Chainstitching - by: LInda Law
Many years ago when I was a young mother of three, I would not have considered crocheting or knitting. I was too cool for that kind of hobby...or so I thought.
Hubby had been transferred once again, and we were on our way to Los Angeles, City of Angels, which was ironic, since we were leaving New Orleans, City of Sinfully delicious foods and voodoo and much more! Recently we had purchased a new Silver, Dodge Custom Van, one of those fancy airbrushed ones, with velvet curtains, plush carpeting, a refrigerator, circlular table and captain chairs in rear, that turned into a Queen sized bed at night. The chairs swiveled, and the kids could sit comfortably in back, while watching TV or listening to music on the stereo. This was going to be a great trip, at least for everyone, except hubby who had to drive!!
We stopped in Texas for a night, staying at Grandmother's place, where she pampered and fed us, and loaded us up with more food for the trip. While we were visiting that evening, Grandmother had been crocheting a lovely afghan, and one of the kids said, "Granny, would you make one of those for me?" She answered by saying, "Let me show your mom how to do it and she can make each of you one." Well, I shuddered at the thought of that kind of boring craft, as no way did I want to learn. Grandmother kept loading up a huge canvas bag with skeins of colored yarn, and several small needles. She insisted that I must learn to crochet, insisting, "do it just one stitch at a time...that's all you need to know." So.... in order not to make her upset or think I was ungrateful, she showed me "the chainstitch". I do not know to this day if it's single, double, or whatever!
The following morning we were up and loaded into the van, pulling out of the driveway at Grandmother,s as she came running out.... "honey, you almost forgot the bag of yarn and needles!" Well.... I took them and hugged her once more and thanked her for these stupid pieces of colorful yarn that I knew I'd never use.
The trip took days, as we decided to use the travel time for sightseeing along the way...sort of a vacation enroute to our new home, almost 1500 miles away. The kids played games, tok naps, made sandwiches, and seemed to be as content as could be, considering the time we were all under one roof. On the second day, I became bored and had forgotten to pack something to read, so I dragged out the canvas bag and decided to see if I could figure out the chainstitch. When I managed to begin I was so excited with myself.... the chain actually was almost 10 inches long.... hot dogs!!! I had mastered this crochet thing afterall.
Every couple of hours, I'd begin the chain again, and when I got bored with the same color, I'd snip it with the tiny scissors grandmother had placed in the bag, and tie on another bright colored yarn. By the time we reached Los Angeles, five days later.... My Canvas Bag was filled with the longest chain in the world...I was certain!!! It was so long that we laughed that it was at least ten miles long.... who knew???
We reached the hotel, did our house hunting and eventually purchased a new home, settling into real life. Years passed and we were cleaning out a closet when we ran across the Canvas Bag filled with the old ten mile long chain. I took it out and began to figure out how to keep going in circles, then pinching corners to make a square. I stiched as I unstitched...and soon had a potholder...then it became a doilie of sorts...all soft and peachy. In time it became a baby blanket (or rather a doll blanket) and the colors kept changing as the yarn was unstitched and restitched once again. Soon it became a twin sized throw, then a queensized coverlet, and then it fit the kingsized bed in the master bedroom, except it was soooo ugly with dozens of hideous colors that I refused to leave it on the bed for long.
In time the kids became attached to the huge spread/afghan/cover/tarp, that they dragged it from room to room, often fussing over who was going to use it for a cover while watching TV at night. Eventually, it became a cover for the huge pool table in the den, with a double life as a tent, since it was so large that it hung over the table and the boys would hide under it, or use it for a "fort". A year later, my daughter decided to use it as a canopy on her lovely new white bed. She thought it was cool to drape it over and pretend that she was on some Barbie Island in Africa and this mosquito net was saving Barbie and all the wild animals from flying insects.... Eventually... it wound up in a box in the garage. Thank God!
A few years later, the youngest son found it in the garage, dragged it back inside the house and angrily told the rest of the family, "How can ya'll hurt Mom's feelings? and thus..it went. One glorious day someone called from our church and asked if we had some blankets/quilts/covers to donate. Well.... needless to say... I took the opportunity to fold and fold and fold and fold the humongous chainstitched wonder into one huge pile, then I crammed it inside of a large Washer/dryer box, and off it went to the church donation room.
We were finally free of the monstrosity! One Sunday, at church, a couple of weeks later, our pastor made an announcement. He made a huge production out of bringing about 12 kids up front to the alter. They stretched out our family 10 miles of chain/blanket/mystery, and the pastor said to me in front of God and all the congregation. "We were passing out all the wonderful donations last weekend and Linda's young sons realized that their moms favorite crocheted blanket, "a family heirloom", said little Christopher"... had been mistakenly sent along with their other donations. Chris asked me if we (the church) would please return the beautifufl coverlet to them....because...."If we lost this heirloom, mom would be very sad." The blanket is irreplaceable, he said, and then pastor looked right at me and said, "Linda, when service is over, please feel fre to come and pick up this heirloom, and you should be more careful with it in the future.!!!!
Somehow, over the many years that followed, heaven only knows what ever became of that huge monster. Secretly, I believe that the two older kids and their dad figured out a way to take the monster...to some place very far away!!!! I will admit however, that over the years, I learned to make dozens of smaller quilts, covers, afghans for the kids and grandchildren. None of them have perfect stitches, and there is no alternative because I only know one stitch....CHAINSTITCH.. I've made them in colors for the New Orleans Saints, The Dallas Cowboys, the Greenbay Packers, The Miami Dolphins, and even some highschool teams along the way. I've made them for little newborns, and just to have something to do...rarely used them...just proud of each one, believing that I am the most talented and sought after crocheter in the world..
When my sisterinlaw visited, she just laughed because one linen closet in the guest bedroom was jam packed with piles of crocheted colored quilts... and I can promise you... it is NEVER cold in Phoenix, AZ....usually 100 degrees and higher...but that's not why she laughed... She laughed because she is an expert...sought after by shops all over the East and North, and some other countries. She sells are beautifufl works all over the world, and is paid very well for her specialty work! Then...there is my work.... I couldn't give them away...but of course I do. I doubt anyone uses them, except for my own kids and grandkids... because I have seen them used....honest! My kids and family love em'...because I made them... and they know I'm not a knitting kind of woman.... :-))