Michelle Coffey reached out to me after @thecolormustard was kind enough to feature my article “Diverse Fiber Folk, I Know You’re Out There!” on her Instagram. I’m so lucky that Michelle found me, and so excited to feature her today! Michelle is a beautiful writer even in a passing Facebook message. As she so accurately said, talking to her caused “that reassuring thump in your heart that you’re not crazy: other people perceive the things you do.”
What inspired you to start knitting or crocheting?
My mom taught me to knit as a child, but wasn’t able to teach me to correct mistakes. Once I dropped a stitch, it was back to square one. Needless to say, knitting didn’t take at that time.
As a teenager, I babysat for a lady who taught me to crochet granny squares for scrap afghans. With good basics and the more forgiving nature of crochet, I taught myself the rest and hooked for many years!
I got back into knitting at the intersection of the digital age and my mother’s cancer treatments. She suggested reviewing basics while we were spending time at her treatments. With YouTube to lean on for new stitches and techniques, I was off! I took an intermediate lesson at a LYS with a friend/coworker, and I really took off!!
Has knitting or crocheting got you through a difficult time in your life? If so, how did it help?
Knitting has evolved from helping me cope with my mom’s illness and death to an activity that defrays everyday stress. Between parenting and being a medical professional, I’ve got everyday stress — but it doesn’t have me!
One of the things that satisfies me most with knitting/ crocheting/spinning is making order from chaos. I found a word for that. One of the antonyms of entropy is extropy, which more specifically refers to making beauty from chaos. No matter how sick my patients are at work, how short staffed we may be, how bad a mom I find myself at any given moment, I can take that yarn and make something beautiful happen. *That* I can control!
What keeps you obsessed?
I’m obsessed with lace. I like the challenge and detail of lace and how it comes to life during blocking. On my needles at the moment is one of those Ravelry projects you put in your favorites and savor for years: Fox and the Grapes by Lily Go. [Editor’s note: Lily is an amazing designer, who is also another woman of color!] I’m preparing it for competition in our state fair this year, and it’s going to be just beautiful!
What project are you most proud of? Why?
I guess I’m most proud of my “Vernal Equinox Shawl Surprise“ by Lankakomero because it won Best in Show at the state fair here in Virginia a couple of years ago. [Editor’s note: this pattern is FREE! Check it out!] It wasn’t long ago that I didn’t even know that was a thing!
What’s the best knitting or crochet advice you have received?
Knit what you love. Don’t wait until you get good enough for the good yarn, and don’t feel like you have to progress in steps. Crafting is all about following your passion. Where passion goes, skill can follow!