Debi Frankovich was taught to crochet at the age of 9 by her partially-blind grandmother. Crocheting has not only been her hobby for more than 40 years, it has also helped her recover from personal tragedy.
“In 1992, we lost our 6-year-old daughter in an accident,” she said. “Crocheting really got me through it.”
When not crocheting up to six hours a day, she is very involved with both the community and the Evangelical Free Church of Sycamore/DeKalb. She volunteers with the Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois and serves as president of the Kishwaukee Community Hospital Auxiliary Board. She also hosts a prayer shawl group that has sent shawls and scarves to places all over the world, including Africa.
After losing her job as a lab technician last year, a position she held for 30 years, Frankovich became certified as a master crochet instructor by the Craft Yarn Council. After completing the six-month course, Frankovich now teaches classes at Michaels in North Aurora and the Cortland Community Library.
Many of Frankovich’s works will be on display at the DeKalb Area Women’s Center, 1021 State St. in DeKalb, from 7 to 9 p.m. on Fridays until July 26. A special reception is scheduled for 5 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 11.
Frankovich shared some insights about crocheting and her current show recently with MidWeeek reporter Doug Oleson.
MidWeek: I understand you learned crocheting from your grandmother who was partially blind?
Debi Frankovich: Yes, she did it by feel. It was amazing. At the time I could not grasp how she did that, but now 40 years later, I totally understand. ..She passed away about a year and a half after she taught me.
I learned on thread, not yarn. It’s more difficult.
MW: Why did you want to learn in the first place?
DF: I was one of those geeky kids who wasn’t into sports. I read a lot and liked to be by myself.
MW: Have you ever had your own show before?
DF: This is my first.
MW: How did the show come about?
DF: I met (DAWC President) Anna Marie (Coveny) at Kishwaukee College. She heard me talking about crocheting and came over and asked if I wanted to be a guest artist and I said sure.
MW: Having crocheted for so many years, was it hard picking out what to display?
DF: No, but I didn’t know the hall was going to be so big. I picked out some things and went down there. I had to make two more trips to go home for more. All the cases are full.
MW: What’s it like having your own show?
DF: I’m in awe.
MW: What are you going to do at the public reception on Thursday?
DF: I’ll give tours and talk about each case. They all have their own stories.
MW: What is your favorite thing to crochet?
DF: My favorite thing to make is baby clothes. They are so cute and I can make them so fast. I make everything from sweaters to purses to rugs and hats, not just blankets. Crocheting really is an art. You name it, you can make it.
I like any pattern that is a challenge.
MW: And you also teach.
DF: A year ago I was working at my dream job in the health care field. Due to circumstances out of my control, I lost my job. A friend of mine saw that Michaels was looking for a crochet instructor. When I applied, I found out I had to be a Master Cerified Crochet Instructor, which took six months to get certified.
I now teach at Michaels in North Aurora and at Cortland (library) on Wednesday nights. We usually have five or six (at Cortland), but one night we had 19. We never know how many will show up. Crocheting is just my passion. It’s just so soothing and comforting. I want everyone to learn.
MW: Is crocheting hard to learn?
DF: The average student can learn the basics in two hours.