5 Literal & Metaphorical Life Lessons I Learned While Crocheting My First Blanket

crochet goddess

crochet goddess

4. Time is more meaningful than money. Could I have gone out and bought a crocheted blanket? Of course.

After many months of stop-and-go progress, I finally finished my first major crochet project a couple weeks ago: a big, chunky, comfy blanket. Isn’t it pretty? I’m so proud of myself and love the way it came out. So much so that I’ve been swaddling myself in it every night and nearly passing out from heatstroke because August is not exactly “blanket swaddling” weather in Tennessee.

Crocheting gives you a lot of time to think (or zone out, or listen to podcasts, or all of the above), and all that thinking time provided me with a few crochet-inspired epiphanies about life. Who knew the fiber arts were such a potent conduit for self-growth? I sure didn’t, until I crocheted a blanket and learned the following life lessons in the process:

1. You know more than you think you do. One of the reasons I never thought I could become a proficient crocheter is that I have a really crappy memory when it comes to details, and remembering something as detailed as a crochet stitch seemed impossible. Every time I picked up my crochet hook, I doubted myself, thinking, “Well, today is probably the day you forgot how to crochet.” And if I thought about it too much, sure enough, I’d get confused and overwhelmed and forget the stitch. But if I took a breath, calmed down, and just trusted myself, guess what? I knew the stitch.

My hands knew it without my brain even needing to weigh in. That’s true of more things in my life than crochet: I lose faith in myself easily, but in most cases, I need to give myself more credit.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I was only a few rows away from finishing my blanket when my yarn skeins transformed into a gigantic, twisted knot ball. Every time I tried to untangle the yarn, I made the knots tighter and bigger. As a general rule, I hate asking for help, but it was clear this knot was (ahem) NOT a one-person job.

My angelic friend Christiana came over and spent two hours sitting on my couch with me, painstakingly detangling the yarn from one end while I worked on the other. By the time we’d finished a Hugh Grant rom-com, my yarn was miraculously untangled, and I was able to finish my blanket that night. In summary: untangling a mess (the yarn kind or the metaphorical kind) is a two-person job, and I’m so grateful for sweet friends who are willing to help.

3. When you can’t see the end point, just keep going. About halfway into my blanket, I fell into this weird crocheting vortex where no matter how many new stitches I made, my blanket always looked exactly the same size. It felt like I was crocheting into a void. I got super frustrated and almost gave up multiple times, but instead, I just kept stitching. Before I’d even noticed, my blanket was almost done.

How many times has this happened to you in real life? You reach the tedious midpoint of your journey toward a goal, you’re no longer seeing dramatic progress, and you’re tempted to give up. These are the moments where it’s most important to just focus on the next small step, and the next one, and the next one, until suddenly you’re at the finish line.

4. Time is more meaningful than money. Could I have gone out and bought a crocheted blanket? Of course. And it probably would have been prettier and more perfect than the one I made, but dude, I made this one. This blanket was a labor of love and every time I look at it or use it to warm up on a chilly evening, I’m reminded of what my own hands are capable of.

Crocheting might not be your thing, but any time you have the chance and the ability to make something rather than buy it — whether that thing is laundry soap, jewelry, a mug, pasta sauce, or a bookshelf — the time you invest in it is infinitely more meaningful than money. As Miranda Lambert sang in her song, "Automatic", “It’s only worth as much as the time put in.” Amen, Miranda. Amen.

5. Sometimes unraveling is the only way to move forward. There comes a time in any crochet project when you realize you made a mistake a few stitches (or worse, a few rows . . . or worst, MANY rows) back, and the only way to remedy it is to unravel all the stitches back to that point and start again. There’s no way around it. And as annoying as it is to see all your progress being pulled apart, I have realized it’s also a heavy-handed metaphor for life: sometimes the only way to move forward is to unravel, deconstruct, and then start again, stitch by stitch.

We’ve all watched some aspect of our lives come undone like yarn being pulled from a half-finished blanket. It’s scary, but the process of rebuilding is where empowerment and insight happens. There is value in letting yourself fall apart every now and then, for the sake of putting yourself back together in a stronger, more purposeful way. And if that’s not some profound blanket wisdom, I don’t know what is.

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