What does crochet have to do with writing, you ask?
When I get so tied up in words that I can’t find the story any more, I close the computer and pick up a hook and some yarn, and pretty soon my mind is smoothing out as I make loop after loop. The sky in my head clears and I can see again. Then I put down the hook and start to type .
I think it’s a combination of the rhythm of the stitches–crochet is very simple–and the repetition of the pattern that makes it such a mindless pleasure.
Plus there’s yarn. The wonderfulness of yarn cannot be overestimated.
Marvelous colors, wonderful textures, gradients, long color changes, paints and spatters, self-striping sock,
I get dizzy just thinking about it. Crochet is painting without the mess, working with line and shape and color and still being cosy because there’s something snuggly on your lap.
So crochet helps because writing is hard (she whined). You have to keep so much stuff going in your brain, it’s like spinning plates or juggling chain saws or holding a lot of cheese and trying not to drop it. Okay, not the last one, that was just in reference to Hex’s Mouse, there on the right. But there’s a lot to think about, and crochet helps me sort all of that out.
And then sometimes it gets into the book. I have a book on hold right now that has a witch in in who crochets for the same reason I do. Well, Roseret does it to work out spells, but that’s not that different from writing. She sees the same patterns I do, relishes the color I do, feels the emotional impact of the piece that I do. I mean, really, doesn’t this purple afghan center look like magic?
Sometimes the crochet gets into the book because I make things my characters would wear because I work on them and the book at the same time, and they kind of mush together in my head. This is a shawl Roseret wears:
But her practical sister, Zo, wears this cardigan.
Well, Zo has to be practical. She’s raising four orphans in house full of dangerous mechanical beasts and her little sister who’s a witch. You’d pass up silver lace that gets caught on everything for a nice practical wool corset cardigan, too.
And a lot of the time, it’s not just the clothes. The same book has a possessed mechanical dragon pull toy named Nelson who’s clutching a tiny, screaming, golden-haired princess. I made Nelson for another project and he just rolled right into the book.
That book also has Bob and Lefty, possessed bunny slippers . . They may get cut from the book. It’s hard making possessed bunny slippers work thematically.
And that book also has Jane the Automaton.
Jane was probably the moment I realized I might have gone too far. She was in the book first, and I thought, “Wait. I can spray paint this old wooden angel figure I have and dress in her in metallic yarns and . . .
Four weeks later, I looked up and thought, “You know, I could have been writing a book instead of doing this.”
I think she was completely worth it, of course, but writing first, crochet to HELP write the book second..
And then there are the projects I make specifically for a book, only to have the book die on me (I don’t finish them all, sob). Penny the Goldfish is from a book that’s pretty much dead in the water now, which suits Penny fine.
But the real relationship between crochet and my writing is how it calms me down, steadies my brain, and makes me remember that all things are possible with revision, and that what I’m doing isn’t brain surgery, nobody’s gonna die if I don’t fix Act Four by the weekend.
Crochet. I recommend it for all writers.
And people in general.
Links To Patterns:
Modern Blanket of Flowers Motif in Wolle’s Color Changing Cotton, pattern by by Julie Yeager
Checked Blanket, made up as I went in scraps of whatever I had
Secret Paths Shawl in Elann Meander Yarn by Johanna Lindahl
The Hex Mouse in Caron Simply Soft, pattern by Lion Brand
Around the Bases Afghan in Jojoland Rhythm, Knitpicks Hawthorn and Knitpicks Palette, pattern by by ChiChi Allen
Roserat’s Queen of the Seven Kingdoms Shawl in Rowan Shimmer, pattern by by Michele DuNaier
Zo’s Corset Cover Cardigan in Jojoland Rhythm, vintage Corticelli pattern
Nelson the Dragon in Lion Brand Glamour, pattern by Svetlana Pertseva
Bob and Lefty Bunny Slippers in Lion Brand Glamour, pattern by by Lorin Jean
Jane in Glamour and other metallics; no pattern, I made it up as I went
Penny the Goldfish in Lion Brand Glamour and plastic bags, pattern by Aurélie MarieMad
Socko and Nancy Sock Monkey Scarf, no pattern, I made it up as I went
Frida’s Flower Blanket in Stylecraft Special DK, pattern by by Jane Crowfoot