
When my husband and I were still dating, he mentioned that the comforter on his bed was at least 10 years old, which enabled me to clearly visualize the perfect Christmas gift for him. It took me at least a month, but I was able to create a twin/full-sized quilt on my old Brother sewing machine and by hand-sewing the quilt in areas. It had been my first attempt, which left me with a true feeling of satisfaction when I finished the project. My husband was thrilled with the gift and stated that it kept him warm and cozy. We saved the quilt and gave it to our daughter when she was younger. An accident with bleach in the washer was exactly how the beloved quilt met its demise.
Several years ago, we were a little lean on funds at Christmastime. I spent the better part of the year crocheting every member of the family an afghan in my spare time. Over the years, I had collected quite a bit of yarn, which enabled me to put together color schemes that were vibrant and beautiful. Those handmade gifts were appreciated immensely and helped bring us closer as a family.
While our daughter still attended Hicksville High School, she mentioned that she longed for a handmade cardigan. I had never created crocheted articles of clothing and had nightmares about a pair of shorts that I made for my husband one year. The shorts, which were created from a bolt of vibrant tropical fabric, were sewn from a pattern on my trusty old Brother. Sadly, Hubby could not get the shorts past his knees, for one leg was wider than the other. I swore off creating clothing with yarn and opted to stick to “easy” projects like scarves, afghans and beanies.
For several months, our daughter asked about “the sweater.” I tried to psych myself up for the task. Just thinking about the endeavor, which led me to the now defunct AC Moore for 10 skeins of beige worsted, became so overwhelming that I eventually used the yarn to create a Granny Square afghan for our daughter instead.
Before the pandemic, I found the courage to begin the sweater project once more. However, I had used all the beige worsted that I originally purchased for the task. I found a cute hunter green premier craft yarn by Isaac Mizrahi, which had blue and red threads that ran along the edge of the yarn. It was beautiful, but I feared a tangled mess as I crocheted. It was easier to work with than I originally thought, but the job of creating the correct size had me pulling out stitches regularly in order to get the right size and shape.
The project sat on the top of my dresser for two months before I had the courage to begin again. After months of pulling stitches and committing myself to the task at hand, I finally finished it. While there are quite a few errors in the project, it was my first sweater. It will also be my last as it took a long time to complete. The commitment made enabled me to gain a sense of accomplishment, especially since I have several unfinished projects in a bag, which may end up as scrap yarn for smaller projects in the future.
Hubby just finished a craft of his own. A friend of ours offered two large slabs of wood from a tree he had removed from his property. After multiple layers of polyurethane and a set of hairpin legs, his beautiful end tables have added warmth to our living space. Much as our ancestors did before him, he created something with his own hands. The fulfillment that is derived from a project’s completion is more important than the perfection of the craft. Crafting is truly an expression of oneself, a way to put a piece of one’s soul out there. When the job is done, there is no other feeling quite like it.
How about you? Do you craft? I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to drop me a line and let me know what your favorite crafts are.
Patty Servidio is an Anton Media Group columnist.