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!

“Changing global health one stitch at a time”

The Craft Yarn Council has launched a new initiative dedicated to increasing awareness about the health effects of knitting and crocheting. We love the idea that simply doing an activity we enjoy can put us on the road to better mental and physical health.

crochet apple
A row a day keeps the doctor away

In their article, “The Truth About Knitting and Crochet,” the Craft Yarn Council describes the increased popularity of crafting for health purposes by saying, “Famous for its relaxing, meditative qualities, knitting increasingly is being used in hospitals, clinics, schools and even prisons to help people lead healthier, happier lives.”

The article goes on to describe the variety of ailments that can be reduced by knitting or crocheting, explaining, “Knitters ascribe all manner of benefits to their craft… everything from alleviating depression, anxiety and pain to reducing boredom and the discomfiting effects of isolation.” They even describe how crafting can improve math skills, saying “Knitting also involves following and recognizing patterns, learning new stitches and using both hands and math, lending it the capacity to improve fine motor skills while also keeping the mind active and engaged. The Waldorf Schools, for example, teach children to knit before teaching them to read in the belief that knitting develops dexterity, focus and rudimentary arithmetic”

How has crafting benefited your health? We’d love to hear your stories, so feel free to share here on our blog or on the Love of Knitting or Love of Crochet Facebook pages.

American Heart Month and the health benefits of crafting

February is American Heart Month, so we’re here to give you kudos for regularly participating in a heart healthy activity: crafting! We know that crafting is a wonderful way to reduce stress, and the calming effect it provides improves our heart health as well. Carolyn Serviss, a stamping artist and blogger, wrote an inspiring post about the health benefits of crafting. In her article she says, “Passion for a craft keeps you interested, while the rhythmic and repetitive nature confers the mind-body benefit. Knitting, sewing, crocheting, woodworking and other rhythmic crafts are great choices.”

heart yarn

She also explains the importance of making time for your crafty hobbies. She quotes Dr. Robert Reiner, a psychologist who studied the health benefits of leisure activities, saying, “View your craft as if it were a medication that you need to take every day for optimal benefit. If you stop taking the drug or doing the craft, you’ll lose the benefit.”

With that in mind, we challenge you to take some time to knit or crochet every day for the rest of February (if you don’t already), and we hope this helps you form a habit that  continues beyond American Heart Month. If anyone tries to distract you from this goal, just tell them you’re following doctor’s orders!

Knitting and Crochet Inspiration

Inspiring Articles About Knitting and Crochet

Just in time for the weekend, we wanted to share a few fun links to articles from around the web to give you a dose of crafting inspiration. Enjoy!

Kids and Crafting: Crafting can be a fun way to connect with your kids and encourage their creativity, but battling the constant mess can be a struggle for parents. In this article, Joan Sampley talks about how she learned to cope with all the crafting clutter.

Knitting During a Hurricane: One writer describes her experience knitting during Hurricane Sandy and talks about her latest inspiration, the knit designer Kaffe Fassett, among other fascinating topics.

A Knitted Fence: With gorgeous photographs, Kate Davies shows off a knitted fence made with black twine in a Shetland lace design. It looks beautiful next to the pretty flowerbed. So imaginative and creative!

On Crochet and Postpartum Depression: On some level, every knitter and crocheter understands how helpful our hobbies can be for our own mental health. In this post, Rachel talks about how crochet helped her get through postpartum depression. Turning to a hobby she loved helped her to relax and let go of anxious thoughts.

A Clock That Knits: Norwegian designer Siren Elise Wilhelmsen created a clock that knits one stitch every hour, making a two-meter long scarf each year. It’s her way of representing “the nature of time in a different way.” An video interview is included with this article as well.