What happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas

Last Wednesday when I attended Professional Development Day at the Chain Link Annual Conference, held in Greensboro, North Carolina, I had the opportunity to meet Betty Hechtman. For those of you who don’t know her work, she is the author of a series of crochet-inspired “cozies.”

While Mrs. Hechtman has been writing for many years, her foray into crochet is a more recent endeavor that began in earnest at an FAO Schwartz in Las Vegas, Nevada. In this blog post titled “The Pilgrimage,” Mrs. Hechtman details her trip to Vegas, where she purchased and was transformed by a kit like this:

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Alex, Granny Square crochet kit

Betty Hechtman had a long-standing love of afghans made from granny squares, and while she had done a lot of sewing, she had not had the opportunity to learn crochet. She made several attempts to learn, but it wasn’t until she found the aforementioned kit with its step-by-step instructions that she was able to complete the first step on the road toward mastery.

It is clear from talking to Betty Hechtman, that learning to make granny squares transformed her. She describes the experience of making those first granny squares as an event that “opened the golden door.” She felt that if she could make a granny square, she could do anything.

It turned out that the door that opened was a series of books. Her agent had been encouraging her to write mysteries, and learning to make granny squares brought a vision to fruition that has led to a six-book series of crochet-inspired mysteries. Five of the books have been published and the sixth, Behind the Seams, is due out November 1, 2011, just in time to help crocheters transition from Halloween projects to Christmas gifts.

Inspired by my conversation with Betty Hechtman, I got out this Mondrian-inspired granny square I made for a swap (but have not yet sent):

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My Mondrian-inspired granny square

and used it as a back drop for one of the earlier books in the series, Dead Men Don’t Crochet:

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Dead Men Don’t Crochet with a granny square back drop

Not everyone who learns to crochet a granny square becomes a best-selling author, but many of us (myself included) find ourselves transformed by the craft, one stitch at a time.