Friday, May 22, 2020

Crochet Powers Activate!

Here in the UK, it's Mental Health Awareness Week so it's time for my blog to emerge from hibernation to chat a little about how crochet helps me and include some craft related resources too. 

This year's theme is kindness. I am awful at being kind to myself and about the only regular self-care I have is crochet. The chores can wait. My craft is for me. 

With crochet, I have so many choices, not just what yarn to select from my current collection but patterns in books and magazines, my Ravelry library and favourites list... When the rest of life feels limiting, crochet is not. There's always another rabbit hole to dive into, a new technique to learn - what joy. Gosh, I might even knit something.

Crochet makes me feel strong and capable. I can do it! When I pick up a hook, I feel my crochet powers activate. When I wear something I've made, I feel fantastic. But you don't have to be proficient - I've witnessed the same kind of joy from complete beginners I've taught, delighted after producing a few rows of crochet. And when you make that first actual thing, that's recognisable as something - what a feeling!  
Take it one step further and you can even make a difference in the world with Craftivism. 

I am one of the most positive people you know, a natural cheerleader, but I too have flat days and quite often these flat days join up. And it's sometimes scary not knowing when the flatness will lift and I'll be that fun version of me again. But I can still pick up my hook when I feel frozen. Crochet fits in with the flat.

Each project 
reminds me and connects me to cherished people and places that I love - a pattern designed by a friend, yarn I bought on holiday or from my favorite local yarn shop, making a gift for someone or crocheting for a cause. A crochetalong.... I love a crochetalong. Have you done one of those? I'm not alone when I have my hook in hand.

And then, there's the warm, inclusive community - too many to mention individually. I attended my first ever knit and natter event in a local pub in 2011, nine years ago. How fun was that to meet like-minded people and drink West Country cider!? It was a revelation! Craft retreat days, a whole day, what bliss! Attending a retreat was the catalyst to starting my own craft group. Then I have my sweet friends at Nimblefingers in Texas where I taught. Aahhh, I miss y'all. And at AlterKnit Universe in Cleeve, Somerset, where I've been teaching crochet socks since I've returned to Bristol, I've found wonderful people too. We crafty folk encourage and support each other.

In lockdown, we yarn lovers already know how to be slow. We have years' worth of stock-piled yarn in our collection, squirreled away. We are content to be at home, up to a point. Right now crochet bookends my days. It's definitely a mindful habit, all the counting, the repetitive stitches. My current projects are taking my mind outdoors: a glorious flamingo amigurumi reminding me of sightings in the wild on a road trip from Texas to Florida. A stripy tank top (oh yeah, tank tops ARE cool) made from all natural woolly wool from sheep in Moab in Utah and the Isles of Mull and Iona....

Here are some resources, in no particular order: 
5 mindful crochet stitches from the Dora Does blog
A mindful crochet/knitting exercise  on Lynne Rowe's blog
Mindful crochet with Lynne Rowe videos from Black Sheep Wools
Stitchlinks "Wellbeing at your fingertips" research
How crochet heals people from Kathyrn Vercillo's blog
craft+activism = craftivism 
Crochet Luna button badges (including Crochet Powers Activate!) UK USA 

Do let me know if you have any other helpful resources, either comment in my blog or send a message and I'll add them. Take care everyone, I'll see you out there crocheting! 

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