Isabel Bushway crochets as the world unravels

Sarah Gantt

Isabel Bushway ’23 uses crocheting as a connection to her mother, an escape from reality and a way to give gifts to others. Photo courtesy of Isabel Bushway.

“Exciting, colorful, relaxing.”

These are three words Isabel Bushway ’23 used to describe her crocheting obsession. She first learned to crochet in middle school, but quarantine has given her the opportunity to take her craft to the next level. 

When she was younger, Bushway’s piano teacher offered her “piano bucks” for learning scales and songs, and she used her money to buy a learn-to crochet book. 

Crocheting connects Bushway to her mom: Both are crafty, so they often sit together and watch a show, her mom knitting while Bushway crochets. The craft helps her relax after a long day. By crocheting, Bushway has become more patient and organized — patient because she often has to unravel her work when she finds an earlier mistake, and organized because she plans her projects far in advance. “For every project, I have to make sure I have enough yarn of the right type.” 

It’s no surprise that her Mission dorm room this past year always overflowed with yarn. On campus, Bushway is known for leaving a trail of yarn wherever she goes. She crocheted too much this past winter, leading to an overuse injury in her wrist. Her friends and family encouraged her to wear her brace and take a break from crocheting, something that was hard for Bushway. She decided to pick up knitting instead. 

Bushway crocheted scrunchies as parting gifts for seniors on the swim and dive team and JAs when the College announced the transition to remote learning in March. Photo courtesy of Isabel Bushway.

During the pandemic, crochet projects are Bushway’s escape from a world that is quickly unraveling. At Williams, she often crocheted gifts, including cow-print headbands for teammates and friends and cow hats for an entry mate and her WOOLF leader. A few months ago, she made scrunchies for her JAs and the seniors on the swim and dive team. She added that, in quarantine, she is “also making a ton more scrunchies for different gifts for next year.” 

Quarantine has provided her with the time and space to complete more ambitious projects. For instance, Bushway created a large, colorful blanket for her dorm room next year. Each row is a different pattern and color. “After leaving school, I found it hard to look forward to doing anything,” she said. “So I started to make a large blanket with all the colors in it. I was so excited about making and finishing the blanket. I looked forward to crocheting every day.”

Bushway crocheted this blanket as a way to motivate herself during the pandemic. Photo courtesy of Isabel Bushway.

While on campus, Bushway enjoyed watching Love is Blind with her pick group and crocheting. She misses crocheting around friends, but Bushway has not lost the social aspect of her craft. Like many of us, she spends more time on FaceTime than previously thought possible, which, of course, she does while crocheting. Bushway also crochets and watches Netflix; she recently completed Parks and Rec and Lucifer

Most recently, Bushway has branched out and experimented with other art forms: cross-stitching, cookie-decorating and most notably, Bob Ross painting. She FaceTimes her neighbor while they do the Bob Ross tutorials together. “I have been baking bread along with everyone else stuck in quarantine,” she added. Nothing, however, will replace her love and devotion to crocheting.