Back in 2014, I had the good fortune of meeting a wonderful human being, Rachel, in a birth doula course that I attended at Mount Royal University in Calgary. Rachel and I instantly gravitated toward one another, becoming fast friends who shared a bond of the sacred divine feminine. We continued on from our class to form a small birthing collective together by sharing in the provision of support services to laboring women in our community. Rachel and I became so close during that spring that she even introduced me to my now-fiancé...but that's another story for a different time!
Alas, our friendship was not meant to exist on only one continent. A little over 2 years ago, Rachel booked a flight to India and has hardly stopped moving for a moment since. I confess I find myself occasionally jealous of her wonder-woman worldly adventures, but she always comes back to visit with heaps of great stories and good company. I suppose I can't blame her for answering the call of the wild; it seems that woman was made to share her soul with all of the Earth.
Most recently her soul has settled in the Northern reaches of India, in the state of Uttarakhand, where she became involved with Project Burans; an outreach organization that supports mental health in rural communities. A few months ago, Rachel wrote to me and asked if I might have any craftsy projects I could share with the community she was working with. She had proposed a initiative where local women could earn money through the sale of hand-crafted items, increasing their resilience and allowing for the generation of a supplemental income for their households. How flattered I was that Rachel had thought of me! Building off of her enthusiasm, I envisioned a pattern for some sweet and simple crochet flower motifs. With a few additional materials, they could be made into earrings, necklaces, and ornaments. Rachel had already been planning a brief layover at home here in Canada, so we arranged to meet up for a quick crochet lesson.
A few weeks later she was sitting on my couch, learning how to hold a hook. Over trying to cram nearly 11 months worth of stories and future plans into a few short hours, Rachel managed to pick up the basics of crochet like a champion. She was a patient and eager learner which reflected her dedication to her cause. By the end of our afternoon together, she had made her own perfect little flower. I promised to write the pattern down and send it out to her, and she promised in turn to send lots and lots of pictures of the project in action. And just like that, she was back on a plane to India!
I was now faced with the opportunity to draft my very first pattern. I figured that it would be a simple task...up until the point that I tried to take photographs of my process using my mobile phone. Have you ever tried to hold, focus and click your camera with a single finger? Most of us probably have some experience with one-handed selfies, but posing a crochet hook and yarn simultaneously in the other hand is a challenge all in itself (I will definitely need more practice at this). It took me the whole night to get all the darn steps photographed and written up, but I was able to complete the pattern and send it out shortly after Rachel returned to Uttarakhand.
The women of Project Burans took to crocheting just as quickly as Rachel did (I have no doubt that she made for a stellar teacher). In just a few weeks, they have amassed a pile of crochet flowers that would make a cherry blossom wilt with envy! They have already been extremely successful with many sales out of the regional school in their village.
I am so thankful to have been a small part of this far-reaching initiative. For me, crocheting has increasingly become a cherished practice in technical skill, self-sufficiency, and personal reflection. I am thrilled that Rachel, by way of Project Burans, was able to carry these values to share with and strengthen a community far away and across the world.
If you are interested in creating a little flower of your very own, go ahead and check out my beginners Crochet Flower Earrings pattern!