Four years ago, I lived in an extremely drafty apartment. In winter, the floor would feel like ice. I saw my own breath on multiple occasions, and wore a snowsuit inside more than once. Yes, it got that cold.
My brother and I put plastic over all the windows, and we had big heaters in each of our rooms. We got through it somehow, though we could never tackle the issue of the icy floors. My room was especially problem-prone: Its floor was covered in a pale kind of linoleum. I hate wearing thick socks in bed, no matter how cold, so would often be greeted in the morning with a shock of ice each time I put my feet on the floor. One day, I realized the extremely obvious: I needed to get a rug. But being strapped for cash and also obsessed with big craft projects, I decided to try making one instead of buying it. How hard could it be? I know how to crochet, and had a bunch of yarn to spare. “I’ll have this done in no time,” I thought.
I decided to make it as long as the futon I slept on at the time (six feet), and as narrow as the opening between the futon and my desk (33 and ½ inches). I wanted a thick, tightly woven rug, and was also obsessed with making tiny stitches (I still am), so picked up my 4.0mm hook and got to work.
To add yet another eccentricity, I have a fascination with the concepts of reuse and zero waste, so I also decided that all of the yarn I’d use for this project would either be from material I already owned or thrifted. I didn’t want to buy anything new.
Four years later, I’m still not done with it. I clearly didn’t plan this project out well.
I’ve moved from the drafty apartment since then, and have regulated the rug to an untouched closet corner numerous times, most notably in 2015. I barely worked on it that entire year. Over the years, though, it’s transformed from a simple project born out of necessity into a spiritual, handmade journey of process and progress. Each row takes about two hours to complete, so I typically can only do one row per day. And it takes four rows to make up one inch. If I had been consistent with it, I would have been done with it in less than a year. But I haven’t been consistent; I’ve given up many times before.
When all is said and done, though, I don’t want to be a quitter, so I will see this project to completion. This year, I’ve decided, is the year that it will get done.
In many respects, this crochet rug is a physical manifestation of two larger life lessons that I’ve taken to heart:
1) It won’t get done unless you do it. Dreaming is the easy part. It’s the actual execution of a project that’s the biggest challenge. Hard work is always an essential aspect to sustainable success.
2) Fulfillment comes out of the slow building of things. Things are rarely perfect on the first try. This project has taught me that progress is made through consistent tweaks, iterations and improvements. It’s not about being perfect. Instead, it’s about the process of perfecting.
I really am almost finished — it’s 75% done! I’ve got a few more thrift store trips to make, though. My yarn supply is running low.
Follow the progress on the project’s official Tumblr page.
David Leon Morgan is a Bronx-based creative storyteller and crafter. He loves to crochet, sing extremely loudly in the shower and help others share their story in creative ways. Learn more about him and his work at http://davidleonmorgan.com
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