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Late Blooming Crocheter

December 13, 2010: I have interviewed many a crocheter for publication in various magazines and newsletters. A common "thread" runs through those conversations: they've learned to crochet at a young age from their grandmothers. Moms don't seem to be the best teachers; but put a generation between and the warm touch of Grandma's hand creates lasting memories and crochet skills.

I'm different (well, you know that already!); I didn't learn until I was twenty two. That's not to say that I was deficient in handwork skills. No, I was experienced in embroidery and cross stitch. I was surrounded by needleworkers. My mother and grandmother were seamstresses who created wonderful stay-at-home businesses for themselves in an age when the "independent woman" was unique. My grandmother also did very delicate tatting.

In my sixth decade now, I am, of course, constantly being reminded that it is important to keep the mind active to avoid the perils of old age, dementia, etc. So, I never hesitate to accept a challenge, in my crochet or otherwise. It feels good to me. Unlike some who seem stymied by a difficult task, I seem to thrive when being challenged.

An article I clipped recently from AARP magazine, sheds some encouraging light on the subject: "Studies of brain plasticity are proving that our creative horizons need not narrow with age. 'We never lose the potential to learn new things as we grow older,' says Gay Hanna, head of the National Center for Creative Aging. 'In fact, we can master new skills and be creative all our lives.'"

"Nor are we genetically hardwired with artistic gifts--or lack of them. Environmental factors and willpower are just as important. 'Genes impact ourlives,' says David Shenk, author of The Genius in All of Us, 'but our lives also impact our genes--the brain changes shape according to the experinces it has.''"

"The implications of this are profound, he believes: 'Most of us don't understand that our true inner potential is quite extraordinary. The main reason people stagnate is that they limit themselves through their mind-set or habits. Or they simple set their sights too low.'"

Watch the creativity of the featured artists in action at

As I am packing my TWO suitcases for our three-month stay in Ajijic Mexico, I keep slipping over the edge of reason to panic. My plan is to FINALLY concentrate on including hispanic, latin-inspired themes in my designs. What better way to be inspired that to be living it every day? I have ventured into this area of design before, but want to distinguish my work with the color and excitement from the world I love. So, I've gathered trinkets that I collected years ago while living in Mexico City to take along and threads/yarns with the appropriate colors. The precious trinkets have waited way too long to be used and viewed. It is time. I just keep going over the list and hoping I am not forgeting anything.

I've gathered some bright and sparkly beads which I will offer in a class on my favorite technique, bead-crochet, in February. I have started brewing some excitement on Crocheters in Ajijic and I hear I already have 3 people interested before I even arrive! I will start them off with a simple bracelet
and hope to inspire them tips and tricks that will expose them to the potential of bead crochet.

So what if I have fogotten something that I really thought I would need? I know I will learn new "tricks" from my students; I always do! They will turn me on to new resources for sparkly beads and threads and places to go for inspiration. I already have a tentative date to meet a Ravelry friend in Guadalajara to explore yarn stores.

Semi-reitrement? It is supposed to be a relaxing and slower pace. Well, I don't know about that, but I do know that the anticipation of how we will spend our days, busy or lazy, is exciting more that scary for me!


Sheila said…
I've been thinking about this, Gwen. What about creating a whole new sub-genre: using milagros in crochet. The only obstacle I see is that almost no milagros today have holes in them. But I suspect an accommodating jeweler friend could teach us how to create holes. And then, there is no limit to what we might create!
Just packed some milagros with holes in them! :)

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