Crochet Blog by Amy Lillard

It’s true…I am my mother’s child. Especially when it comes to crafts. Let me back up and say my mother is one of those truly talented people who can do anything. An-ne-thing. First of all she sings beautifully and she cooks like a dream. But she can also paint, crochet, write poetry, sew, decorate cakes, do wood-working, AND she beat cancer.

But as terrific and talented as she is, this blog isn’t supposed to be about her. It’s about me. (LOL) So yes, while my mother can do it all, I can only do about half these things. Yet as I get older and my patience is strengthening, I find that I can enjoy crafts more than I did in my youth when it was a race to get it done and go on to the next one.

In January of this year, I decided that I was going to learn to crochet. Yep. Just decided. I told you at the beginning that I’m just like my mother. It’s a curse and a blessing I readily accept. After all there are worse things. Now I’ll tell you that with a mother like mine, I knew some of the basics of crochet. I could make a chain and I knew how to do the most basic stitches. But I’ll further testify that knowing how to do the stitches and knowing how to crochet are two very different things. In my first practice session years ago, I attempted a straight piece of single crochet about four inches wide. It was meant to be something like a potholder. It looked like I had crocheted half an LP. For those youngins out there, that’s a big vinyl record. So that attempt was a fail and I stuffed it all in a closet and went about my way.

Then January. With a little more patience and determination, I practiced the stitches again, googled why my efforts didn’t have straight edges even though that was my intent, and started my first lapghan.

Now it’s far from perfect, but it’s done and pretty and hanging over the edge of the armchair in my sitting room. But I have been bitten by the crochet bug, smitten to have yarn in my lap every chance I get! I started crocheting in the evenings while watching TV, in the mornings while I drink my tea and wait for my son to get ready for school and leave me to my day, and that sweet hour just after my husband gets home from work and before it’s time to cook supper. All. The. Time.

It’s June now and I’ve been at this for five solid months. In that time, I’ve crocheted, four lapghans, three scarves, and a cowl. Ten or so dish rags and three scrubbies. I’ve started two more full-size afghans and a sweater for moi. And then there’s the Afghan Without End. I started it for my best friend, got halfway finished—it’ll fit a twin-size bed—and decided I didn’t like the patterns of the colors. So I frog stitched it back to the original two rows. Frog stitching for those who don’t know is when you ‘rip it, rip it’ out. I’m about twelve inches into a re-do, but it’s been put on hold while I crochet baby doll ponchos for my friend’s little girls. And of course what’s a baby doll poncho without a matching baby doll blanket to go with it?

In this short time I’ve also managed to collect two 18-gallon tubs filled with yarn. Side note: read filled as stuffed so full they won’t close without extra effort. Houston, we have a problem. I do believe this is called crochet addiction. But at least it’s a productive and beneficial condition. And I have everyone’s Christmas presents all ready. Well, in my head.

I’ve discovered that crochet for me is a lot like writing. It’s something I obsess over. I think about it and what I want I want to do next all the time and I have more projects in my head than I have time on this earth to complete. But I suppose there are worse things…

For the Amish of Pontotoc, Mississippi, faith can open minds—and hearts—to create surprising bonds for a lifetime . . .

Independent-minded Leah Gingerich has always been outspoken. And even though she is now a progressive Mennonite, she’s rediscovering the joys of family traditions back in her Amish hometown. Yet she can’t help but clash with her handsome new Amish neighbor, Jamie Stoltzfus. He’s too hard-headed and old-line to see that his traumatized young nephew, Peter, needs faith and help—or that a woman who stands up to him may be what he needs to heal . . .

After a devastating tragedy, Jamie moved to Pontotoc with his nephew for a fresh start. Holding fast to his beliefs is the only way he feels he can aid Peter—and himself. But somehow, Leah’s freethinking ways and feisty challenges are sparking a happiness he’s never felt before. Soon, Jamie can’t imagine his life without her. But are their differences ultimately too great to overcome—or can love bridge their way to a future together?

Praise for Amy Lillard and her Wells Landing novels

“An inspirational story of romance, faith, and trust . . . will appeal to fans of Wanda Brunstetter and Beverly Lewis.” —Library Journal on Caroline’s Secret

“Fans of inspirational romance will appreciate Lillard’s vivid characters and positive message.” –Publishers Weekly