Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Crochet Hugs: the comfortghan

I have had the good fortune of belonging to an online crochet group for the past fifteen years. There is a wonderful "list mommy," who organized the list of about 30 crocheters and who has kept it going since it began. We call her "Mommy Lois." She keeps us together as a group and she organizes our activities, which are centered around crocheting and other crafts. We play games, design crochet squares, and do exchanges. The exchanges may be of a particular type of item or may be based on a theme. Some of the things that we've exchanged include dolls, can cozies,  doilies, and dish cloths. The themes include seasonal themes, such as Christmas, Valentine's Day, and Halloween, and Secret Santa.

Sometimes, the exchanges are a "mystery theme." We sign up for the exchange and then find out what project we're going to do. That can actually be a little scary. One of these "mystery themes" was to do a craft that you've never done before and send it to a partner. I chose to do needlepoint. I found a kit and did it. Whew! I thought that my eyes were going to roll out of my head after crossing so much! I'll never do that again!!! I've finally recovered from the eyestrain!

We also do an exchange that is called "food fight." In that exchange, we send something that is food-related to the partner that is chosen for us. It could be something purchased or something crocheted. One of the things that I've crocheted was a donut. It was stuffed with a filling, and it had a white "frosting." The sprinkles were made of seed beads that I sewed onto the donut. It was fun but, for sure, decoration unless you like eating yarn and fiberfill!

One of the most special thing that Mommy Lois does is to put together afghans for group members who are going through difficult times: personal illness, family illness, family death, etc. We all contribute crochet squares for these afghans, which are called "comfortghans." When you receive a comfortghan in the mail, you feel as if you have received a great big group hug.

Three and a half years ago, a day or two after my dad passed away, a box came in the mail, addressed to me. I opened it and found the most beautiful blue comfortghan. Mommy Lois had actually mailed it to me before my dad passed away. In fact, she sent it after I shared with the group that my dad had suffered a terrible fall and was taken to the hospital for emergency treatment.

This is part of the comfortghan that was sent to me three and a half years ago. Each square is different: different colors, different patterns. It is an expression of love from an entire group. After all of this time, my comfortghan still feels like a great big group hug from a group of women that I now consider to be my crochet sisters.

Amazingly enough, I have never met any of my crochet sisters. They live in a variety of places. Despite the fact that we have never met in person, we still have that special bond. We are there to share in our mutual interest, which is crochet, and we are friends and sisters. Having this group is one of the biggest blessings of the internet. Without the internet and without e-mail and without social media, such as Facebook, we would have never found one another. The world is a better, kinder place with my crochet group. I am so grateful to Mommy Lois for making the crochet group possible and for making it a kind, safe place for all of us.

Another expression that I learned via the internet was "pay it forward." I learned that, instead of paying someone back for a kindness, you extend that kindness to someone else. In the past, I made two comfortghans for people who were seriously ill. I use scrap yarn for the projects and, sometimes, people donate scrap yarn to me for that purpose. Currently, I am making a comfortghan for a friend, who has some serious health issues. These are a few of the squares that I've crocheted. I work on it regularly and will share pictures of the comfortghan when it is done.

It is a good thing to send love out into the universe, one person at a time, because, eventually, it comes back to you.

How do you like to send love out into the universe?


7 comments:

Holly Jahangiri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Holly Jahangiri said...

Isn't that a wonderful thing, Alice? Sounds much like my list of people I consider to be "sisters (and brothers) by choice" - http://jahangiri.us/2013/gratitude-and-a-list/

In fact, many of us HAVE met, face to face, and provided a place for the young people we consider to be nieces and nephews to stay for vacation, college visits, flight cancellations, etc. I spent this past weekend with three of these wonderful women - we all met in Dallas, and although the trip was far too short, it was well worth the time and effort to get there.

Alice Gerard said...

I love that story, Holly! I hope that you had a great time with your sisters.
I am so grateful for friends.
They make the world spin.

Kim Smyth said...

What a wonderful story and group of peopl to be associated with! I crochet but I haven't had time lately, you sound like a great person who is appreciated by many!

Alice Gerard said...

Thank you so much, Kim!!!

Martha DeMeo said...

What a great idea and how beautiful the memory quilt is! My mom could crochet and knit beautifully but the genes never passed down to me. I took after my grandmother and sew.

Alana said...

What a beautiful person Mommy Lois is. Keeping a group going for 1 year, no less 15 years, is quite an achievement. I've been crocheting for 45 years; I would have loved a group like this long ago. Now, I don't do that much crocheting...spending too much time online.