Share the Joy…One Stitch at a Time

I learned how to knit shortly after turning 50.

That was a time of confusion for me, as it is for many people, because I knew that life after 50 can be filled with all kinds of change—good and bad, planned and completely out of the blue.

Instead of pulling the proverbial blanket over my head, though, I took action and embarked on my “Journey to Joy.”

I made a conscious decision to embrace my new life as a woman over 50 and gathered the best advice from top experts, wanting to get and stay as fit as possible so I could live a life of joy.

Being someone who always likes to share good information with others, I spent a year researching and writing my first book – The Best of Everything After 50: The Experts’ Guide to Style, Sex, Health, Money and More – specifically to help other women be fearless, fit and fabulous for life.

I had the great fortune to introduce my book and positive aging philosophy to a wide audience on the Today Show when my book launched, and since then I’m a frequent guest.

RHYDoily_smallThis was a huge leap into my journey of joy, because simply sharing brings me great happiness.

But, just as important, I made a commitment to focus more on “me” and do all those things that bring me joy . . . writing, running, spending more time with my best girlfriends, and exploring my creative side, which took 50 years to unleash.

Many years ago, my grandmother tried her hardest to teach me how to knit or crochet. But I always put it off, thinking it was something that little old ladies did, not cool young women like me. In retrospect, I think I was also a bit intimidated, especially when I saw the exquisite and delicate pieces my grandmother crocheted (like her beloved doilies).

“How would I ever be able to do that?” I often wondered.

But, eventually I did learn, and now I’m hooked. And guess what? I’m pretty good at it! Better still: I’ve taught both my daughters to knit, too.

RHYBHGcrochet_smallOne of my greatest joys is making something . . . and giving it away to someone I care about, hoping they know that my love is in every stitch.

Sure, my grandmother would be proud to know that I finally picked up the knitting needles. But, she would be just as thrilled to know that I finally learned how to crochet, too!

My cousin—who is the granddaughter of my grandmother’s twin sister–lives in the small town in Germany where my grandmother was raised, and often comes to visit us in New York City. During her last trip, I asked her to show me how to crochet. It’s time, I told her. Here’s a photo of my cousin (also named Barbara) and me, as she’s teaching me to crochet a scarf using Red Heart Yarns’ “Boutique Infinity” in Enchanted (I used a Susan Bates 9.00mm M crochet hook).

And here’s a photo of my youngest daughter wearing it! She loves it!


My next project is a scarf for my oldest daughter, this time using Red Heart Yarn’s “Boutique Twilight” in Romantic, with the same crochet hook. Now that my cousin has returned to Germany, I’m hoping I can handle this one my own. But if I run into trouble there’s always Skype!

I’m proud to be the spokesperson for Red Heart Yarns, the most recommended yarn brand in America. Together, we are helping to spread around a little more joy . . . one stitch at a time . . . and we’d love you to help!

Please take a look at this short video to find out how you can help share the joy. I hope it will inspire you to make knitting and crocheting a regular part of your life, too.



16 thoughts on “Share the Joy…One Stitch at a Time

  1. Debbie Pernicka

    I learned to crochet and knit as a little girl. Have always loved it! My mom taught me to crochet and I learned to knit partly on my own but was helped by a lady in our church who taught the girls to knit. Took a break as I was raising kids and had little time. I should have made time because it is so helpful for stress relief! Started making everything I could when I got into menopause years later. Only thing that could make me focus! Good thing is we have a lot of rugs, scarves, hats,etc! At 63 years old knitting and crochet are 2 of my favorite things to do. My grandkids are also getting into some of it too. I really recommend it to anyone. It is so worth it!

    • Barbara Hannah Grufferman

      Hi Debbie,
      Thanks so much for reading and sharing your story! I love knitting, and I’m still getting the hang of crocheting. So many people have told me that crocheting is easier than knitting in a lot of ways, and I think they may be right! Please stay in touch . . . and Happy Holidays! – Barbara

      • Patricia Monds

        My grandmother Hattie Jane Malone (Mother Hattie) as we called her was blind. She was always crocheting, sewing or quilting. I would stand at the door and watch her. When I was a teenager crocheting granny hats were the in thing. So I bought a Learn How to Crochet book and taught myself how to crochet. Then let it go. Two years ago when I was 60 I asked my cousin to make me a hat she was wearing. When I got the hat I looked to see what stitch she used. Then it dawned on me I know how to crochet. So I bought some yarn and made my family Christmas gifts that year. It was nice to see the love and appreciation on my families faces. I have been crocheting ever since. I’m hooked again. Now I found some ways to give back. I’m crocheting hats for charity.

