After finishing my Project Linus blanket, I came to the realization that knitting and arthritis were an impossible fit. It saddened me that I was no longer able to knit, especially because I felt such a strong connection to Project Linus, and wanted to keep contributing to this awesome cause. Knitting had been a big part of my life for so many years; it was difficult for me to admit defeat. My other unfinished projects, that I started “pre-RA” would have to remain unfinished.
This past summer, as I have for the past three summers, I welcomed an Occupational Therapy student into my home to observe and offer adaptations to help me with my daily tasks. We began talking about how I miss knitting and she immediately became excited and said, “I’ll teach you how to crochet! It is so much easier on your hands!”
“Won’t happen,” I immediately replied. My grandmother had tried and failed to teach me more times than I could count. I never understood it, I could knit elaborate sweaters with my eyes closed, but when it came to crochet, I never made it past a single chain. I always blamed it on the fact that I was left-handed. Plus, how could I possibly crochet? That needle was even smaller than knitting needles. Surely, my hands would not be able to handle that sort of grip.
The next week, my student showed up with crochet needles and yarn. She showed me the basic chain stitch, which I had easily mastered many times. She then tried to explain the ‘single crochet’. As expected, when I tried the pull through the stitch, the entire chain came off the needle. It was hopeless. She patiently explained it again, showing me how to hold my work with one hand, while my pulling the needle through with my other hand. Something so simple, that I had never thought of, because in knitting you don’t hold your work, you hold the needles. We moved on to the ‘double crochet’ & everything started making sense.
I know that for those of you who do not knit or crochet, I have completely lost you…. The point is, that someone finally taught me how to crochet and I love it!!! Not only that, the grip is completely different and so much easier on my hands. Thank you Leslie!
I had planned on jumping right into a blanket for Project Linus, when my friend Kris posted on Facebook about an organization called ‘Operation Gratitude.’ They were looking for people to knit or crochet scarves to send in military care packages overseas. I knew immediately I had to crochet a scarf for the people who risk their lives every day to protect my family and my country.
I’m not going to lie… I started my scarf over three times. It took me a while to get the hang of where the row started & ended (again, something I never had to think about with knitting.) But once I finally figured it all out, there was no stopping me. I was able to crochet, virtually pain free for 20 minutes or longer every night until I finished just last week.
I’m now working on a second scarf and plan to alternate between blankets and scarves to donate for as long as my hands will allow.
If you’d like to learn more about the carepackages sent to our service men and women, visit www.operationgratitude.com