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Hooked on Crochet


My first published design

My first published design

When Mary Cahill taps her gavel (read crochet hook) people are all ears. Her voice booms over a large library room addressing crocheters who have gathered for their weekly crochet diet, as they prefer to call it. She spells out the agenda for the day, which is `show and tell’ which means the crocheters can display their crocheted work for others to see. If it is something new they get a chance to explain how they did the piece or where they got the pattern. For readers wondering what this is all about, I am about to explain how some talented ladies in the Bay area (northern California) meet every week to discuss their hobby that is `crochet.’ It is not a meaningless `kitty party’ where it is just fun and gossip. It is a meeting with a difference i.e., strictly business, that is crochet.

The meeting begins at 9 a.m. at a library hall. The women display their work in progress, in front of them and begin working on them. They crochet with yarn (wool, as Indians call it) or thread but their ears are tuned to Mary’s friendly humorous banter telling them about the agenda for the month, which even includes a field trip once in two months, to most exclusive yarn shops in the neighborhood.

They also hold workshops, which are mostly free unless it is some technique that is new and needs materials that are slightly expensive. The group is a mixed bag of people both in terms of age and status. Would you believe if I said the group contains Chartered Accountants, lawyers, paralegals and other professions, who have taken up crocheting as a hobby? But it is true. Every week the women get together a few hours away from their family to pursue a hobby that is close to their heart. Even children of the women who are interested in crochet join the group meetings.

When I lived in California, being a member of a crochet newsgroup on the web, I made several friends. Veronica a.k.a. Pinka was one of them whom I met this way. When she heard that I was moving to Northern California, said that she would take me to these group meetings.

As I didn’t know driving she drove me to every meeting and dropped me home. The group also made several afghans using even scrap yarn remaining from other projects and donated it to children’s hospitals and other social service organizations. The left over yarn were crocheted into 7” squares and put together using a needle. The end result is beautiful. During my last meeting with them they donated 38 such beautiful Afghans to a childcare center near San Jose.

Which brings us to why I wanted to write this article. Mary Cahill, Pinka, her mom Andrea and Anita Badger, who were great knitting enthusiast too, were a great inspiration and I was highly motivated by their work, to take up this hobby seriously. So much so that I have even published my own pattern in the magazine Crochet World which chose my design as their “Design of the Month.” I can’t describe the feeling of joy I experienced on getting a letter from the magazine stating that I was a winner.

Another reason why I am thankful to the above persons is the dedication with which they approach their art. I remember during one meeting with them, I was just stitching blindly, when Mary asked me to show her my work. She glanced at it and said “Rip it, rip it, rip it. Don’t allow imperfections in your work.” To this date that has been my mantra and I always rip out a wrong stitch instead of continuing and finishing with an imperfect shape. (Which is also one of the reasons why I have several ongoing projects)

Its been five years since I relocated to India, I don’t know if Mary Cahill or Pinka remember me. If they get a chance to read my blog, I would love to be in touch with them. 


10 Responses

  1. very nice work there, and glad you have a blog we can peek at. 🙂 🙂 🙂 God bless you!


  2. Good work! Keep it up!


  3. Beautiful doily, and thanks for sharing your sweet memories!


  4. very beautiful work.


  5. Vidya, this is beautiful! I don’t know much about crochet or any sort of handiwork but I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post – it’s well-written.


  6. Thank you all for your words of encouragement.


  7. great work..and congratulations on getting published..you have designed a beautiful piece


  8. Very beautiful.


  9. Such an inspiration you are!! Very beautiful indeed.


  10. very nice work..


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