  2. M Black

    I don’t remember learning to knit. My mother must have taught me when I was quite young as all I can remember is that I have always known how. Now crochet is another thing altogether. I can remember trying it several times but having trouble with the hook not releasing the yarn. Finally one day when I was in my 20’s I just decided to DO IT!! I got out my trusty Red Heart “Learn to Do” book and followed the instructions for crochet and all of a sudden I was crocheting.

    I’m sure I still have a copy or two of that book around. It has the best basic knit mitten pattern ever! And the basic sweaters in it can’t be beat. I never did learn to tat from it, though.

    • Barbara Hannah Grufferman

      Hi M! When I think back to how many times my grandmother tried to get me to sit down, pay attention, and learn how to knit or crochet . . . yikes! But, I’m so happy that I finally learned how to do both. It brings me such joy, and a great deal of pride. One of my favorite things to do is knit something without a pattern, in a cool shape, and hang it on my wall. A few times I’ve hung things from pretty, thin branches. There’s so much you can do with yarn! Thanks for reading, sharing your story, and please stay in touch. – Barbara

  3. mary

    How can the new yarn spokesperson have her picture taken wearing a cowl that is NOT made with yarn? Did you all think that we knitters and crocheters wouldn’t notice? or wouldn’t care?

  4. Nancy

    I learned to crochet from my Mother when I was about 8 years old. I was often teased that I was doing “granny work” but felt that I had a lot to make (creativity is my passion) before I got too old to do it. I taught myself to knit my senior year of high school, and had to ask my Home Ec teacher to teach me the purl stitch as I could not get the hang of it on my own.
    My sister and I make afghans/throws for a local women’s shelter, and get about 40 done each year. We love Red Heart yarns as they are easy care and so many beautiful colors to combine into our designs.
    I’m also a teacher of beginning crochet and knitting classes at the local recreation center, so I get to pass on my passion to others.

    • Barbara Hannah Grufferman

      Hi Nancy! Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful story of how you #SharetheJoy with others. And, really . . . doesn’t that bring you a great deal of happiness? Please stay in touch . . . and Happy Holidays! – Barbara

  5. Evelyn Qualls

    My mother used to crochet slippers for each of her three daughters while we were growing up in FL. Yes, those hard wood floors became pretty cold on winter mornings, even that far south! After my divorce, I found crocheting to be a terrific stress reducer. I taught myself the granny square from an old Simplicity pattern which I acquired from my older sister and was completely hooked. I am so thankful for all the free downloadable patterns provided by Red Heart. I am now 74 years young and looking forward to teaching myself to knit.

    • Barbara Hannah Grufferman

      Hi Evelyn! Yay!! I’m so glad you’re going to teach yourself to knit! One of the best things we can do for our brain health is learn something new . . . so yay that are learning to knit. You should definitely check out all the great videos on the Red Heart Yarns YouTube Channel. Please stay in touch and Happy Holidays. – Barbara

  6. Terry Foose

    I learned how to crochet from my beloved gram , and at first , I did struggle to grasp it –but I kept at it , and as I grew older –into my early 20’s — I caught on –and now I feel , like a PRO — and I love to crochet , everyday –and like so many other crafters, I love to make many -items, like hats , gloves, slippers, scarves, blankets, toys and Christmas ornaments, and crochet appliques along with crocheting onto wreaths — I’m always learning — and I love to show others how to crochet also !! Because — I feel –there are 2 things –everyone should learn in life——- how to crochet ( or craft ) and to also learn how to play the card game , Cribbage !! I’m so blessed to of learned this talent — and will do it for as long as I can . Please contact me — for my list of crochet favorites !! thanks Terry Foose

  7. Jay

    I learned to crochet, because I had nothing else in life. I felt worthless, pointless, and helpless. One day I was watching a group of older women, crocheting their hearts out, and talking away. I could barely understand them, because my Spanish isn’t that great. One of them noticed me, and asked me if I wanted to try…I did, and I only managed a few stitches, before I handed the item back to her, afraid I would mess it up. A month later, I bought a set of hooks, then a month again, and I bought 2 skeins of yarn. I had lost two people that meant the entire world to me…and I got it in my head to make something for them. So I did…but I could never give the item to them, so I gave them to someone who had a special someone in their life, and they gave the items to them. I think another month went by, and someone mentioned that I was too stupid to learn to crochet properly. Suddenly, I had the urge to crochet, and crochet, and crochet…lol…now there’s nothing that I can’t make! And it’s even helped us put food on the table when times get tight.

