When I was deciding on what “features” my new crochet bag would need, the thing that was first and foremost on my mind was that it be a washable crochet purse.
Since it is now clear that COVID-19 is a global traveler, I have been seeing the world through my maternal grandmother’s eyes. Born in 1897 in what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina, she survived the 1918 flu epidemic, three husbands, two world wars, and the loss of one child. Most of her life was lived before the advent of vaccines and antibiotics, and as such, she was a fastidious housekeeper and was skilled at finding dirt and germs and eliminating them both.
The last time she came to visit my parents’ house, she was beset with cancer and nearing the end of her life. That, however, did not stop her from enlisting me in one of her projects. Nothing it seemed would stop her from using the time she had left on this earth making it cleaner than it was when she had arrived.
Despite her glaucoma, my grandmother could not “not see” dirt, and one afternoon she made it her mission to clean every single light fixture in the house. My task was to take all of them down.
I dutifully got the ladder from the garage and carefully unscrewed the finials at the bottom of each fixture. Then, just as carefully, I brought the glass pieces to her. After she had washed and dried each one, I ascended the ladder, clean glass in hand, and put the light back together.
When we had finished our project, my grandmother turned to me and said in her mix of English and Serbian, “Thank you, moj zlato.”
What I learned that afternoon was that there is an art to everything, including cleaning, and while I lack my grandmother’s skill, I did learn this: things that are easier to clean get cleaned more often.
So, in the spirit of not packing a bag full of germs around with me, I decided that it was important that my new crochet purse be washable. It was also important (if I were going to be washing it), that it be made from a yarn that could dry quickly. Add to that “durable,” and suddenly the much maligned acrylic yarn is a first-place contender to be used in making a fashionable bag.
I also decided that the bag needed to be spacious enough to carry the assortment of wipes and sanitizers that now go everywhere with me, and, like Goldilocks, I found this arrangement to be “just right” both for size and for showcasing the colorful squares that are the foundation of this bag:
As usual, I thought that I would get more crochet done more quickly than I did, but after working out the details of the shape, I finally gained limited traction:
And then, despite all of the color decisions in front of me, I made a bit more progress:
My goal at this point is to have the bag done by Sunday, so that on those occasions I go out into the world, I can carry a bit of cheer, a lot of wipes, and then wash it all of my cares and germs away, and be ready for the next adventure.