Port Lavaca matriarch shares love of crocheting

Jennifer Lee Preyss By Jennifer Lee Preyss

Nov. 3, 2013 at 5:03 a.m.
Updated Nov. 4, 2013 at 5:04 a.m.

Nancy Evans, 62, of Port Lavaca, stands with her knitted scarfs at the 42nd annual Arts, Crafts, Antiques Festival.

Nancy Evans, 62, of Port Lavaca, stands with her knitted scarfs at the 42nd annual Arts, Crafts, Antiques Festival.

PORT LAVACA - Nancy Evans peered Sunday over racks and hangers of thousands of her crochet designs and picked up a handmade infant's outfit.

The soft canary hues of the yarn sparkled through the jacket, hat and matching bloomers.

"To me, it looks a little more boyish," said Evans, 62, who has been crocheting the outfits by memory for the past 40 years. "How I remember the pattern, I don't know, but I have it down by heart now."

Evans, of Port Lavaca, showed her items at the 42nd annual Arts, Crafts, Antiques Festival by the Bay at the Bauer Center.

Along with dozens of other Texas vendors, selling anything from canned items to homemade bird baths, Evans, owner of Heavenly Crafts and More, showcased thousands of her specialty crochets, including pot holders, dish rags, Christmas stockings, baby blankets and booties.

"It's kind of like an art because even though you make it over and over, each time you make it, it comes out different," she said. "It's my way of being artistic. It's the only thing I'm good at."

Evans said she started crocheting when her daughter, Jennifer Villarreal, was born 40 years ago.

"My sister started doing it, and I thought if she could do it, I could do it," she said.

The first item Evans attempted was a failure, however.

"I tried to make a doily to sit under my TV," she said. "It turned out way too big, and I ended up using it on my table."

More than 10,000 attempts later, she has mastered crocheting, and her work continues to be sold around the world in Germany, Canada and Ireland, among other countries.

Evans' love for crocheting has now trickled down two more generations.

Villarreal and her four daughters have all learned to crochet.

Evans even handmade a wedding gown and two bridesmaids' dresses for her granddaughter, Billie Johnston, when Johnston married about a year ago.

"I think I will actually have a panic attack if anything happens to that dress," Johnston, 17, said.

But Villarreal said her mother is the crocheting grand dame of the family. Her talents with needle and yarn are unmatched by any she's seen.

"I'm not nearly as talented as my mother, and no one really is," Villarreal said. "It's been great to grow up with someone who sews and crochets because when I have a question, I can ask her, and if she doesn't like the pattern, she'll just start doing her own."

Evans said crocheting is an activity that soothes her, one that allows her mind to drift to another place altogether.

She loves it so much that she said she'll be crocheting on her death bed.

"If I'm still breathing, I'll be crocheting," she said.



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