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Midcentury modern afghans drape over furniture throughout my house, a 1955 ranch decorated as if suspended in time. These were some of the first items I unpacked after moving into my new home in 2020. Acquired from estate sales, thrift shops or handed down, the quilts in patterns of dizzying color combinations would begin calling to me.

Start crocheting again.

I studied fiber arts as a child of 8, working under an eagle-eyed Swiss woman who owned a tiny yarn shop in a converted barn in Queens, New York. I learned to knit, crochet and sew, but working with a hook fascinated me. I remember loving to touch its smooth metal, and feeling empowered by what I could do with my small hands. I made trivets and small blankets, later branching out to craft clothing that always soon fell apart.

It would not be long before boys, not blankets, yarned me over, and the hooks, needles, yarn and thread went into a drawer never to be picked up again.

With one post last year on Facebook, generous yarn ladies gifted all of those supplies and more (by this time, “crochettok” already took over FYP) when I decided to try my hand again. Straight away, I crocheted my first blanket, then another, and yet another, mostly in bed with my dog next to me and a good British crime drama on Netflix. One blanket, in the nostalgic chevron pattern, was so large that when I worked on it, it covered the entire bottom of my body as if it became the entire bottom of my body — you know the feeling.

That is what inspired the “Crochet Maid,” as I like to call her. I try to live the vintage life, even starting an online business during the pandemic, Retro Val Finds, selling midcentury modern goods, the kitschier the better. This big-eyed mermaid’s tail is fashioned after a granny square blanket in my favorite 1970s hues, her dark, long wavy hair and cat eyes like mine.

I just launched a Crochet Maid line (along with other fun products I will be creating in coming weeks): T-shirts, stickers, art, tote bags and phone cases.

These items are print on demand and the T-shirts are available in a wide range of sizes.