The Dart: Turnage crochets for children, grandchildren

Published 9:05 am Monday, June 18, 2007

NATCHEZ — For Janice Turnage, the threads she uses to crochet connect her to family.

In her teenage years, Turnage, who now lives at 127 Miranda Drive in Vidalia, learned to crochet from her mother.

“My mother crocheted, my grandmother crocheted — all my female mentors have been crocheters,” Turnage said. “My mom’s 87, and she still crochets.”

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These days, Turnage creates everything from tablecloths to bedspreads for her children and grandchildren. One of her biggest achievements, she said, was crocheting a bedspread for each of her children.

“I’m proud that all seven of my kids have something to remember me by when I’m long gone,” she said.

Since it takes her about a year to complete a bedspread, Turnage was a little nervous she might not get everyone’s finished.

“I was sweating it until I got the last one done,” she said.

Turnage has tried passing on the art she learned from her mother to her children, but it didn’t take.

“One of my daughters knits, but they’re all busy, and crocheting takes time,” she said.

When her children played sports, she started bringing her crocheting with her in a picnic basket. Whether she’s riding in the car or waiting at a doctor’s appointment, she brings the basket.

“People who know me always look for the picnic basket,” she said.

Often, she gets quizzical stares from those around her if she’s working on a piece.

“People are always curious about what you’re doing,” she said.

Whether talking or watching television, Turnage crochets, carrying on the family tradition and making heirlooms for the younger generations.

“People always tell you idle hands are the devil’s workshop, and mine are never idle,” she said.