Saturday, January 17, 2015

Baby Steps in Crochet and Preparing for Alzheimer's

Crochet has always been "that thing that Lawyer Mom can do that I don't understand." Or it was, until now!

As a small child I wanted to be able to do the things that Mom could do, as most kids probably try to emulate their parents. I took to piano easily. Crochet? Not so much. I got as far as just doing endless, endless chain stitches but when it came to moving from that into an actual thing I just couldn't grasp the concept. I ended up turning an entire skein of Red Heart yarn (it was a "baby afghan" colored yarn, pink and blue and white) into one long chain stitch, and then using the resulting snake as some kind of extra heavy yarn and chain stitching that into oblivion. I have no idea what happened to that monstrosity or if I even finished it.

All of that is to say I finally figured out how to crochet. Kind of. So I present a project that 10-year-old me would have been proud of:

I'm not sure if this is a direction I want to take officially take with Kokoba. Not potholders, obviously; apparel is more labor-intensive but it's probably also a much better seller.

Old age, dementia, and Alzheimer's are things that worry me. As I might have mentioned in relation to my thoughts on 23andMe, I know I have a copy of the APOE4 gene, elevating my risk of contracting Alzheimer's. I say "elevating my risk" but truthfully the odds are still against it (the risk is like 13% instead of 7%). Even with Alzheimer's out of the picture there's always the possibility of dementia and there's no report for that on 23andMe.

Long story short, I worry about these things and what will happen to my brain and my mind as I age. There's no way to know until you're in the thick of things. Watching this TED talk (yes, a TED talk, I know, but this one is good except really they should have gotten her a podium or a chair or something) got me thinking about my hobbies and what is familiar to me. What are my hands used to doing?

Piano, for one. According to JV I even play in my sleep on occasion. But if I end up in a home or a care facility, I'm certainly not going to have room for a piano of my own.

Viking knit, for another. That is smaller, portable, silent (no chance of bothering a roommate or anyone else), but handling fine-gauge wire in old age might not go so well. Though, again, if 23andMe is to be believed, I'm at a reduced risk both for rheumatoid arthritis and macular degeneration: good news for working with small crafts!

Still, pliers and wire snips might not go over so well in a care facility. Plus, as I've discovered, it's much easier to find "fiber arts" supplies on a daily basis than it is jewelry. I can go to the varuhus (department store? I guess? it's more than a grocery store but less than something like Target or WalMart) in the first floor of our building and find a wide assortment of yarn (mostly acrylic, which will have yarn snobs poo-pooing, but you can find wool as well), crochet hooks, knitting needles, and patterns. Beads? Wire? Findings? Only available at a couple of craft stores and even then of a questionable quality.

I will keep this up, maybe until we're drowning in crappy little pot holders, but you need to learn to walk before you can run, amirite?

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