Saturday, November 13, 2010

Life in the Crochet Lane

By Betty Hechtman

I like to think my life turned on a granny square. I had always been fascinated by crochet, but particularly by the crochet motif. I managed to teach myself how to crochet a hat, but how to make the squared eluded me. They seemed almost magic - the way they had open spaces but didn’t collapse. I’d wanted to take a class, but all the yarn classes I’d seen offered were knitting.

And then one day in Las Vegas in FAO Schwartz something happened that changed my life. I passed a little blue suitcase with a picture of a granny square on it. When I read that it was a kit to teach you how to make granny squares, I had a big aha moment. If it could work for a ten-year-old, maybe it could work for me. It sounds silly, but I was over the top excited as I bought the kit. At last, I was going to learn how to make those squares that are the mainstays of afghans.

I waited until I was back home to open it. The great thing about kid’s kits is that they show you every step with pictures. Though my first attempt was missing a corner, my second turned out much better. When I saw that first complete square I felt like I could conquer the crochet world.

I put my square making ability together with something else I’d always wanted to do - write a mystery. I was going to call it Squared to Death. I thought even if it didn’t get published, I’d learn how to crochet in the process of writing it.

But it did get published. Only it was called Hooked on Murder.

And now my fifth book You Better Knot Die is out. My crocheting has improved, but nothing compared to my ability to accumulate yarn.

In You Better Knot Die, it’s the holidays in Tarzana, California. Molly Pink and her crochet group the Tarzana Hookers are up to their elbows in crocheting snowflakes to decorate the windows of the bookstore where Molly works and they meet.

In the midst of preparations for a holiday event featuring Santa Lucia Day, Christmas, Chanukah, and Kwanza, Molly’s financial advisor neighbor goes missing.

Molly is still trying to sort out her personal life, juggling friends and lovers, while preparing for the biggest event the bookstore has ever had - hosting the launch of the latest book in the uber popular series featuring a vampire who crochets.

Directions to make a snowflake and a vampire scarf are included. Also included are recipes for Santa Lucia buns and stained glass cookies.

Do you have any holiday decorations that have special meaning? What about holiday foods? Is there something special that your family serves every year?

Along with writing the national bestselling crochet mystery series, Betty has written Blue Schwarz and Nefertiti's Necklace, a YA mystery with recipes, numerous newspaper and magazine pieces, along with short stories and screenplays. She blogs on and Her website is


Sandra Parshall said...

Betty, I love the story of the little kit for kids that changed your life. We never know when a seemingly minor thing can have long-lasting consequences. Good luck with your new book!

Betty Hechtman said...

Thank you for the good wishes, Sandra. You said it all - you just never know what is going to turn your life.

lil Gluckstern said...

I love this post, and I will look for your books. I've been knitting for years, and had given up on crocheting because I thought it hurt my wrist, when I decided to crochet my friend an afghan. She had helped me through cataract surgery-driving, shopping, etc., so I went to my yarn stash. I made combination granny square, and log cabin pattern, and my wrist was fine. I love crocheting, it just feels so rhythmic. Off to Amazon now. Good luck with your book.

Betty Hechtman said...

lil Gluckstern, how nice that you were able to crochet an afghan for your friend. What a wonderful thank you gift to give her. Yes, I love the rhythmic quality of crochet.

Sharon Wildwind said...

I learned to knit for a Girl Scout badge, but crocheting always eluded me. I couldn't get my head around how to turn the yarn into anything other than a poorly-made fisherman's net.

One weekend, at my grandmother's when I was fifteen, I vowed to sit on her living room couch until I learned to crochet. It took me a day-and-a-half---Okay, I cheated because I went to bed at night---but late on Sunday morning, I produced a 2 inch, single crocheted square!

Thanks for the cool post.

Sandra Parshall said...

I crochet but have never mastered knitting. There are some sophisticated and beautiful crochet patterns available these days. Crochet done with a small gauge hook can look almost like knitting.

Betty Hechtman said...

Sharon, I know that feeling of triumph. Good for you for sticking with it.

Betty Hechtman said...

Sandra, I am so with you in the knitting department. Instead of being relaxing, knitting makes me nervous. I'm so worried about dropping a stitch.

Diane said...

I'm late on this one, I know. But I started out crocheting decades ago. Knitting eluded me. But I soon tired of granny squares, etc. I've been knitting like crazy ever sense. And have - literally - a wall of yarn. There's always something new to learn or make. My 16 yr old grandson requested I knit a pair of long shorts for him. In stripes. Really. No pattern for that, so I'm winging it. By the way, one of the knitting magazines, Knit'N'Style, always has a set of patterns by designer Melissa Leapman. The same thing, but one knit, one crochet, be it a sweater, cardigan, shawl, whatever.