It all started several years ago when the idea formed from a random message exchange with Susan Carlson, the woman behind Felted Button, over a crochet pattern I was working on. During that conversation, I exclaimed, “Well, I should just ask you for a signed yarn (ball) band!” We did not get around to it then, but that thought stuck in my head and kept reoccurring now and then. Last year, talking with a friend and crocheter in the United Kingdom, I shared that odd desire doggedly stuck in my head. We talked about how I attended several music concerts in my youth and over many years and always managed to sneak in an autograph from whoever was performing. It was a way to turn a memory into a tangible connection, however long or short, personal or impersonal, with people—an added token to the extensive collection of vinyl, cassette tapes, and band t-shirts.
With the passing of the years and the shift of interests (and not wanting to appear out of my mind at my age – not being a teenager anymore, when most things can be forgiven and elicit an annoyed smile), I was reminded of that feeling when I started crocheting again. I thought, “Would it not be nice to connect with anyone in the crochet world not just by working on patterns of designers but also feeling a bit more part of a quiet but vocal community of ladies and gents busying their hands with hooks and notions, creating, relaxing, daydreaming, finding mindfulness, joy?” So, during the conversation with said friend, she asked why don’t you do it? I told her it was simply a thought, and it would have raised eyebrows to make such silly requests. It already had when I had made random attempts to request such yarn bands. Conversation tabled; she went to work behind the scenes for several months.
I received a package from her with an assortment of yarn bands signed for me by designers and friends. The absolute joy such pieces of paper brought me is difficult to describe. It was pure delight. While developing the idea, I said that the yarn bands to be signed were to have been used in a project, so not taken off a brand-new skein. I could have collected them into a scrapbook and left them there – but that was not representative of the meaning. A connection to a moment in time and a yarn band to be saved from the trash can to be transformed into a memory – one for the receiver and one for the signer. An active, passive form of encouragement to keep crocheting and find joy in the process.
I acquired some vintage frames (which required a lot of TLC and cleaning but not restoring) and decided to hang them on the wall: the daily encouragement, inspiration, and cheer they were and are meant to represent. I gave some thought to the backgrounds to place those yarn bands on, something that would make me think instantly of that designer’s or that friend’s personality and crafting atmosphere. If the framed result seems busy, it mirrors one’s desire to find those moments of creativity and happy, peaceful deliberateness to make space for in everyday life. I may eventually run out of display spaces, but I am not upset. Today they hang on the wall alongside some mandalas I have made over time, and they lift my soul.
My sincere and deep thank you for the signed yarn bands (and accompanying sentiments) on the wall goes to Susan Carlson (USA), Esther Dijkstra (Netherlands), Janie Crow (England), Taina Tauschi (Finland), Pat Laurenti (England), Tatsiana Kupryianchyk (Czech Republic), Masako Kawahara (Japan), Anna Moore (Canada), and Saraphir Legind (Scotland). An extra word of appreciation goes to Janie Crow, Tatsiana Kupryianchyk, and Dedri Uys for a copy of their signed books! These ladies are an inspiration for everyone with their creativity, muse, expertise, instruction, fantastic patterns, and the cheerfulness they share with all those that look at crochet as the ideal craft to relax with and fill their hearts with smiling contentment. I promise it is worth picking up a hook and letting your mind run amok (well, not entirely)!