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Column: The trouble with hobbies

The problem with hobbies, I've decided, is finding the time to hobbyize.

I was so proud of myself on Sunday night. I finished an afghan that I started Fourth of July weekend. Yep, three months ago. It wasn't even a big afghan. And it was a pattern I'd made before.

I simply didn't have the time to do it.

My house is a collection of hobbies -- I have an incredible stamp collection, if only I'd have the time to mount them all instead of leaving them in the sleeves. I've dabbled in genealogy. I enjoy wine tasting. I love to cook. And I've just retired yet another container garden for the year.

And, of course, I enjoy crocheting. I actually think I might have inherited it. I'm not kidding. I've grown up in a family where all of the women crocheted. My great grandma Leonard, who lived with us when I was a child, crocheted very delicate doilies. I've got covered hangers my great grandma Daleiden crocheted for me. There are countless afghans from my Gramma Ag and my mother, and on my dresser stands the doll wearing the dress my Gramma Dorothy made.

I actually learned to crochet as a child, but then forgot when I got older because somehow, it didn't seem cool. I only rekindled my interest about four years ago, and already parts of my home resemble a yarn shop.

Being a novice still --keep in mind, my goofy schedule means it usually takes three to six months to finish one project, so I haven't really gotten past the advanced beginner/ almost intermediate stage -- I set out to collect yarn for "someday" projects.

Like me, my mother has numerous tote boxes filled with. And, since she's been in this "you can't take it with you" kick for a year or five now, she's pretty adamant about sending stuff back to Farmington with me. Every time I go there.

Suffice it to say, she managed to clean out two of her totes by sending all these hunks of oddball yarn home with me. She talks a big game, too: "You could make one of those scrap afghans," she suggests. And I think, "Hey, that's a good idea. I COULD make one of those scrap afghans."

But I don't. Instead, I want to make a whole, pretty afghan that fits the personality of the person I'm making it for. Why waste the time if you're not going to make something nice, right? Well, that usually means hitting up yarn shops and Michaels or JoAnn when they've got some good coupons out.

So right now, I've just finished the one I started in July. I'd carefully picked out the colors, thinking I'd make it for the beau, since he's a guy and he really doesn't have any nice "homey" things like a good, warm afghan at his house. (Admittedly, I will likely use it more than he will.)

But before I finished that one, I went out and did what I always do -- bought ahead for the next one. I'm hoping to get another whole afghan out for one of my friends for Christmas, and still be able to make my annual one for my goddaughter by the holidays.

That's part of the thing with this whole hobby deal. Having all of those wonderful women in my life make things for me means they didn't just go out and buy something. They sat down with a plan. They wanted to make something special for me, so they did. They made time for me, even though I didn't realize it. But now that most of them are gone, I still have those pieces of them left. And you can bet I treasure every little dishrag my Gramma Dorothy makes for me these days.

I work two jobs, I've got plenty to do with the Legion Auxiliary, and I like to see my fella and my family whenever I can. I seem to spin in circles some days, for as busy as I am.

But even if I only get one row done, I try to sit down and work on my hobby once a night. Not only is it nice to feel the accomplishment that comes from finishing a project, it's my way of remembering to make time for the people I care about.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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