The things we carry

There was a time in my life when I moved every summer for four consecutive summers.

Not local moves, but transcontinental moves that traversed North America. My travels along Interstate 80 were so frequent, I came to have favorite stops in Nebraska and several other states along my route.

At the time these moves exhausted me. Each July as we prepared to move, I would have to choose what to take forward and what to leave behind. The decisions were endless, but eventually, everything would either be packed, or not, and the journey would begin. Or — depending on your perspective — resume.

One year, as I packed for what I expected would be a move to my “forever home” (it lasted four years), I decided to label the last box packed as “the last box.”

When I got the idea to do this, I had surmised that the things in the last box would be the things that were most important, the things I needed to get through from one day to the next and that is why I had to wait to pack them until the very end.

When I arrived at my new home, due to unanticipated delays, everything had been in storage for eight weeks. It took me awhile to even find the box, but once I did and I opened it, I discovered that the contents of “the last box” were not irreplaceable and valuable pieces of my life. They were not even things that were vital to my day to day living.

Rather, the box contained a mish mash of small change, paper clips, tacks, scraps of paper, and other assorted detritus of living. The pennies and nickels, it turned out, were the most valuable things in the box, and when taken altogether, they would probably not have even been enough to buy a cup of coffee.

Fast forward to today: I have lived in the same house now for eleven-and-a-half years, and while at the time I hated those moves, I can see now that each July offered me an opportunity to reevaluate the importance of the things I carried, and so of late, as I sort through my yarn, my crochet books, and the myriad leftover pieces of projects that didn’t quite come to fruition, I realize that while it is easy to imagine the pain of leaving something behind, it is much more difficult to imagine (let alone realize) the pain of bringing it forward.

So while I ruminated about what we give up when we hang onto things we aren’t using, I continued to do what I could to bring purpose to the various and sundry underutilized pieces of my crochet empire.

I started by taking four more crochet rosettes which I made, but did not use, in my 2014 North Carolina State Fair project, and almost turned them into one five-inch crochet square:

crochetbug, crochet roses, crochet flowers, textured crochet flowers, crochet squares, granny squares
A future five-inch four rosette crochet square

I still have to weave in ends and work a single crochet border, but I wasn’t entirely certain where more Red Heart Super Saver cornmeal was, so I moved on, and rehabbed these three squares (two grannies and one textured):

crochetbug, crochet roses, crochet flowers, textured crochet flowers, crochet squares, granny squares
Three more five-inch rehabbed crochet squares

Then, using what I have come to think of as my television test pattern crochet strips, I assembled, but did not quite finish, three six-inch crochet squares:

crochetbug, crochet squares, crochet stripes, crochet strips, use what you have, repurpose
Three future television test pattern rehabbed crochet squares

Ready to move on, I transformed these four Nana Squares from four-inch crochet squares to five-inch crochet squares:

crochetbug, crochet squares, granny squares, rehabbed crochet squares, use what you have, repurpose
Four former Nana Squares rehabbed into five-inch crochet squares

Having enjoyed my color break immensely, I was able to return to the seemingly endless supply of two-round granny squares that I made in an antique gold sort of color, and I eked out eight more four-patch squares:

crochetbug, crochet roses, crochet flowers, textured crochet flowers, crochet squares, granny squares
Eight future five-inch four-patch granny squares

I still have a lot of pieces that are ready to become something else, and I will work to give them a greater purpose, one stitch (and one square) at a time.