Monday, 7 November 2011

"Do you," she wanted to know,

"Have any wooden or plastic crochet hooks?"
Well yes, there were some on the stall - or rather there were some bamboo crochet hooks and some with more "ergonomic" plastic handles.
"Can you come around the other side?" I suggested, "Then we can both have a look. It might be easier for you."
I had to wait for a moment because there was a crowd around the stall I was helping on but the young woman came around to the other side of the stall and I put the container of crochet hooks in front of her.
"Which particular size were you looking for?" I asked her.
"Four millimetre but I need to know how they feel," she told me, "Could you put it against my cheek?"
I did as she asked and rolled the bamboo around for her. Her face lit up and she said, "Oh, perfect! Would you have two?"
I found two and she paid for them. I put them in the bag for her and I asked what she was going to make.
"I was thinking about a baby shawl. My sister is expecting a baby in April. I think I could do it over the summer - something nice and bright."
There was no yarn on the stall suitable for baby shawls but we discussed where she might get some and she went off still smiling to look at something else.
It was all an ordinary enough exchange but for one thing - the buyer works holding the crochet hook in her teeth.
It was a craft fair weekend. Several other people with severe disabilities were customers at the stall I worked at and they were all keen craftspeople. One girl was profoundly deaf. Her mode of communication is sign language. I saw her admiring a crochet rug kit and signing to her partner. He signed back. I caught her eye and signed "You crochet?" She nodded eagerly. The kit was, I suspect, far beyond her budget but we worked together and she went off with two balls of contrasting yarn and her own plans for a hat. If your reading skills are not good then yes, you make up your own patterns. She told me she had made the top she was wearing and it was lovely.
There was another woman who looked thin and frail in her wheelchair but she said, "I save all year to come to this. It is such a treat to see yarn like this."
Another elderly woman with arthritis asked me about circular needles. Someone had sent her from our guild's display. I showed her a light, circular needle made from bamboo and explained the advantages. She went away with her purchase determined to continue knitting if she could.
There were other people who came and went. Some had saved over the year in order to afford purchases of luxury yarn not available anywhere else in the state. Others spent without really considering the cost. People asked about teaching children to knit. Children asked what you did with certain items and even men asked about processes. A man covered with tattoos asked about the class the stall owner was teaching and then signed up to learn a new skill. Later he returned and bought a rug kit. He was, on the surface, a most unlikely customer but he told me, "I love to create beautiful things."
I was surrounded by beautiful things for four days but, better than that, I saw so many other people enjoying them too. I also saw the effort that some people are prepared to make to be surrounded by beautiful things or that they make in order to give them to other people.
In cat terms, my rear paws are still tired but every minute of lost catnap was worth it.


widdershins said...

How profound it is, the creation of beautiful things.

Joanna Cannon said...

A lovely post, Cat. What a better world it would be, if we all took a moment to create something beautiful.