HOOKING MY WAY TO FAME
by Kathe Campbell
With mc, ch 4, joining with sl st to form a ring. Rnd 1: Ch 3, work 2 dc in ring; * ch 3, work 3 dc in ring, rep from * twice, ch 3, join with sl st at top of beg ch 3 and turn. Rnd 2: Ch 3, work 2 dc in ch 3 sp, ch 3............
To you, this might look like rocket science. To me, my heart soars in anticipation of colors, textures and patterns. Countless pieces of needlework have provided fanciful and practical wear for me and mine for half a century. I've kept the snuggly woolly and synthetic lovers decked out in most all reasonable requests. Doll clothes and fashions for the distaff side, vests and cozy socks for his majesty's toes. One daughter's cheerleading squad put in their order for mittens to match their outfits. After dazedly ogling deep purple for days, I found myself knitting the hand warmers in my sleep. Somewhere a new piece of furniture demanded the latest popular throws, but my yen for contemporary left doilies in the dust. Flashy colors and faddish styles beckoned my handiwork amongst nine growing granddaughters as often as the change of seasons.
What fun it was taking grand prize ribbons at every county fair near and far. But after becoming Silver Bow County's Fair President, it seemed unjust to hog needlecraft awards, therefore I appointed myself as a judge. Great masterpieces by young new and brilliant artisans taught me to appreciate skills far beyond my own.
Notion departments and specialty yarn shops within hundreds of miles turned my patient husband into a car napper. Minutes turned into hours fingering downy skeins of delicates and bulkies to please individual tastes. Varieties of needles and threads spawned perfection, a trick taught me by a grandma who intuitively sensed gauge and feel. As a child, she took me to an occasional Saturday matinee, along with her latest project. While enjoying the movie, her tiny hands flew back and forth crocheting intricate pieces in the darkened theater.
But needlecraft was the last thought on my mind the day the unthinkable happened, a brutal accident in which I lost my dominant right hand. 'Twas more like how I'd be able to achieve anything, let alone hooking a simple daisy chain at 63. The devastation and aftermath launched me back in time devouring life's mundane chores. Inventing sedulous ways to put on a bra, buttering bread without it shredding, watching the cake bowl catapult across the kitchen floor, politely feeding myself, and folding clothes with my teeth. It was a brilliant start those first months, in-between a few woe is me tears.
Weeks passed and my precious old lefty was being worked to the hilt. My hand and wrist had swollen so badly that I couldn't turn on the garden faucet or set the sprinkler, simple things taken for granted. The following day my doctor announced I was well into rheumatoid arthritis. Well now, wasn't that just what I longed to hear? My feminine 135 pounds would be downing prednisone and a few other steroid types that turn ones carcass into masculine bulging masses.
Only then did I come to know a place across our state that specializes in orthotics and prosthetics. What was left of my right arm labored hard those first grueling weeks to achieve skill with every prosthesis offered. I finally returned home with a dainty hook, a tough farm and ranch hook most men ran from, and a very fancy mio-electric hand. I called it my, Go to meetin' arm.
A year slid by and one of the grandchildren instinctively asked if I could knit a quick ski hat to match her new outfit. I laughed and quipped that I could probably get a half dozen out before the weekend. I don't know who felt worse as she bent down to give me a tearful hug. Suddenly, the thought of holding a crochet hook in my hook sent my mind reeling. The following day I rummaged through my yarns, got out the box of prosthetic accessories, and spent the afternoon practicing. With the crochet hook locked firmly onto my prothesis, I took yarn in hand and began. Ch 3, work 2 dc in ch 3 sp, ch 3 . . . oops, try again, and again.
My husband arrived home to find the floor littered with crochet hooks, yarns, and a sea of practice squares. Provided the rheumatoid didn't put a hitch in my plans, I felt confident enough to begin a simple project - like maybe a young girl's ski hat? Renewed, and all wound up like a ball of yarn, I went on the town picking and choosing new weights, colors and patterns. Instead of turning myself into a reclusive wimp, the good Lord had fostered His plan within my soul. God helps those who help themselves . . . and I was living again.
Mindless ski hats driving me loony, I turned out stunning sweaters in all shades and styles for each granddaughter before the year was out. My Christmas present that year was a granddaughter portrait taken in their treasured pullovers and cardigans. Who could imagine my new euntrepeneaurish pie`ce de re'sistance would end up a cherished legacy barely before my antiquity? Is it any wonder all my sweethearts call me "Granny Hook?"
Hooking for my own pleasure
As the story appears in medhunters this morning.