Khonnie Lattasima began crocheting to help her through the grief after her father died. She continues to crochet and finds that it adds to her life in so many ways. She shares more about that in this interview.
When and how did you learn to crochet?
I learn extremely well self-taught, so my instructions came from YouTube videos (December 2012 – a couple months after my father passed away), reading crochet blogs, and searching online for instructions on basic stitches and techniques. As a matter of fact, I didn’t learn the basics; I just jumped right into patterns! This cost me a lot of time and money but I don’t regret it at all! It was nice to be ahead of lessons without knowing why! If I were to teach others, I’d definitely start them on the basics, though.
So you learned after your dad’s passing?
Yes, I started crocheting as a way to cope with my father’s death. It was a healthy balance between keeping active but allowing myself to be apart from too much social activity, something I wasn’t ready to dive back into just yet. Crochet was calming and gave me purpose again; I learned a new skill and was able to keep my family warm and to add to my wardrobe all at the same time! Since then, crochet stuck with me and became something bigger. I enjoy talking about it with others, sharing photos of my projects, and getting as many people involved as possible.
You mentioned that you would start people on basics if you taught them to crochet? Has anyone ever asked you to learn?
People have asked me to teach them, and I have helped some people, but I haven’t fully taught anyone. I usually just point them to YouTube and coach them along the way. Most people say that they don’t have time to learn – because crochet can be time-consuming – but as with everything else, we have to make time for things we want to do.
When people comment on how talented I am, I attribute it more to skill/technique rather than talent. Anyone physically capable can learn! I love being able to inspire others with my projects. Some have taken up crocheting as well – it’s been awesome to be able to share projects, share patterns, and help one another. Even better, it’s more amazing to see when they’ve inspired others too!
Are you part of any crochet groups?
I make friends easily but prefer crocheting alone mostly because I see it as “me” time. There have been times when I’ve organized crochet meet-ups, only to disband them before they even start. I feel like I am part of the craft community, though, and see crochet as part of my lifestyle rather than a trend.
So do you crochet at home?
I crochet on the couch after work or during car rides. My favorite TiVo’d shows (usually reruns) are on. It’s so much better watching a classically funny episode where I don’t need to concentrate on the story line. My two favorites are reruns of King of Queens and Everybody Loves Raymond. When I’m watching TV, on a car ride, etc., I prefer repetitive projects. When I work on complicated projects, I am usually in one place with no music or TV on. I love the challenge!
Who do you crochet items for?
I love crocheting for my baby niece. She’s growing up so fast and keeps me busy with all my projects. Awhile back I crocheted her a giraffe; she would take that Gigi Giraffe with her everywhere. My heart is so full to see that something I created is a part of her childhood and something she may remember as an adult.
I also work for a nonprofit that hosts a craft sale every November. It’s been wonderful to be able to make items for sale to benefit a greater cause (helping seniors and caregivers). The act of crocheting also can heal the person who receives the project, not just the person doing the crocheting.
What is the number one most healing aspect of crochet for you?
I’d say the calming aspect of it and definitely learning a new skill. I actually started knitting before I crocheted, and I stumbled across crocheting partly through curiosity. Once I discovered how much more enjoyable it was for me (not to say knitting is not enjoyable), I stuck with it. One of the best parts about needlework is that my father was actually very handy in craftwork too. So was my mother. I inherited a whole set of old, metal Susan Bates hooks. Just being part of this craft makes me feel like my father is right there with me, and this brings me peace.
Speaking of peace, have you ever crocheted a prayer shawl?
I crocheted two shawls, not aware that they were prayer shawls. I don’t identify with religious denominations but can understand how healing prayer shawls can be. A friend’s grandmother and brother passed away within the same year, and I thought about making a prayer shawl for her to let her know that I’m thinking of her and that I care.
Besides crochet, what other things do you do to heal?
I write or help others with their problems. Because I also work for a nonprofit, I find it healing to be able to help people, mentor others, and learn from all of them. I also ride bikes, play tennis, and spend time with my pets: two cockatiels, one green-cheeked conure parrot, and a bunny.