Two of my friends were pregnant, and both were due in early 2014. I began to crochet baby blankets when I first learned of the pregnancies, but I changed my mind after realizing the babies would outgrow the blankets before long. My work would end up being used for a chair warmer or a spit-up absorber. Or worse.
Hats, I decided. And I would wait until the babies were closer to a year old and not growing so rapidly. I stopped talking about the gifts around my friends in hopes that they would forget. Almost a year had passed and, yes, they were surprised a few weeks ago when I presented the gifts.
Charlotte’s hat was tan-brown until I learned that her middle name would be Rose:
Tucker had a green hat (one of his mother’s favorite colors) until I saw the color scheme in his bedroom:
One of my stories in progress features a weekly sewing circle that I use to introduce characters, conflict, and back story. Since the story is set during the years of the Great Depression, I searched for articles that detailed the era and found needlework to be an important part of life. Sewing circles brought together women in the community, and a gathering like that was perfect for the idea I had.
There’s a scene in my story where, during the sewing circle, the women are discussing the poor working women in their community. “Sewing is one of the few ways they can bring some beauty into their lives,” said Phoebe. “It’s like being creative, and they rarely have other opportunities to express themselves.”
The women agree to do a bit of “God’s work” and invite a black woman–for the first time–to the sewing circle. They will model ladylike decency and shower her with the fine things of life — like porcelain teacups and cream cheese and chives sandwiches. They choose Eva, well-known for her ugly past, and she accepts. How does this mash-up work out?
I’ll just say that I had a lot of fun writing the scenes for that gathering. Sparks fly.
(Read the post that includes a short excerpt with Eva from my story. You’ll find it towards the end.)
Sewing, crocheting, knitting, quilting — needlework used to be a common task in American family life. Nowadays it’s a hobby. My mother was dependent on her sewing skills to clothe her children, and she passed on her skills to us. I don’t know many children today who can replace a button on a shirt, one of the first sewing tasks my mother taught us.
But, alas, we are living in a different time. Often it costs more to make something by hand than it does to go out and buy a similar item. So, we crafters do it for pleasure, along with the pride that comes from being able to say, “Yes, I made it.”
Last week, while waiting to see a physician, I pulled out my bag of yarn and started crocheting. People glanced over. They wore expressions that you see on people walking through a museum.
I just smiled.
Do you enjoy needlework or have plans to learn? Tell me your hobbies and other ways that you relax when you have free time. I’d love to store up ideas for my story characters.