I cannot recall if it was Christmas or my birthday, they are close enough in time that they blur, but one of my aunts gave the young me a starter embroidery kit of four floral stamped hankies and colorfully threaded needles. It used to be a rite of passage thing that ladies went through—learn the art of needle and thread or the ways of yarn. My grandmothers were practitioners of both. One did her best to teach me how to crochet, but it was easier to ask her to make the potholders and afghans (which I now cherish) than put myself through endless hours of hooking yarn around a pair of needles. The other did her crewel pieces until arthritic hands would no longer hold the needle, and she really missed it when it was gone. We would spend some limited quality needle time together but my embroidery skills never blossomed much beyond that starter kit. I lacked the “sit still” factor for such—not my thing. It wasn’t practical enough.
Now I’m pushing the door open on forty three and once again picking up thread, plus feathers, fur, and chenille. It isn’t what my grandmothers hoped for their young lady but I am putting those genes to work at my fly vise. I love seeing the pattern emerge on a bare hook one turn of thread at a time. And, nothing beats the sensation of watching a trout rise out of seemingly empty water to strike at a fly I created. With winter now settling in and darkness arriving early in the evenings, I look forward to cozy, afghan draped time at my desk stockpiling next year’s flies. I have found my craft at last. I have a lot to learn though—dubbing remains enigmatic—so I better sit still and work at it.
I get a chuckle out of the fact I purchase most of my tying supplies in a store that is fifty percent devoted to the crocheting and knitting clan. And since I never took Grandma’s lessons to heart I might be wise to befriend a couple of them to make me some cozy new beanies and scarves for winter fishing. I will trade for flies.