Thursday, June 02, 2011
One of the things I’ve been immersing myself in since returning to Maine is afghan double crochet, a project started by my mother when I was still in utero. It’s such an old-fashioned stitch that I couldn’t even identify it when I started working. I had a friend familiar with crochet do research in her books until finally she found something that looked similar and taught it to me. I’ve been doing some knitting lately, but haven’t crocheted since I was a child.
My mom had planned a quilt with alternating brown and cream panels, on which she was to applique a floral pattern, long since lost. I’m working on the second brown panel, with two skeins of circa 1970s yarn in the corner of my office. I don’t know what I’ll applique, but having the same fabric move through my hands that moved through her hands makes me feel connected to her. Her stitches are much better than mine. Much more regular. There are whole patches where I’ve constricted the grain of the cloth (is that the right word?) and others where it bags, loose pieces of yarn sagging out.
Still, connecting to the physical reality of fabric, of yarn, makes me feel like I’m really living in the world of things instead of the world of ideas. It allows me a fluidity of thought that few other things can match. Maybe weeding, sometimes. Or chopping vegetables.
Also shoveling horse crap. We’ve put two truckloads into the garden since I’ve been back, and nothing makes me feel more like an old-fashioned farmhand than that. I’m sporting my grandfather’s old garden pants as I shovel, and manure on my hands during the day and yarn through my fingers at night make me feel like I’m really living. In the garden so far are: onions, leeks, peas, radishes, spinach, and lettuce. Nothing is doing great except the onions. In the glass room are basil, oregano, dill, and peppers. Keep your fingers crossed. One of these days my green thumb is going to sprout.