Your thoughts – why you love to crochet

Last week, we asked you to tell us one of the many reasons you love to crochet. Since today is the last day of National Crochet Month, we want to share a few answers from our fellow crafters.

crochet heartsJoan likes how each project, “becomes an original exclusive, ” and we agree that the fun of making a unique, handmade item is truly amazing.

Virginia finds it, “a wonderful way to relax, as the more my hands and arms move, the more problems I work out in my mind.” This is so true, and we love that research is now proving what we crafters have known all along.

Paula says, “I feel a great sense of accomplishment after I figure out a stitch or finish a project, and I’m so proud when I give handmade gifts to my family & friends.” Crocheters are always so generous with their finished projects, and it’s wonderful to think about your family and friends loving and using something you made by hand.

Kim says, “I get to be part of a tradition and culture that has stood the test of time, and I get to be part of a community of like minded individuals who do the same.” The bond we feel with crocheters throughout history and today really brings us together and keeps us connected to our past.

We received many inspiring and thoughtful responses, so we invite you to take a moment to read all of them. If you wrote a comment telling us why you love to crochet, check to see if you were randomly chosen as one of our prize winners!

National Crochet Month was truly a blast for us, and we hope you had as much fun as we did. Our passion for crochet is not limited to one month of the year, but it’s fun to take a few weeks to really celebrate this creative and beautiful craft.

Your brain on crafts

knit hat meditating
The effects of crafting are similar to meditation

We love talking about how crafting positively impacts our health, and it seems that more research about the benefits of crafting is being published every day. CNN recently published an article titled “This is your brain on knitting,” describing many ways crafting contributes to good mental health. These findings are truly fascinating, even if we crafters are only using them to justify finishing “one more row.”

Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes flow as, “a few moments in time when you are so completely absorbed by an activity that nothing else seems to matter. Flow, Csikszentmihalyi says, is the secret to happiness — a statement he supports with decades of research.” Do you ever get so absorbed in your craft that you eventually glance at the clock and realize that hours have passed by in an instant? If so, you have achieved a state of flow, and you probably felt a great sense of satisfaction afterwards.

Jacque Wilson writes, “Crafting also improves our self-efficacy, Levisay says, or how we feel about performing particular tasks. Psychologists believe a strong sense of self-efficacy is key to how we approach new challenges and overcome disappointments in life. So realizing you can, in fact, crochet a sweater for your nephew can help you tackle the next big paper your teacher assigns.” Do you feel like you can take on the world after you’ve mastered a tricky technique or finished a complicated pattern? Take that feeling and apply it to anything else in life! Something may be difficult at first, but after some practice (and perhaps a few mistakes, AKA learning experiences) you’ll be on your way to becoming an expert.

How does crafting make you feel? Do you feel like you can accomplish anything, or do you feel a profound sense of happiness? If you crochet, take a moment to tell us why you love it and you’ll be entered to win a fun prize package!

Enter to win a fun PRIZE by telling us why you love crochet!

National Crochet Month is almost over, and we want to end it with a bang! In addition to the weekly National Crochet Month Giveaways we’ve been featuring, we would like to give you all one more chance to win a fun, crafty prize package from Love of Crochet.

crochet heart

Leave a comment below telling us why you love to crochet. We will randomly choose 2 commenters as our winners, so feel free to share this giveaway with your friends. We’re excited to hear the variety of reasons you all love crochet!

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram as well because we will share our final National Crochet Month giveaway post of 2014 on Friday! Good luck!

The Snuggles Project – Handmade blankets for homeless animals

Since we recently celebrated National Puppy Day, a day for recognizing man’s best friend and encouraging people in the market for pets to adopt, we would like to introduce you to a wonderful charity dedicated to helping and comforting animals in shelters. The Snuggles Project is affiliated with Hugs for Homeless Animals, and they provide donated handmade blankets to shelter animals around the world.

dog and cat with yarn

The simple gift of a blanket means so much to cats and dogs in shelters. They are physically and mentally comforted by the softness and warmth, and they seem to sense the love and thought that went into each stitch. When the animals feel more at ease, they show off the happy, tail-wagging side of their personalities and are more likely to get adopted.

