Crochet as therapy is a recurring theme that’s already been explored quite a bit within the crochet community. As for me, I’ve been meaning to write down my own thoughts on it because it’s definitely such a big reason why a lot of people from all walks of life love to crochet, including myself.
It’s no secret that crafts are a place where a lot of us find a simple joy that gives us peace and that can even connect us with our inner child. Crafts can also put you in a state of mind that’s truly comforting. Crochet is no exception.
As a new mom, I find myself reminiscing and reflecting a lot about my childhood. Doing arts and crafts were among my favorite things to do as a little kid: I remember playing with my knitting spool that my Oma got me; I would make long cords that I’d then turn into coasters for my mom’s tea kettle and pans. I also went through a phase where I wanted to be a fashion designer and would draw countless designs on my notebooks. I once sewed a bag out of old denim… As amateur and imperfect as it turned out, I’d still feel proud enough to actually wear it! When we're kids, play is a place of happiness and plain fun. But as we grow older, we lose than relationship with play and have to be intentional about getting it back.
When I started crochet in 2017, I found myself going back to that place of play, of using my hands and having fun for the sake of it. Beyond the fun, I’ve found that the motions in crochet help my mind get in a state of relaxation and creative thinking. Every time I crochet and the “atmosphere” is right (check my tips below!) I experience what I think is the reason why so many of us love this craft: I feel more relaxed, I find purpose and comfort in my little project and, best of all, my brain gets in the zone and in creative thinking mode.
So why is that?
The mechanics of crochet is about repetitive motions. As you insert the hook to work your yarn, you slowly make progress, one stitch at a time, and build each row. Crochet has no shortcuts, and you have to continue working one single stitch at a time, until your work is done.
It turns out, the mind finds this repetition very soothing because it’s the opposite of having to be figuring out all sorts of stimuli that we navigate in our everyday lives. This repetition puts us in a state of relaxation, that in turn triggers a state of creative thinking.
This is to me the ultimate magic of crochet: As you surf this meditative state, you find yourself having new thoughts and ideas that otherwise would not fire at you.
Crochet is also therapeutic in that it can boost your self esteem. Sure, making a scarf or a sweater may, in the grand scheme of things, not feel like much, but it is relevant, because you made it. You put the hours of work, and created something that didn’t exist before, something that just lived in your head. How powerful is that?
Crochet has definitely helped me feel better in moments of sadness or anxiety. After a few years into this art, these are my humble tips to make the most of “crochet as therapy”:
- Don’t forget to breathe while you crochet. Make sure you take full inhales and exhales. Sometimes figuring out stitches or trying to fix things will get your body tense and have you breathing poorly.
- Rest your arms. Crochet is taxing on your arms and wrists, make sure to rest them on pillows while you work to avoid a sore body.
- Take breaks. Crochet can get addictive and the “one more row syndrome” is real, make sure you stop every now and then.
- In my opinion, crochet pairs so well with audio, so next time you’re at it listen to your favorite music (or maybe podcast or audiobook).
- As much as you can, avoid spending a lot of time documenting your work for social media. I am very guilty of doing this, but it totally disrupts getting in the zone.
- Simply be kind to yourself and the progress you’ve made, be it big or small. Try to crochet for the sake of it, and without high expectations. If you make mistakes along the way don’t be hard on yourself, after all it means you’re expanding your skills and getting closer to mastering this craft.