For my birthday 10 years ago, my husband and I were in Morocco. We’re birthday people. Big birthday people. We both love making a big deal about celebrating - for richer or poorer - throughout our marriage. He surprised me by whisking me away to a city I had never heard of and I left convinced that everyone must go at least once before they die. I had never even heard of it at that point, but it took my breath away instantly. I don’t think I’ve ever fallen in love with a city so quickly and I’ve always wanted to go back since then.
Fast forward a decade and I found myself looking for self-striping yarn. For some reason, most of this yarn is either acrylic or an acrylic blend. It felt like searching for a unicorn. But then, I found the perfect 100% wool with a scrubby, rustic texture that looked like someone had taken their paintbrush to it and I was transfixed. The shift from teal to azure to white to mustard to terra cotta took me back to the Moroccan coastal town that captured my heart.
As soon as I hooked into it, I knew I was working on something special. As the shells, scallops and posts layered like sedimentary layers, beauty was building row by row. The color combo was like channeling the memory of a short, but powerful, experience. I remembered the intricate tiles on the wall at the restaurant where we ate tapas. I remembered the sounds of the bright blue wooden boats clacking together while they were moored. I remember the white and wood combo of the B & B with a center courtyard you could look down to from 3 levels up. There was a resonance between the creative stimulation of the yarn and the process of crocheting the wrap itself. As the layers progressed, it seemed to unlock forgotten memories and new ideas at the same time.
It doesn’t surprise me that there has been a resurgence in slow, applied creative arts. Technology isn’t bad, but the tactile experience of something is different from a digital rendition. People often ask how I have time to crochet so many things, but it usually isn’t so much about making a concerted effort to carve our crocheting time or tackle a project for a specific deadline. Rather, I just swap the fiddling I would do on my phone with fiddling with a crochet hook. And you know what my smart phone doesn’t do? Relax me. It can distract me and entertain me, but it never leaves me feeling more calm and peaceful.
But crocheting does. It takes my compulsive urge to fiddle with things and channels it into something. Not only do I end up with a usable product at the end, but I have been on a journey that melds stories from where I’ve been with blue sky thinking about possibilities. It flips my flippant need to fidget for a beneficial purpose. It gives me an outlet for more joy, generosity an color in my life. Sometimes you stumble upon something where the materials, creative process and meaning are so resonant that you unlock ethereal harmonica in your work. The Essaouira Sunset Wrap was that for me and I hope it can be that for you too.