Crafting, of any form, is the most fantastic therapy. It helps focus your mind, calm it down when it is spinning around, teaches you to pace yourself, is something to get ‘right’ when everything else seems ‘wrong’, soothes you when you’re in pain, gives you something positive when things might seem bleak. Craft is the best therapist you can access from anywhere.
Several years ago a friend promised to teach me how to knit when I got out of hospital. And indeed she did. She knocked on my door, she had a bag full of yarn and needles. We drank tea whilst she taught me (largely doing it herself, it must be said, for I was rather hopeless at first) how to cast on, and got me going, just with knit stitch, forwards and backwards, on that knitters typical first project – a never ending scarf. It was a scarf for LittleCrafter, and although it is now too small, I have kept it, because it was the very first thing I ever made – at least correctly and that had a use.
From there, I taught myself some more when it came to knitting, and then taught myself to crochet. A friend had tried to teach me once before but it had been like a foreign language. It is really. I might now read “HDC 2Tog BLO” and know what it means, but that’s just a whole jumble of letters if you are not used to it. But having made some sense of knitting, at least on a basic level, I didn’t feel so intimidated by the language of crochet, nor was I quite so scared of interacting with yarn. And so, with a book, a crochet hook, some yarn and a YouTube tutorial, with lots of pausing and shouting “WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN” inside my head, I began to make sense of crochet. It took a fair while to make full sense of it, and for a long while I didn’t go beyond granny squares, and even now it’s still one of the most relaxing patterns to fall back on.
I love learning new techniques and trying new patterns, but you do find a selection of patterns you can do without (much) referring back. I have a favourite beret, chunky hat, baby blanket, large size blanket and – now – scarf pattern. All of which I could start off today without needing to more than glance at the pattern become they have become second nature.
Maybe that shows I only stick to easy patterns, but there is something to be said for comfort patterns. The ability to lose yourself in the beautiful balance between brain engagement and switching off, all whilst making something come out of it, is delightful. Even having been a crocheter for several years now, even the idea of crocheting is both relaxing and exciting all at once.
I finished my WIP today and I now have the difficult decision between which project I should pay a little bit of attention to until I get bored and start making something else. Though more seriously I always have a “take around” project that goes in the back of my wheelchair, which is always some kind of simple pattern so I don’t have to carry around much information to go with it.
I’m planning on working on a poncho next although I will almost certainly also start another scarf as a carry around project. I also have two blankets on the go, and my all reliable squares for when I need them.
Crafting has kept me going during many dark periods in my life, and now during this period of everything having hit the fan with my health, crafting therapy is wonderfully sanity saving.
Here’s to yarn.