To donate a knit or crocheted blanket, take it to a participating shelter (look for the kitten icon) with a completed Snuggles Donation Form. This program is an inspiring way to make a difference in the life of a shelter animal even if you’re not looking for a pet.

Crochet Along–The other side

My Raspberry Tart Scarf from our Winter 2013 Issue is almost finished!

For my first pattern, albeit an easy one, this scarf is moving along quite smoothly. Once you get the stitch pattern down, you definitely get into a rhythm. I’ve worked up to row 2 on the other side of the scarf, and it looks awesome!

Row6_Closeup_Side1_CAM00117I have noticed that I refer back to the chart more often than reading the pattern itself. I’ve noticed this when I have wanted new stitch patterns too. I find it seems easier for me to use charts more often than the pattern itself, although I definitely use them in conjunction with one another. Do you have a preference?

Also, since I have been following this pattern, I realized it might actually be easy to follow other patterns as well. Did I just say that?

How is your scarf coming along? Comment here or share on Facebook or Twitter! I’m in the home stretch so I hope to finish it in the next week.

Also, don’t forget to check out our Spring 2014 Issue hitting newsstands on March 25. Lots of gorgeous projects you don’t want to miss!

Changing the world one stitch at a time!

We love how all handmade objects make a statement. Many times that statement is about love, generosity, or creativity, but some crafters are taking the expressive nature of their skills to another level. By using their craft to share political opinions, make a comment about society, or take a stand on specific issues, knitters and crocheters are making their voices heard.

Writer Betsy Greer coined the term “craftivism” back in 2003, explaining that, “craftivism is the practice of engaged creativity, especially regarding political or social causes.” While her book, “Knitting for Good!: A Guide to Creating Personal, Social, and Political Change, Stitch by Stitch,” definitely spread the word about this idea, people have been expressing their opinions and helping to shape the world through craft for many years.

The roots of craftivism go deep into our history (think about Betsy Ross!), and we continue to be inspired by the variety of ways people express themselves through craft. Crafting gives us a surprising amount power because its beauty and appeal encourages others to look closer and examine what each piece is all about.

What statements to your handmade items make? Whether they are meaningful yarn bombs, thoughtful gifts, beautiful garments, or selfless projects made for charity, we can’t deny that knitting and crocheting give us another wonderful outlet to express ourselves.

Celebrate National Crochet Month with a new book

What better way to celebrate National Crochet Month than by learning some new skills and techniques? Take advantage of our 15% off sale and get one (or more!) of these helpful books to get started.

Learn to crochet socksDid you think that socks were only for knitters? Crocheters can get in on the fun too with Learn to Crochet Socks for the Family! Learn to make several different styles of socks, and soon you’ll find yourself making them for everyone you know. Socks work up quickly and they are always a welcome gift, so grab your copy of this book today!

Tunisian crochet baby blanketsDive into Tunisian crochet by making a simple yet impressive baby blanket. Tunisian Crochet Baby Blankets will teach you the basics of this fun crochet variation. Once you’ve mastered the stitches, make one of these 8 stunning designs for a little one in your life. There is no need to limit yourself to baby blankets because the patterns in this handy guide will make beautiful afghans too.

Filet afghansSpeaking of afghans, Filet Afghans features beautiful blanket patterns using simple filet crochet. You can create an entire world of designs using this easy technique, and this book includes charts for basic designs as well as more intricate ones.

What new crochet skills are you eager to learn? We love hearing what you’re making and learning, so visit us on Facebook to let us know. Don’t forget – we will be featuring giveaways in honor of National Crochet Month every Friday in March, so follow us on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram as well to quadruple your chances of winning!