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There are many reasons that I enjoy my crochet time. Stress management is certainly one of the many benefits that I derive from this wonderful hobby. Welcome to My Crochet Stories and the beginning of my journey using crochet for stress management. In this section of the blog I share personal insights about crochet and my life experiences. I was once a crochet beginner. Now I teach other beginners how to crochet and cheer them on as they build crochet skills.
A Stress-Free Crochet Novice
My mother taught me to crochet at a young age. I was probably 8 or 9 years old when I first started with a crochet hook and some scraps of yarn. Early attempts at crochet resulted in stitching, frogging, stitching, frogging and stitching again.
Perhaps your beginning was the same?
However, each trial resulted in an improvement of technique and consistency of the stitches.
These earlier years were the beginning of my crochet stories that I share with everyone I meet. The consistent focus is how I learned the techniques and it was certainly not instant success. In those days, crochet was a joyful hobby and there was little need for stress management.
Through the years, the situation changed dramatically.
Make new mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. ~ Neil Gaiman
Restful Crochet Times
As I became more proficient with my crocheting, I challenged myself to do more. As a teen, I crocheted pillow covers, explored Filet Crochet and experimented with Crochet Graphs, which is a fun way to turn photos into crochet art.
As I gained confidence, I created crocheted afghans and crochet blankets from patterns (mostly Ripple Stitch designs, now known as the Chevron Stitch) and along the way, I learned so much about the art, science, and history of creating versatile textiles with just a few hand movements.
The rhythm of crochet – right, left, right, left – was soothing and eased my anxiety about the future as I made courageous choices for my education and career.
For me, there are many emotional benefits from crocheting. Some individuals crochet for stress management, and others have found that crochet can help heal physical limitations, increase brain function, and even moderate the impacts of depression. It’s a chaotic world. Crochet helps.
The Next 30 Years of Stress Management
In due time, i finished high school and moved to college, taking my crochet hobby with me. During college, crochet projects were essential to keep me focused. I would crochet while reading my textbooks or doing memorization work for tests. Crochet became a stress management tool for coping with insecurities and indecision.
My first salaried position was at a corporate office about 500 miles from home. Dallas, Texas became my second home. I was eager for the future, but blazing a path alone. In the years that followed, I dealt with job frustrations, job insecurity, and career pivots by crocheting. Sometimes, I designed little patterns (that I never bothered to write down).
Friendships established and friendships dissolved, still, I crocheted. The hobby that my mother had taught me gave considerable peace.
Easy comfort surfaced in the rhythm of the hook and thread as my fingers moved gently and creatively.
Traumatic Brain Injury
In October 2000, I tumbled, quite ungracefully, and suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) while in my home, alone. It was a few hours after a dental surgery, and I was weak and woozy. Some ramifications of the concussion remain with me today, but thankfully diminished.
The fall caused some brain programming errors to occur and for the next 24 months, I was on a determined path. It was important to reboot the failed system and put the mental filing cabinet in some semblance of order.
It’s a judgement call on whether I succeeded or not. Time unravels differently for me now, and the experience changed my personality, softening my own reactions to the obstacles that many face each day.
During the worst of the concussion days, I crocheted.
Looking back, I see how crochet carried me through these difficult and challenging times. Crochet was also a budget-friendly hobby. I continued practicing new designs and created handmade baby afghans as my friends became parents and cuddled their growing families. On many occasions, I experimented with colors and stitch combinations, and regret that I didn’t take the time to document the process, progress, and outcomes.
First principle: never to let one’s self be beaten down by persons or by events. ~ Marie Curie
Senior Days and Sharing Crochet Therapy
It’s my birthday month. Half of a century of crochet as a hobby. Wow.
Seems like a really long time when phrased in that manner, but in my heart, it feels like yesterday.
As I inch towards my sixth decade, crochet is still with me. Other hobbies have flamed through the years, but eventually burned out. Not so with crochet.
The CGOA (Crochet Guild of America) provides resources for continuous education. This organization forces me to be constantly “sharpening the ax” and gaining new skills – in a warmly encouraging environment with a network of like-minded crafting friends. I’ve attended two of the CGOA national conferences (2015 in San Diego, California and 2016 in Charleston, South Carolina). Due to a scheduling conflict with my corporate job, I wasn’t able to attend for the past few years but 2020 will be held in New Orleans. That’s a short drive from my home and I’m making plans already.
The national conference is like a personal retreat for me. I can shop at the vendor booths and choose my level of engagement in the various classes and activities. I’ve found that spending time at a crochet retreat heals me soul and gives me time for a pause on life’s worries.
Planning a crochet retreat is manageable too, with these essential steps for planning a crochet retreat. I’ve even turned a vacation trip on a cruise ship into a crochet cruise, with a bit of advance planning.
Locally, I’ve been teaching individuals and small groups. I seek out opportunities to donate completed items to various charities, These are a few ways that I can pay forward in return for the many ways that crochet has enriched my life.
Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure. ~ Paulo Coelho
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