  8. Steve Weedman

    My grandmother crocheted and I would stay with her occasionally when I was between the ages of 6 – 9. At that time, she was in her late 60’s and didn’t have any toys for at her apartment for me to play with so I took interest in what she was doing. I was a rather hyper kid however, watching her crochet captured my attention. I learned how to focus my attention into learning how to do something rather than running up and down the halls of her apt. complex prank knocking on her neighbors doors. haha!). She would demonstrate to me how to make a chain as well as different stitches. I would sit on the floor for hours with yarn and a hook trying to do the same. I would also practice at home and follow the instructions from Red Hearts ‘How to Crochet’ books. After much trial and error, it was around the age of 11 when I started crocheting. I am now 35 and I would say I am a master at crocheting. I was about 23 when I bought a pair of knitting needles and learned how to knit. However, it was in 2011 when I got serious about knitting. It was quite the accomplishment this past winter when I made my first pair of socks!

  9. Traci

    I started crocheting about a year ago and learned from YouTube viseos. I don’t really know anyone in my family that knows how to crochet. My grandmother knew how to sew ans would make us tons of quilts, the ones with the triangles and stars. They were so beautiful. My dad learned to sew from my grandmother and when I was little we didn’t have a lot of money at times so he’d make my clothes. As I got older these things became keepsakes and I wanted to do something like this and be more like my grandmother and give away handmade items that were made with love. I can’t sew…I mean I have learned to sew by hand enough to line a purse but that’s all the skill I acquired when it comes to sewing lol so I thought hey what about crochet or knit. I started out crocheting and have actually tried a little knitting but have put that on the back burner for right now lol. Now I’ve made blankets, hats, scarves, hook cases, stuffed animals…just have loved making things and seeing smiles when people receive their gifts. Now I know how my grandmother felt and I feel so lucky to be able to give and can’t wait to teach my little one how to crochet!

  10. Barbara

    I was a young married woman in my twenties and wanted to learn how to crochet. However I am left-handed and my mom wasn’t able to really show me. My neighbor, Alice, was left-handed too and started me out on a simple pattern of a toilet paper crocheted cover. It had a ruffle at the bottom and could easily be decorated with flowers, etc. From that simple start I have grown my skills over the last 40 plus years. I never thought I could make doilies, but that’s what I’m doing this year. Last year for Christmas, I made afghans for the grandkids, Christmas ornaments of all kinds and then selected a variety of other items for a “scavenger hunt” Christmas event for the family. They were placed or hung all around the kitchen & living room and then as the family came in (over several days time), they had to find & choose from each item. Everything I made were my Christmas decorations and after the last visitor, my decorations were almost all “put away”. I made sure there was at least one item extra so that everyone had a choice of what was available. It kept me busy all year and gave me a lot of satisfaction with being able to do so much. This year our great grandson was born and I was able to crochet several cute outfits for him, including a Santa Claus suit. Crochet is not only creative, but it’s relaxing and makes me feel good. Thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts.

  11. Eulalia

    Aprendí a tejer sola, conociendo como se tejía la cadena, seguí investigando lo demás.
    Me agrada tejer mucho, pero siempre en base a diagramas, no con indicaciones escritas.
    Para mí, el tejer crochet es una terapia increíble, cuando me siento en mi perezoza a tejer, me traslado a mi mundo interior, mis pensamientos salen a flote, gozo mucho de este momento íntimo en el que estoy sola con mis pensamientos. y soy dueña de mi,
    Tejo bastante, para mis hijas, hasta para mi bisnieta. En la zona donde vivo, es tropical, así que no usamos mucho las prendas tejidas, mis hijas y nieta y bisnieta si viven en zona fría donde se usan gorros, chales, guantes, etc, y es para ellas que tejo estas prendas.
    Tejer es maravilloso….me encanta y soy feliz de hacerlo.
    He comprado todos los juegos de ganchos que me gustan, hasta los que tienen luz, los encargo al exterior.
    Igualmente tengo colecciones de revistas de tejidos, ademas bajo los videos de crochet de you tube, es un mundo increiblemente hermoso.
    Soy de Ecuador, Latinoamerica, y soy muy feliz tejiendo crochet, es mi mayor alegría y sosiego, mi terapia favorita y sin costo monetario.
    saludos y felices fiestas.

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