A. J. Alexander’s Secret Zen-Handwork

I have been asked if I always write…

Free time? A. J. is writing, right?


And my answer is: Almost always, yes…

At nighttime, when nobody is watching me, at the full moon, on my birthday, when the wind blows to the East, I can be seen grabbing a crochet needle and yarn and starting to work… And on nights like these, unusual and dangerous things are happening, and strange forms are built…

Picture courtesy of Amazon.com

Yes, you saw that right. I crochet doilies. I learned that handiwork when I was in school and for some undefined reason, I never forgot how it’s done. (Which proves I’m getting old; on some days I cannot remember what I had for breakfast, but I remember how to crochet a doily.) Usually, I can work on those when I watch TV, some TV show, or just relax somewhere while waiting for something or someone. Fact is, once I started, I aspire for completion because the whole crochet thing isn’t only embarrassing, it’s also a waste of time. Don’t even ask me why I do that, I cannot deliver any kind of proper explanation.

I once tried to figure out how to crochet something else than a doily… Ha! I did some research on clothing. I mean, if I’m already sacrificing so much time and effort, at least I would be able to show off something useful, beautiful, and unique… right? Guess, what I found: You cannot crochet something really beautiful (at least not in my size).

Picture courtesy of: Instyle.de

Oh, PLEASE!! Hippie-Look is out… that poor piece of workmanship is outdated since the ’70s! I was shocked. I decided to find another model I could possibly try.

Picture courtesy of Instyle.de

Don’t tell me that doesn’t look like a nightgown that belongs in a nun’s wardrobe? I found it made me laugh. However, I went to the next model, and there I was lucky!

Picture courtesy of Google.com

Isn’t that beautiful? Yes, I thought so too. But: be aware: To wear something like this, you have to be slim! Crochet dresses don’t forgive the slightest ‘chocolate-roll’. Since the patterns include ‘holes’, you have to wear something underneath, otherwise, you’ll look cheap. And last, but not least: If you create your crochet dress from one single running thread, and you got caught in something, like a nail, a hook, or a splinter, you could easily walk away and not realize your entire dress is slowly unraveling, until you’re standing there in your underskirt.

So, as a result: I got stuck with the doilies…

And now, please, keep the secret! It’s getting worse…

Decades ago, I took a course with my mother… and we learned, not only to crochet doilies but also to knit them! Isn’t that the height of shame? Yes, A. J. Alexander learned to master the high craft of ‘art-knitting’… That makes a doily normally look a bit more elegant, the handiwork finer…

Picture courtesy of Pinterest.com
Picture courtesy of Google.com

A project like that might take me up to two years if the doily is a certain size. For small ones, I don’t even make the effort anymore. The work is very exhausting and you have to concentrate well. Every single flaw is going to be seen immediately, while a crochet doily might forgive and hide the one or other mistake…

I know, the world doesn’t use that many doilies anymore. I think I’m one of the last generations that still uses them occasionally. And if someone feels like having one, you can buy them cheap. Can you ask me if I’d crochet or knit you one? Of course, you can… but you will have to calculate ‘big’. A medium crochet doily already costs double. An art-knitted big doily is very expensive. I doubt, anyone is going to spend that kind of money anymore.

Now, you know, A. J. Alexander’s secret Zen handiwork… Don’t tell anyone, please!

Maybe I should stick with the writing, what do you think?