by Tam Linsey
I've often wondered why so many writer friends I know like to crochet or knit. For a long time, I refused to put a hand to a ball of yarn, insisting I had no time for such endeavors. But my critique group had dubbed themselves the "Critters and Knitters," and one by one, those who did not know how to create using needles or a hook took up the practice.
I gave in September of 2010, toting a single skein of cotton yarn and a crochet hook to our yearly writing retreat. I just wanted to fit in. I made a dishtowel, and felt I'd mastered the double crochet, so I moved on to making circles and got a matching set of coasters.
I learned the half-double crochet stitch and made a bathmat for my cousin as a wedding gift. How cool is that? I love homemade gifts.
Then came the back post stitch. And various types of increasing and decreasing stitches. Shell stitches, popcorn stitches, V stitches… Next thing I knew, I was making broomstick lace and creating sweaters and fingerless gloves.
My critique partners laugh at me.
Out of all the Critters and Knitters, I've become the most obsessed. I'm infatuated with textures and shapes. The feel of different types of yarn possesses me. When I'm stuck on a passage of my writing, I pick up yarn and hook and put a few stitches onto my latest project until my head clears. I've become so comfortable with the action of crochet, it is like second nature.
Now I realize why writers like to do hand-work; it engages another form of creativity and clears the mind just enough to find the plot point or character choice or perfect twist without occluding our thoughts about the story. Rote skills require us to engage a different part of our brain. (Plus keeping my hands busy keeps me from eating! lol!)
Playing Solitaire, taking a walk or a shower, even going for a drive can do the same thing. But I find I can be easily taken away from my writing if I leave my seat. So crochet works best for me.
Do you have an activity you find re-engages your creativity?
© Tam Linsey, 2011. All rights reserved.