I don’t like to talk much.  If I have something to say, I’ll say it, but I find idle chit-chat a bit painful.  I do, however, love to crochet anytime, anywhere.  And I find it a lovely way to engage people in conversation and to be present in another’s company without having to think of something to say.  Even the grumpy snack lady who scowls at me whenever I pass through the school gates without buying her cheesy poofs will come over to see what I’m crocheting.

When I was packing for South Africa, I brought a stash of yarn and two crochet books full of flower granny squares.  My project for the year–a floral afghan for a friend yet to be met.  I am nearly done with the squares.  The neighbor kids have all picked out their favorite colors and patterns, but I hope they will forgive me when I give this to the deputy principal.

The ever-growing pile of floral granny squares.

The ever-growing pile of floral granny squares.

I don’t need a lot of vocabulary to talk crochet.  I had a wonderful conversation with a gogo in the small town nearby.  I was buying an unusually large crochet hook and she was asking me what I would use it for.  I spoke completely in English, she spoke completely in isiZulu.  It was a lovely chat.

I like to crochet on public transport.  It passes the time–sometimes hours waiting for the vehicle to fill up.  It engages hawkers in more interesting conversations than “Please buy from me.”  I got a thumbs up from one gogo, and two fellow passengers offered me money for the baby booties I was crocheting.  Sorry ladies, but these sweet little socks are destined for the extraordinarily busy teacher expecting twins.

Double trouble for baby beanies and booties. No, I did not plan to have identical booties from self-striping yarn. I couldn't have pulled it off better if I tried.

Double trouble for baby beanies and booties. No, I did not plan to have pairs of actual matching booties from self-striping yarn. I couldn’t have executed this any better if I had tried.

A friend invited me to visit her rural home for a weekend.  I don’t have much, but I do have time, talent, and a bit of lovely, color-changing Noro yarn I still had in store for something special. So to show my appreciation to her mother for hosting me, I crocheted her an infinity scarf of mitered squares in Tunisian crochet.   Lucky for me, this jolly gogo loves scarves.

Mrs. Dlamini sporting her new infinity scarf.

Mrs. Dlamini sporting her new infinity scarf.

Crochet is my happy place.  The repeated motions are soothing and the geometry and color combinations are intellectually stimulating.  Writing a pattern is like writing computer code.  Crochet helps me to say “Thank you,” or “I love you,” when words don’t suffice.

I honor my friend Amy.  I met Amy through the yarn shop near Athens, GA, and in the years I knew her, I watched her knitting skills grow and develop.  She was quiet and kind, but on Game Night, Amy was silent and stealthy–if you didn’t pay attention she would sneak up from behind and totally dominate a game of “Hand and Foot” or “Settlers of Catan.”  We lost Amy over a week ago, and my love and prayers go to her husband and daughter.