**Please help me welcome Jenny to the Roving Crafters! She is a reader, a commenter, a friend, and a fellow blogger. I’ve asked her to share some of her best and worst crafting experiences with us. Enjoy!**
Hi, I’m Jenny from the Crochet is the Way blog!
I used to be a mechanic, until some life events changed my career. I now enjoy spending my days alone; crocheting, blogging, and browsing this site. After a comment I left here on Roving Crafters, you might know me as “the lady with the ex-friend and the dog”. And I want to let Jenn and her readers know that because of that comment (along with many others!), I consider you all better “friends” than anyone I’ve met in person… but, you know, not in that weird way, like the character in my Crochet Horror Story – I just like you guys. Allow me to explain:
My old friends all called me “crazy” when I became interested in fiber arts. I originally picked up knitting, then quickly learned crochet, dabbled in spinning, and hate (and am not good at) sewing (but I do it, as can be found on my other blog!). Over the years, I’ve heard some stereotypes, a few insults, and a couple nonsensical ramblings about why I shouldn’t be doing my hobbies:
“Only old maids knit/crochet.”
I started learning to knit somewhere around 22.
“A hobby like that will turn you into the cat lady.”
I had cats before I picked up yarn. Were they invisible to you before that?
“You have too much time on your hands.”
Really? I turned my hobby into my job! Is that what people tell you while you’re at work? Also, it’s funny how crochet is just “too much time on my hands” until you want me to make you something!
“You need more friends.”
Not ones like you!
“Only witches spin yarn.”
M’kay. (Any feedback about that, Jenn?)
“You’re wasting your time.”
No, you’re wasting my time.
And my favorite one of all:
“Why can’t you understand that talents like that are passed down through spirits? You’re definitely reincarnated!”
One thing’s for sure: In my mind, I’m not the crazy one. Maybe a few of them are just misinformed, as is often the case with stereotypes. But at least one of them is certifiably out of her gourd. Are you ready for this? Settle down with your blankie and a flashlight, and let me tell you my whole Crochet Horror Story… It’s pretty scary, but don’t worry. It has a happy ending:
There once was a lady that called me her “friend”. I called her an “acquaintance”, but she insisted that we were best friends. (Actually, “soul mates” is a term she used once.) I tried to be nice, because, well… I just always try to be nice. She was part of a circle of acquaintances, and I found myself often having to entertain her while everyone else ignored her. And, they probably ignored her because she would say things like the last quote above, along with suggesting that her dog was the reincarnated spirit of her dead cat – which was the reincarnated spirit of her dead grandmother.
This lady’s “dog/cat/grandma” used to knit and crochet. A point she stressed to me often, all while telling me that I’m nuts for doing it. “You’re young! Why don’t you do something more interesting? I remember my grandma doing this! She made this pillow! You should be out enjoying life… She made me that shirt! You have so much ahead of you… Look at this tablecloth she made!”
I overlooked her criticism of my hobby while she unknowingly bragged on photos of her dog/cat/grandma’s work. And as a nice person, I took note when she reminisced on a shawl/cover-up that dog/cat/grandma had made her back in the ’70’s, and how much she wished she still had it. I took extra notes when she mentioned that even though it was her favorite, she wished it had been made in a different color, but she got what dog/cat/grandma wanted her to have.
So, ya’ll know what I did, right? It was a full size triangle shawl with 8″ fringe. Crocheting the body of simple open mesh was no big deal, but I hated doing all that fringe. Oh, yeah, and it was in her favorite color, just like she always wanted. I wrapped it up, along with the matching ’70’s style head scarf that I made as a bonus, and presented it to her at her birthday party.
I should fill in that dog/cat/grandma had passed by this time, and the head case got a new dog… Which was supposed to be the reincarnated spirit of her last dog, which was the reincarnated spirit of her cat, which was the reincarnated spirit of her grandma. Somewhere along the line of this reincarnation, something went wrong. Dog/dog/cat/grandma is a 100 lb turbo-powered war machine that likes to chew on couch cushions and won’t stop -ahem- “loving” everybody’s leg.
…She opens her birthday present. She holds it up for everybody to see. Here comes dog/dog/cat/grandma. Oh no. One “friend” snatches up the head scarf while saying “Are these panties?”, and another snatches it from him. I’m trying to explain what a head scarf is, while keeping half an eye on the war machine. He circles and sniffs her as she spreads her arms wide with the shawl on her shoulders. One of the guys is trying to tie on the head scarf where panties would go. Trying to make light of the situation, I inform him that if he would like to place a special order, I could make him a pair that would fit. It quickly turns into a tossing game, and I end up trying to save the head scarf from the pool. In the background, I hear “There you go, baby; go be Superman!”…
The shawl is tied around War-Machine’s neck. He takes off in his typical turbo-powered fashion, straight across the yard. And everybody is laughing. Except for me. I’m pretty sure I’m about to die. Dog/dog/cat/grandma races around in circles a few times, then finds a scent. OH. NO. I’ve seen my dog do this; I know what’s about to happen. The scent is of a “present” that another animal has left in the yard.
The dog looks back at me frantically calling him, then flops down to roll. One of them points and says “That’s what he thinks of your present!”… And everybody starts laughing harder as I’m being ripped to pieces inside.
Then, she ties the head scarf on her smaller dog as a bandanna. It doesn’t even phase me anymore as I watch it get chewed to pieces while the two romp around in my creations.
