Taking the Hobbies Up a Notch

I have written before about my grandmother, Emma, who taught me to crochet. I was fascinated by the way the needle moved in and out even as she talked with me. She created beautiful pieces of utilitarian art like scarves and sweaters. But my main interest was in the intricate work of her tablecloths and doilies. The thread was thin, the needle was small and the patterns often grew out of a simple crocheted circle, gorgeous peacock and pineapple shapes appearing with each round.

That was nearly 50 years ago, and I have been crocheting every since. Like my grandmother, I make stuff like scarves and hats, but my first love is thread crochet, using it for towel edgings, doilies and pillows. On the skill chart, I consider myself intermediate and probably able to tackleĀ  most projects.

It has been some time, however, since I have challenged myself with my hobby. Crocheting is a way to relax, let my mind wander a bit, maybe watch a show or listen to a book while I work. And, there is nothing wrong with that. But, this year, one of my goals is to dive deeper into my lifelong hobby. There are a wide variety of different types of crochet including Irish, hairpin, Bruges lace, and tapestry. One pattern I have incorporates pearl beads into three dimensional ornaments, something that appeals to my inner engineer. In addition, there is the whole area of design and creating my own patterns.

Hobbies like mine can spark that “lifelong learning” we talk about as educators. And, I know the school day is packed with stuff, but I think it is important to find time for these kinds of activities within the hours of school rather than as after school programs so we can reach as many kids as possible. Not every kid has a grandmother to teach them or the resources to access supplies. Crocheting is all about math with counting and patterns. Daina Taimina has been using crochet to create hyperbolic space, making more durable models than those usually done in paper.

If you want to learn more about crocheting, the Wikipedia article is a great starting point.

What hobbies do you have? Is there a challenge that you want to take to expand your skills and knowledge?

4 thoughts on “Taking the Hobbies Up a Notch

  1. Hi Karen, Love your sidebar blurb! I think those are a great way to welcome and introduce oneself to your readers.

    I learned crochet from my mom, but it was not easy: I’m left-handed and she is not! She eventually bought me a small Dell book with pictures so I could learn easier. I am still just a novice, but I did teach my granddaughters, two of whom still crochet! [and they are right-handed :)]

    I also love the string crochet, and have many of my mom’s doilies around the house; I, however, have been unable — yet — to replicate them.

    We have a new kitten, and I use my crochet skills to create many toys for her to throw around!

    Glad to be blogging with you!

  2. Hi Karen, I also need to add that I totally agree with your paragraph that includes “And, I know the school day is packed with stuff, but I think it is important to find time for these kinds of activities within the hours of school rather than as after school programs so we can reach as many kids as possible.” I integrated as much as I could into my middle school Language Arts Media class. One way to do this is by incorporating “Genius Hour.” Thanks for connecting that with the skills of crocheting! ~ Sheri

  3. Hi Karen

    I was into cross stitch which I learnt from my grandmother. My other grandmother and great grandmother were into crochet, embroidery and beading – I’ve inherited many of the items they made. My current hobbies are researching/documenting family history and a reading challenge.

    I think hobbies are important for relaxation and goals provide a great sense of achievement.


    1. I loved to do cross stitch but find that crocheting is both easier on my eyesight and my busier schedule. I can pick it up and put it down without a lot of preparation.

      I would love to hear more about the reading challenge. I belong to Library Thing and usually do a few of their challenges each year. They help me read some of those books that have been on the shelves for awhile.

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