Well, so I spent my morning off at the dentist. Always a pleasure. As I was meandering through the lobby, wondering when I'd be able to feel my face again, I could sense yarn being manipulated nearby (does that happen to you? weird, huh?). I looked up and saw a man crocheting. And then I saw his dog. And, of course, I went over to chat (as best I could, what with half a working mouth).
That is how I met Allen and his companion, Meadow:
Doesn't Meadow look proud? And no wonder. In Allen's hand is Hat No. 28 of this year. Yes, this year. By my quick ciphering, that's a hat about every other day.
Allen makes afghans as well. The hats are better for crocheting in a lobby whilst waiting for a ride home.
He gives them all away. He rattled off a whole list of organizations that receive his hats, then said: "I don't need to know who I'm helping. Somebody will have a warm hat. That's good enough for me."
Allen learned to crochet in second grade at the Governor Morehead School for the Blind in Raleigh, NC. Then he forgot how to do it. He relearned in 1997 or so. He made afghans to take to the orphanage in Russia where he and his wife went to adopt their daughter.
He said people have told him he should sell his afghans—ripples or squares are his preferred patterns—but he said "I don't know how to sell them. I just like knowing I have helped somebody."
A lot of his yarn comes from Walmart, he says. Friends also donate their leftovers. He was gifted black, white, and red yarn one time. He put the yarns in labeled bags and fretted about how to make them look good together. Then he found out that they are the colors for the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Carolina Hurricanes, and he figured fans of those teams would like whatever turned out. He especially likes variegated yarns, he says, because he's been told that they make a very pretty pattern.
Somebody told him the hat he is working on is brown.
Perfect for any cold head, I'd say.
Betty came to pick up Allen or else we might still be there in the lobby. I feel like there's a lot more I could learn from Allen. I'm glad we met.
Gotta go—working on a Chain Reaction Afghan. The sooner I finish, the sooner I can give it away.
P.S. Looking for crochet projects to give away? Download our Free eBooks, How to Crochet a Beanie: 5 Free Crochet Beanie Patterns or Craftivism & Crocheting for Charity: 6 Free Patterns to Crochet for Charity or 8 Free Crochet Hat Patterns: Crochet Hats with CrochetMe.