Creativity is my birthright. A gift of blood. There is not a woman with whom I share the mother line that isn’t called to create. We are writers and bakers, crocheters and painters, gardeners of the earth and spirit alike. My grandmother, the savant. A woman truly gifted.
When I was a girl, I ran through the towering stalks of corn she lifted with care from the earth, plucked and shelled fresh peas from her tangled vines. I remember resting on the dusty couch in the enclosed back patio afterward, safe from Oklahoma’s thirsty mosquitoes, eating bowls of fresh peach cobbler made with fruit plucked straight from the tree, so rich and sweet I would eat to bursting.
Each bed in her home was topped with a hand-stitched quilt. The nooks and crannies of every room were stuffed with needles and thread, half-used skeins of yarn and fabric, books and photos and happy little things rescued from yard sales. Even the dish rags in the kitchen were finished with her signature crocheted edging.
I aspire to this vitality, this intensity of talent. But I am not the savant.
I can’t raise food from the earth, but my potted succulents are fat and colorful and prone to bloom in excess. I’m no good at cobbler, but I can make a peanut butter cookie as large and round as a saucer, so rich it can replace a meal. And I can’t quilt, but I can crochet.
I began as a girl, plopped in front of the television with one of the half-used skeins of yarn I pilfered from the wicker basket that held the leftovers of my mother’s creations. The first stitch I learned was chevron. I liked the bold zigzags, the texture you could build by working through the back loop only. In those early days I was prone to crying, to throwing the hook down, to frogging my work and leaving the tangled heap of yarn puddled on the floor until I could gather the patience to try again.
These days I cry for different reasons. I have little connection to my mother line. I haven’t spoken to my mother in years. I send letters to my grandmother, but most go unanswered.
I don’t know how to fix these things. Not without opening myself to the anger and abuse that came along with the creativity.
Perhaps this is what drives me to make, over and over again, those first projects. Simple baby blankets made in textured chevron stitch. Happy pink and cheery white. A celebration of the good. A way to spend time with the beautiful aspects of my mother, a chance to honor the heritage gifted to me by my grandmother.
A way to pull beauty from these difficult things.
This baby blanket was made with a bold, textured chevron stitch. If you’re a crocheter, or looking to learn, I highly recommend the tutorial provided by Stephanie Jessica Lau of allaboutami.com.