Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Virus and the Tissue Box ~ A Crochet Melodrama with Brief Delusions of Philosophy

Once upon a peaceful Sunday morning in May, in the midst of a charming breakfast à deux with Mr. M, I fell victim to one of the deadliest viruses known to woman. What was this virus, and how did it strike? Listen as the enthralling tale unfolds.

May, as you must know, is allergy month in Wisconsin. (Actually every month seems to be allergy month in Wisconsin. But when the sap rises in spring, so do the histamine levels. We blow our noses a lot.) So, in a not uncommon request, Mr. M asked me for a tissue - thinking, no doubt, that I had one secreted about my person. Being for the nonce tissueless,  I got up and walked over to his desk to get one.

And there it sat, unaware of the woolly power it was shortly to unleash - the seemingly innocuous tissue box.  Powder blue. Printed with blue roses. In a room full of sage green, terra cotta and brick red. (Where was the box of tasteful pale green printed with brown stripes, chosen with care by myself? Sinister forces had been at work - in other words, Mr. M had put out a new box without paying attention to colour schemes. So like a man.)

I got Mr. M his tissue and sat back down. But I couldn't stop thinking about that blue box. I turned around and looked at it again.

And that's when it happened. My eyes narrowed. A small voice inside my brain said, "Wouldn't it look better with a crocheted cover?"

My Quilting Self, long dormant, whispered, "Wait. We could piece something.We have tons of fabric."

"No!" responded newly imperious Crochet Self. "We have yarn to use up."

"We're always making scarves," objected Quilting Self.

"Scarves? Ha! They live in the bedroom. AND they get put away in summer," countered Crochet Self.  "The quilts are all over the walls. Year round!"

Beading Self awoke from its nap, listened for a moment, and went back to sleep. It had no part in this contest.

"But ... we have a few doilies..." Quilting Self faltered.

"One doily to about six quilts. I've been outnumbered far too long. It's yarn or nothing," said Crochet Self, "and that's final. Now, how should we make this? Freeform or motifs? Hmmm...."

Resistance was futile. Quilting Self retired in defeat. The symptoms were unmistakeable.

I'd finally caught the virus, you see. It took about 30 years, but it got me in the end. It gets every crocheter sooner or later: the urge to cover things with crochet. It's not enough that we wrap our laps, heads, necks, wrists, feet, and furniture in the beloved craft. We need more worlds to conquer.

Crochet is just so versatile. It's the Legos of fibre arts. We can make anything we want:  any shape, any contour, any size, given yarn enough and time.

And so there comes a moment in every crocheter's life when she (or he) begins to grasp the true potential of this amazing craft. That's when the virus hits us. That's when the ideas start to flow.

You've probably experienced it yourself. One day you're making humble square potholders. You progress to circles and hexagons. You start spending more time on Ravelry. You discover Crochet Pattern Central.

Then the bug bites, and you find yourself thinking, "Wow. I could crochet a Klingon warbird. Heck, I could crochet a chess set. I could (gasp) crochet a REAR VIEW MIRROR COZY WITH BEADED SPIRAL DANGLES! The world is my skein!" (Thunder and lightning would be appropriate here.)

Never mind whether crocheting such items is useful or practical. We do it because we can. We cover things because they're there (cue the soaring music) and because it's FUN. Which is why you find Smart Cars wrapped in crochet, and potholes in Paris stuffed with giant chain stitches. (Google these if you don't believe me.) And why Ravelry and Crochet Pattern Central are full of patterns for toilet paper covers and cell phone cozies and hot sauce bottle toppers.

Somehow I'd always remained immune to such delights. But that was before the virus got me. Now I sat in a fever of impatience for the meal to end and the dishes to be washed. Because I had a tissue box cover to crochet.

I couldn't wait to pick out some yarn and get started.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


  1. lol - can't wait to see your tissue box cover. P.S. I love the idea of a rear view mirror cozy. :)

  2. I've even seen a gun cosy. Belief it or not: My sister-in-law took a picture of it at an exhibition in Stockholm three month ago.

    Your story is great! I love it when people make fun of themselves.

  3. Very funny, very witty piece of writing. I'm smiling :))))

  4. That truly is one awesome piece of prose. You had me giggling all the way through. I love your creative sense of humor! And your virus...

  5. It's funny because it's true!! There was a day I thought my dear grandmother was a bit nuts because she made crochet cozies for everything you can think of. Now, thanks to you, I realize she had caught the virus! Thanks for a very good laugh.

  6. I've been resisting making a coffee cup cozy for years.

    This post was too cute.

  7. Thanks all!
    Regula - a GUN COZY? (Why didn't I think of that?) That's amazing.
    Lolly - I never could grasp the whole cozy idea. It seemed sort of pointless. But when I got that urge to cover the kleenex box, I gained a lot of sympathy for my fellow crocheters.
    Mr. M just pointed to one of our potted plants and said, "Could you make a cover for that?" The scary thing is, I think he was serious.

  8. I've seen a few crochet covered hanky boxes about too but so far haven't felt the urge to make one so perhaps my immunity to the virus is still intact. I am on my second blanket though with no especial need for one, and do find shawls and scarves quite addictive. I am perhaps in the early stages after all.
    Great post though, and I am looking forward to seeing your revamped box of hankies.

    1. You are just too funny! It's all true! I can't wait to see what you have to say every few days. You make me smile and laugh out loud too. Thank you!


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