Coaching Moments: Strands


by Janice Hunter

“Quite simply, crochet feeds the human need for balance in our lives. Making something with our hands reflects something basic about ourselves. We want to work hard without losing touch with our creative selves; we want to earn money without losing our souls; and we want to be part of a larger picture of human progression while still maintaining our individuality.” ~ Vickie Howell

Connecting with other coaches is a joy. Even in my years away from the IAC, I’d be constantly writing notes for imaginary Coaching Moments articles, seeing symbols, mixed metaphors and moments of inspiration everywhere; in the kitchen, the supermarket, the cinema, the garden in spring, by the sea in Greece or sitting by the fire on a long winter’s evening with some crochet.

I used to watch my mum crocheting when I was a wee girl and I thought it was magical. I never got over the wonder of watching how one strand of wool could grow into a blanket.

My mum taught me the basic stitches, but I had no urge to crochet again until a few years ago, when I decided to make my daughter a granny blanket to take to university. Looking back, it was a bit unhinged of me to start with something so big, but that’s when the coaching subtly kicked in and wove itself through the whole blanket.

It all started with a feeling, a vision, then a plan I could break down into manageable steps that were specific, measurable and time-bound. I realised I wanted my daughter to have something totally unique and vibrant, just like she is, something warm and cosy to remind her of home.

To be honest, I also wanted her to look at the blanket and remember a brighter more creative me, not the depressed, chauffeuring shadow of myself I’d become during the clashes of her turbulent teenage years.

Using just fifteen colours, I decided that every square in the blanket would be different: that’s a brain-boggling amount of separate colour combinations, but I wanted to remind her that even though we have lots in common with other folk, it’s our own combination of colours that makes us special.

As she watched, curious one evening, I showed her how a stitch is simply one strand of wool shaped by intention and built with love, repetition and patience, a series of small and steady steps that follow a pattern. It’s a soothing rhythm, a dance of hand, hook and wool, of winding and returning, letting go and securing, of growing one row, slowly and steadily, from what’s gone before, like a life or a dream.

I’m not a great crocheter, so I have to concentrate on what I’m doing; I can’t mind-travel or I miss things and can end up having to undo hours of work, winding back the wool into a snaggy, tangled mess. If I dwell on past mistakes, the soothing pleasure of the present moment dissipates. Crochet anchors me firmly in a Now full of brightly coloured balls of wool.

Luckily, granny squares are fairly simple for beginners. They’re made up of two types of stitch; add multiples of one and you get a chain; group three of the other type together, and you get a cluster. And there, in the background, running through everything, are the loops and holes, the empty spaces that are as vital to the pattern as the strands are. 

Add rounds of different colours in the same stitch and the square grows. Have fun playing around with colours, see what works and what doesn’t, stitch each square to its neighbour, tie off and weave in the loose ends, and before you know it, you have a blanket – a triumph of small, patient steps, a symbol of differences united, uniqueness celebrated and a vision greater than the sum of its parts.

Like a family.

Like the combination of skills, techniques and life-strands woven into every synergistic coaching session.

Like a coaching association made up of people from all over the world, people united by a common vision.


unnamed Janice Hunter IAC-MMC lives in Scotland and created the ‘Coaching Moments’ column to share her journey towards  – and beyond – IAC certification. Her free 83-page compilation ebook, ‘Coaching Moments: A Collection of Articles about Coaching in Everyday Life‘ can be downloaded from her site,

She also created and co-wrote Sharing the Certification Journey: Six IAC Coaches Talk About Their Journeys, which is an IAC Members’ benefit.

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