Mama wanted me to write something, on the theory that it was time. She has this grand idea that I should share a poem with you (and yes, I do write poetry, and short stories, and essays) preferably about knitting, but I thought about it and realized that I don’t want to write a poem about knitting at this particular moment in time, and the poems that I’ve already written about knitting aren’t ones that she even likes because she only likes poems that I write when I’m writing bad poetry. So, I thought I’d spend some time talking about why I craft.
I craft. It feels like a confession when I put it that way. I started crafting because I was instead of doing something else. And then, I discovered I liked it.
It’s all because of finals, really. There’s something about studying for finals for hours on end, all culminating in a week of exams and essays (I’m an English major, so we’re talking anywhere from five to twenty-five pages, double spaced) that makes me crave something that I can do with my hands while letting my brain heal.
When I was in college, finals corresponded with Christmas, and so when I first started crafting, I got some yarn and some wide ribbon, and I crafted little Christmas ornaments (yarn angels). The hardest part was the wings, of course. I brought them home with me for Christmas and our tree blossomed with little red and white and green angels.
The next year, I spent time at my aunt’s house for Thanksgiving, and helped her decorate for Christmas. One of the things we did was cut up a garland and mix hot glue and ribbon and garland and little burgundy roses so that she could have a theme Christmas tree. And so I had another ornament to play with that finals season.
I don’t remember where I got the idea to paint cinnamon sticks with fake snow to make Santa. But that joined my repertoire.
It should be explained that by this point, I needed craft that was socially acceptable at the other finals season. Spring. Painting cinnamon stick Santas is difficult to explain to your roommate when Christmas is eight months away.
My roommate at the time took up crocheting leper bandages, but I’ve never learned to crochet, and besides, I didn’t want crafting to become an obligation. That’s what happens when one actually makes something useful. So, I started cross-stitching, which has the bonus of taking a long time and producing something that’s only fit to be put on a wall in the end.
And so, I have a horde of cross-stitched pictures lurking somewhere in my room, waiting for me to frame. And I have little plastic bags of ornaments (which are given away every year so that I don’t feel strange making more) taking up significant space in the Christmas boxes. All because of finals.
Finals season has a lot to answer for, doesn’t it.