I've been crocheting for 23 years now and frequently receive requests for blankets, scarves, shawls, or hats. My husband has patiently put up with my yarn addition for almost 10 years and I love to see my kids taking an interest.
Henry will enthusiastically push a crochet hook through one of my blankets, proud that he is "helping" Mama. Or he'll spend a minute unwinding a yarn ball before deciding it's WAY more fun to chuck it across the room, yarn gleefully trailing behind. Kathryn doesn't get the same kind of free access to my works-in-progress because, while she's adorably cute with yarn draped over her chubby little legs and clutched in her equally chubby little fists, my yarn inevitably makes its way to her mouth and I hate the feel of wet acrylic. And I'm sure no one wants baby-drool pieces.
I love that this artistic outlet serves a practical purpose. Everything I make fulfills a function and hopefully brings a bit of beauty too. Every piece I make is unique. Even if I duplicate the pattern & yarn, no two pieces are EXACTLY the same size, shape, style. The repetitive nature of the whole crochet process gives me an outlet to the day's frustrations and allows my high-strung nature to unwind, like Henry's yarn ball.
I like to think that as I make a ruffle scarf for a friend or a baby blanket for charity, that my thoughts & musings are woven into the creation so that every piece becomes like a prayer shawl. I think of the person who will use my creation, whether I know them or if it's something that will be blindly given away like my masses of baby caps. I saw one of my favorite pieces, what my midwife dubbed a "watermelon" cap, a while ago on a stranger's newborn and felt quietly content and gratified. Definitely not a steady source of income but it makes me happy.
Then a friend of mine came to me with a new request. Something I had never heard of before and it left me feeling both proud to be asked and shattered for the necessity of it. She's an OB nurse and she asked me to make bereavement wraps for the babies who pass away in the hospital. The stillborns, the ones lost soon after. I agreed immediately to take on the project.
As I started my first one in my favorite color (lilac), my thoughts strayed inevitably to who would use my creation and of course this train of thought didn't lead me to laughing infants peeking out from under my ruffled caps, or someone snuggled under one of my blankets, reading with a hot cup of tea close at hand.
It sunk in that this soft little wrap would hold someone's precious lost baby. Just when I thought I couldn't BE any more thankful for my crazy-wonderful children...