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  • Debra Scala Giokas

Crocheters Live Twice

"Writers live twice," said Natalie Goldberg in her book WRITING DOWN THE BONES. I can attest that after crocheting 120 squares in one month, I feel like I lived my life again. in April of 2020, I began making a prayer blanket. It was a way of keeping myself calm during the height of the pandemic. I asked my family and friends to give me their three favorite colors and promised to make for those who gave me their colors, a granny square. Every time I made a square, I thought of that person and what he or she meant to me.

I crocheted mostly in the early hours of the morning before work, and on the weekends. Sometimes I did so watching Mass on television or listening to birdsong. I drank a lot of coffee. The blanket seemed to take on a life of its own. I was trying to get it made before my dog Zoe Ana arrived, and it helped me grieve our beloved Bella and the state of our world. Kind notes and comments from my friends and family lifted my spirits and gave my fingers the extra push they needed to keep stitching.

This blanket represents poets, priests and pianists, nurses, neighbors and nuns, marketers and marathoners, mentee and mentors, artists, writers and teachers, doctors and lawyers, bakers, secretaries and shopkeepers. It is grandmas and grandpas and mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers and cousins and nephews and nieces. The youngest person represented had turned seven and the oldest was 94 years young. The people come from Malta and Germany and France and Luxembourg and mostly America. This blanket is the human family.

Now somewhere along the line, I thought I should add myself. So I made a square that I thought would best represent me. A girl in a red, white and blue dress holding a basket of yarn that her grandmother gave her from the Five and dime. I spent a lot of time on this square and sewed her (me) in. Then I said to my husband, “I don’t fit. There is supposed to be 10 across, not 11.”

“Cut one out,” he said.

“I can’t.”

The I realized that I did not need a square. This entire blanket is me. It’s the people who have shaped me and helped me to become who I am, and am still becoming.

If writers live twice, then so do crocheters.

I wanted to share this story and this blanket with you, as I appreciate every one who helped me to find light in the darkness during the pandemic.

I finished the blanket on Mother’s Day. It was appropriate, as my Grandma Lois had taught me how to crochet when I was nine.

Have you ever made a prayer blanket?

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