But remember, this horror story has a happy ending
I should have cussed. Honestly, I think I could have hit somebody. (I wasn’t mad at the dogs; it’s not their fault that their owner is an idiot.) I just made my excuses a short time later and left early. I had made up my mind right then and there that these people didn’t respect the time (and thought) that I had put into that gift. They weren’t worth my time to exercise my broad knowledge of three, four, five, and six letter word combinations. I started turning down invitations and found myself having to “work” an awful lot.
And that’s okay, because I actually did start working a lot more! I’m more productive without “friends” that tell me why I shouldn’t be doing this all the time. I enjoy being alone, but I think that even if I was the kind of person that needed friends, I wouldn’t miss them, anyways.
I made a present for another “friend” that used to call me nuts, too. It was a C.D. case with a beaded cover, in her favorite color. She looked at it, said it was pretty, then told me she didn’t want it and handed it back. M’kay. My list: Her name.
I gave my mom the Fall Table Runner I designed, just because she has a nice coffee table, and I don’t.
She said thank you and asked me to make her one for Christmas. Mom gets a check on the list.
A few months after the incident with the shawl and dog/dog/cat/grandma, ex-friend hunted me down with a request, despite trying to avoid her. Remember how I mentioned a picture of a tablecloth that she showed me? It was a full-sized pineapple lace tablecloth, like for the kind of table that seats eight. I don’t have a room in my house that would fit a table that big. A fact that she liked to remind me of, often. Well, she again reminds me that she “knows I need the money”, so she offers me $10 to re-create grandma’s prize piece. And I’m the crazy one…
I’ve been called crazy for staying by myself in the “middle of nowhere”, where they say “nothing exciting ever happens”. I’ve been called crazy for my job when I was a mechanic, and I still get called crazy now that I’ve made crochet my career. I’ve decided I don’t need friends that call me crazy.
Please, meet my new friends:
(Y’know… Other than all the nice people I’ve met through fiber arts, like you.)
Hello, Mr. Turtle! (Mr. Turtle is actually a Gopher Tortoise, but we let him be whatever he wants to be.) Mr. Turtle lives in my yard in the “middle of nowhere”, where there’s “nothing exciting”. Mr. Turtle used to be kind of an annoying friend, since he dug a hole for his home right in the middle of my yard. I made a far back corner a more desirable place for a tortoise home, so he moved there with a little coaxing.
Before you think I messed with a protected species, I should say that it was my dog that did the coaxing. Because you know, dogs think tortoises like to be barked at and rolled around. When he started waiting outside of Mr. Turtle’s house for him to come out and “play”, Mr. Turtle decided to move to the back grassy area and woods where Tater Salad isn’t supposed to go.
And, there’s the dog where he isn’t supposed to go.
Mr. Turtle is very supportive of my crochet. He allows me to ponder over whether or not I could/should make him a sweater, and his pretty shell pattern inspires ideas for crochet patterns in my head.
And please meet Mr. and Mrs. Crane!
They also come to visit me in the Land of Middle of Nowhere, where there’s nothing exciting. These Sandhill Cranes are such annoying friends… This pair thinks they’re my pets, and the cat food I put out for the wild cats is their treat, too. They don’t eat it. They just scatter it around, then chase the cats. It’s kinda funny to watch over morning coffee, though.
They’ll chase me, too, especially if I wear a red shirt. They wait outside my door in the morning and you can’t run them off. Waving your arms and yelling only makes them flap their wings and jump up while trying to kick you. They’re still nicer than some of my old friends.
Anyways… My wild supporters don’t call me crazy for crocheting, but I won’t be making them any gifts, either. They do inspire design ideas, though, so they help me with my work more than they know. Except for the possum that now visits me. He inspires thoughts of phrases like “Tell Maw to get the broom! That darn gator’s back on the porch!”. I don’t really want the possum to be one of my new friends.
They called me crazy for my talent. They called me crazy for because of my imagination (what do you mean trolls and zombies aren’t real?). They called me crazy for wanting to use both of those things to do a good deed while crocheting for charity. They told me it would never go anywhere. They told me it was a dying art. And they told me that I would regret my decisions. What my old friends will never realize is that they could have shared my success, but they lost out. I’d rather give away the things I made them to a perfect stranger than ever have them disrespected in such a way again.
But they did inspire me in a way, after all. For each time I would have made one of them something for a birthday or holiday, I make something for charity, instead. That’s one of the things that contributed to the creation of my Scarf of the Month program, which is severely behind right now. But, charity won’t know that I missed an ex-friend’s birthday, as long as I get the projects done by the end of the year in time to donate them.
I guess I am crazy. But I’m not crazy for being a crocheter or fiber art lover. I’m just crazy about crocheting! Knitting makes me go crazy. Spinning gets a little crazy, because I can’t stop laughing at all the inappropriate jokes my other half makes about cotton punis, then I mess up my yarn, and eventually give up. (Because have you ever tried to use a drop spindle around cats, anyways?)
I guess in the end, introducing fiber arts into my life did add a bit of craziness. The other half and I have crazy-fun conversations while he helps me untangle or rewind yarn (omg, yes, he does that!). I have crazy-busy days when I’m buried under WIP’s, readers are leaving comments that I have to respond to on the blog, other readers are asking me questions on Facebook, and I’m answering emails about special orders, all while I’m supposed to be shipping orders. And I have a crazy-good time doing all of it. Because there’s one sure way I know I’m not really nuts. None of my old friends will ever get a handmade gift from me again.
…And I promise I won’t really crochet a sweater for Mr. Turtle.