Photo by Heather Middleton
By Curt Yeomans
Conley resident, Candace Winfield, let her 1-year-old daughter, Monet, sit in her lap and hold the G-Hook needle as Candace practiced the slip stitch at the Clayton County Public Library system's headquarters branch on Tuesday.
As Winfield worked with her pink and white yarn, her teacher, Morrow resident, Caroline "Cookie" Blankenship, began to talk about all of the things Winfield and her sister, fellow student, Marquita Brown, could eventually crochet.
"Pretty soon, you'll be able to use crochet to make anything you want," Blankenship said.
"Oh, don't say that, because I'll start crocheting everything around the house," Winfield said. "I'll be making clothes and blankets, and all kinds of stuff."
Blankenship, who has been crocheting, herself, for nearly 20 years, teaches a free class at the headquarters library branch -- which is located at 865 Battle Creek Road, in Jonesboro -- every Tuesday, beginning at 10 a.m. She said she began teaching the classes last October.
The only things students are expected to bring to class are a G-Hook needle and a ball of yarn, according to Blankenship. She added that each session lasts until the students are tired of crocheting for the day, and are ready to go home. Although only Winfield and her sister showed up for class this week, Blankenship said she typically has four to six students in attendance at each class.
"I'm doing this because crocheting is a dying art, and I want to bring it back to life," said Blankenship, who has also started her own, home-based company, called Cookie's Cutie Booties, where she will sell baby booties made using patterns created by crafts-design company, Annie's Attic.
The teacher added that, each week, she teaches her students a new crochet stitch. Eventually, the pupils will learn five stitches: the slip stitch, the chain stitch, the single stitch, the half-double stitch, and the double stitch.
Those are the only stitches her students really need to know, she said. "I tried to teach a young lady all of the stitches in the same day once, and she kept forgetting the first stitch, so now, I take it one stitch at a time," Blankenship said.
"It's harder than it looks," said student, Marquita Brown, as she slip-stitched her purple and white yarn. "My sister and I work out every day, but my forearms get so sore from doing this."
But, Winfield added, "I'm actually learning this. I'm a pro at the chain stitch now."
After the students learn each stitch, they will progress to making objects, according to their teacher. "Eventually, I'll teach them how to make a granny square, but I've got to teach them the stitches first," Blankenship said.
Brown said she and her sister joined the class, because "it looked calming," and they wanted to see how far they could go with crochet. Neither of them had ever done it before, she said. "The point is to see what we can make -- if we can make anything," Brown said.
And, as Winfield finished practicing her slip stitch, she said she was serious about her plans to crochet as many household items as possible.
"Hopefully, I'll be able to do it," she said. "I'm going to attempt it."