It’s been years since I’ve crocheted an afghan.
I learned to crochet from my grandmother. She had been crocheting my whole life, but it wasn’t until I was an adult that I decided to approach her about learning that craft. One afternoon, we sat down together, she gave me an extra hook and skein of yarn, and she showed me her technique. Learning how to read patterns and how to make the stitches wasn’t that difficult for me, but it took me a long time to figure out how to hold the yarn in my hand, finding that sweet spot between too much slack and too much tension. My first project turned into a doll blanket for my daughter that was more triangular than rectangle due to the learning curve I needed to figure out how to hold the yarn in a way that allowed my stitches to be even.
Eventually, I improved. I was able to churn out hats and dishcloths at about the same pace that my grandmother did. I had access to the internet and she did not, so I would print off new patterns for her to try. One time, I was able to teach her a trick she hadn’t seen before. For Christmas, I crocheted her one of my first truly ambitious afghans. She kept it over the back of her couch until she moved out of the house a few years ago.
Crocheting afghans is something that I rarely do. I like small projects, things that I can finish in an evening or two. When my children were young, every day was a vast ocean of unending tasks. No matter how caught up I was on any number of chores, there would always be the same ones waiting for me the next day. Finishing a hat or scarf was nice because I could say, “Look. I did that. It had a beginning and an end.”
When I’ve made blankets in the past, they have primarily been for a special occasion. A new baby coming. A Christmas gift. When I started writing in earnest, I stopped knitting and crocheting almost altogether. All of my free time went into working pitching agents, working on book proposals, writing up sample chapters. Taking on a project as large as an afghan seemed like a waste of time.
Right now, writing is not my primary concern. The dream of writing a book is not dead, but it’s certainly on hold for this season. And while it feels right now like many of my goals are of the long-term sort, I wanted to make an afghan.
I’ve inherited most of Gram’s yarn over the years. I’ve gone through and found colors that match speak of autumn to me. I found a new pattern that I know she would have wanted me to print out so she could try it.
So I’ve started working on an autumn afghan. Something that brings warmth. Something I can cover a child with when they fall asleep on the couch. Something my husband and I can cuddle under when the temperatures turn cold. Something I can wrap around my shoulders when I want to sit out on the porch on a Sunday morning, watching the fall creep across the landscape. Something that adds a bit of comfort and beauty to our home.
It won’t finish quickly. I don’t even know if I’ll have it done before this season slips into the next. But with each stitch I am making something that will last not just for this autumn, but for many to come.