From the time I was a wee widget I have been in awe of people who can make beautiful things with their hands.I suspect that appreciation developed from watching my mother make wonderful things. Among my earliest memories is watching Mom sitting at her sewing machine in our house in San Francisco.She was a genuinely gifted seamstress. Mom could translate a designer's sketch into a finished gown.Until I was in high school, all my shirts were Mom-made. She even would cut down Dad's old suits and tailor them for me. Before I was 10 I had more suits than most bankers.Later Mom got into all sorts of other crafts. She learned to make beautiful artificial flowers from plastic, and could even mold flowers made of mashed bread mixed with white glue. No, I don't know how she did it.She etched copper, and made wall hangings from layers of newspaper and paste that she delicately decorated with hand-painted flowers.Mom had a real and wide-ranging talent for making beautiful objects with her hands, and none of that skill reached my end of the gene pool.I got all of my creative talent and manual skills from my dad.Dad was a good and noble man. I love him dearly, and I would be honored to be half the man he was, but he had functionally no talent whatever for making things.His idea of a thing of art was 49ers quarterback Y.A. Tittle lofting a ridiculously high pass to R.C. Owens for a touchdown.I have both Dad's love of the 49ers and his lack of manual skills. If I so much as pick up a hand tool, I'm putting myself and everybody in close proximity into extreme physical danger.Having said that, about three years ago I made a significant breakthrough.I discovered an ability that almost comes up to the level of a skill. I can knit stocking caps.OK, it is a bit over the top to say I can, strictly speaking, knit. What I can do is use an idiot-proof circular loom system to sort of knit, and whatever it is I do, at the end of the day I have a stocking cap.I've advanced to where I can mix colors a little, and use different textures of yarn to add to the effect.I got into this a couple a years ago when my Mormon ward was making hats for homeless people. I got hooked on the project, and I knitted, or loomed, or whatever, hats like a mad thing.Since then I have made hats for my dear bride, the saintly Susan, as well as for some of my grandchildren and a friend or two, but beyond a certain point there is a limit to how many stocking caps one can give away.With the recent arrival of two beautiful new granddaughters, I've had reason to make two more hats, but because the smallest loom I have makes a hat that would utterly swallow a newborn, Adelaide and Emma Jean won't be able to us use "Grandpa's hat" at least until they are 2, or maybe 4 years old.I suppose I could continue to make hats and give them away to strangers, but pretty soon I would be identified as the local "crazy hat guy."Being creative is so much more difficult than being a couch potato, but on the other side of the ledger is the fact nobody ever asked a nonproductive couch potato, "Did you really make that yourself?!"
No-talent couch potato develops talent -- sort of
By Deseret News
Roger H. Aylworth