Crochet Saved My Life

UPDATE: Crochet Saved My Life now has its own dedicated website here. You can learn all about the book, see the latest news, read reviews and more.

Want to read my articles about crochet health? Check here.

Cover Photo by Julie Michelle

Crochet saves lives. It saved mine.

About the Book

In the worst throes of depression I found myself sobbing on the bathroom floor, the tip of a kitchen knife pointed into my wrist. I was aching to break the flesh and bring the pain to an end. Through sheer force of will, I pried my own desperate hands open and replaced the knife with a crochet hook. Then I crocheted to save my life.

In this book, you will get to know me through my story of depression and healing. And you will get to know other women as well. You will meet Aurore who crochets to stay in touch with reality as she deals with ongoing psychiatric hallucinations. You will meet Laurie who made a new life with crochet after years of a life filled with abuse. You will meet Tammy whose crochet helps her with the ups and downs of living with Chronic Lyme Disease. You will meet Liza who crochets through the anxiety of having temporary bouts of blindness caused by an undiagnosed health condition.

The two dozen women whose stories are shared in this book are the women who hook to heal. We are not alone. Studies shows that crocheters are numerous; research and anecdotal evidence show that people of all ages, from all walks of life, with all types of health conditions may find healing through their hooks and yarn. Join us on our journey.

The Women Who Shared Their Stories

See the short bios for all of the contributors here

Here are some of the truths these women tell:

  • “When I crochet I don’t think about how my body is now broken; I think about how I can create something beautiful and useful with my hook and either yarn or thread.” -Vicki
  • “When I’m anxious, I feel like a hollow hull. Crocheting helps fill up the void.” – Aurore
  • “I couldn’t pay for therapy, but a few balls of crochet thread cost less than $20 and provided me with many hours of crochet.” – M.K.
  • “The feeling of the yarn and the rhythmic motions produced by crocheting are very quieting and help me regroup, recharge and become reconnected to my inner self amidst turmoil and confusion.” – Aimee
  • “Crochet helps me put my pain on the back burner for a while. It takes my focus away from how I’m feeling and puts it in a more productive place”. – Shelli

Share Your Story

Did crochet help you heal from something? It can help others to know that they aren’t alone so I’m offering the option for people to share their stories on this blog. If you want to do that, here’s what you need to do:
  • Write your story the way you want it to appear on the blog.
  • Email it to me using my contact page.
  • If you want to be anonymous or use a pseudonym instead of your real name, make sure that you say that.
  • If you want people to be able to contact you through a website or email, make sure you include that information.
  • Be aware that it may take a little while for me to review and post your story on the blog.

Order Your Copy!

Crochet Saved My Life: The Mental and Physical Health Benefits of Crochet is available in print or you can buy it on Kindle.

Note to Wholesalers: Crochet Saved My Life is available through distributors like Ingram. It is also sold through Amazon’s CreateSpace page and you can use their Direct Reseller Program to get the wholesale rates through that channel.

Commissions: The author is intersted in working with bookstores, yarn stores and crafters with booths at various events and will consider placing this title on commission. Contact her for more information.

Press Inquiries

Kathryn is currently available for interviews and guest posts. Contact her here to ask questions or to request her digital media kit for this title.

 

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58 Comments:

  1. I cannot wait to read this book! I have fought depression for years, and a diagnosis of cancer pushed me off the cliff to the darkest of places. Then the anxiety and panic attacks decided to join the party! My sister taught me to crochet at 12 but I had not picked up a hook in years. Unable to work, I began to crochet again. It filled a void, and made me find self-worth in the beautiful things I made. When people started to offer to pay me for my work, the light shone just a little brighter. I have a long way to go, my health is slowly returning and my psychiatrist is a great help, but nothing has brought me peace and an inner calm like picking up that hook and my favorite yarn. Thanking you for your courage to share your story!!!

    • @Roberta N Thanks Roberta! I really appreciate you sharing some of your story here. Depression is such a lonely place and although I’m out of the woods now I know that maintaining connections to others in as many ways as possible is a really important part of staying healed. The book will be out in a few weeks and I would love your feedback after reading it!

  2. I’m excited to read this, crochet has helped me so much as well. And it definitely saved me just last week, I crocheted for hours on end to keep myself going, I’m still crocheting up a storm, it really keeps those bad ideas away

  3. @CrochetBlogger can’t wait to read it–especially since crochet helped save my life, too!

    • @edbites Thanks so much! I never could have known when I first picked up the hook just how much it would help me.

  4. This speaks to my heart and soul! I was struck by transverse myelitis in 2006 and left paralyzed, wheel-chair dependent, jobless and away from home. I returned to crocheting, began to design and teach crochet to the other residents of HUD, special-needs highrise. Crocheting gave me a new community when I had lost several others because of this devastating disability. Though impoverished, I could still create useful gifts of beauty, dolls, sculptures. As I lost my other artforms – glass and large scale paper — I took refuge in crochet, and began to learn more, and find a path. So I look forward to reading about others’ journeys. Thank you for gathering and presenting these experiences.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your story Akua! You’ve touched on so many of the things that I’ve heard again and again: crochet connects you to a community, gives you something productive you can do even if you lose the ability to do other things and offers a portable, affordable option for creating. I’m so glad that you not only found crochet but are bringing it to others!

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  6. I just got your book in the mail. The second paragraph of your intro that started ‘Prior to this terrible period’ was ME! All except it had gone on for over 50 years. ..I bless you with all my heart. BigHug

    • @nowvoyager05 Thank you so very much for sharing this. Putting my heart out there with this book is a little bit nerve-wracking. I can’t help but wonder if anyone will be able to relate to what I’ve said. Although I obviously wouldn’t wish what I went through on anyone, I am so glad to know that it touched you. I hope you enjoy the rest of the book!

  7. Just downloaded via Kindle, can’t wait to read it. So happy that this is being shared.

  8. @CrochetKitten Thanks so much for spreading the word about the book. I’m so excited to get it out there!

  9. Kathryn, I was reading through all of your wonderfully inspiring blogs on crochet and healing this week when it suddenly hit me that your new book “Crochet Saved My Life” is the crocheters equivalent of the AA Bible called The Big Book! Most people have heard of the 12 Steps but The Big Book is probably most familiar to AA and NA members. It is an invaluable book that’s been around for many many years. It consists of stories of severe alcoholics who were not only saved but lifted up and redeemed by AA.

    Each story has special meaning for individual members. There is always one story that knocks you off your feet because it’s YOUR story. There are special Big Book meetings where each week another story is read aloud and discussed by members.

    As I read the stories in your book, more than a few hit me so hard that I began to cry. Although I did not write them, I suddenly realized that I was reading my own story. This is a transformative experience. It lets a person who is isolated and in pain know that no matter how difficult their life is there is someone else who suffered as they are suffering and came through on the other side.

    It lets us know that in this “valley of tears” we are not alone. Thank you thank you thank you.

  10. I’m so glad a book on this exact topic has finally been written! I’ve enjoyed reading your blog so I’m looking forward to reading your book too.

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  14. I found out about your book through Sarah London’s blog. I’m a newbie at crochet, but what you describe here is still familiar to me. My experiences aren’t as awful as some mentioned here, but I have lived with depression for a number of years. Last year I was struggling particularly badly with chronic fatigue, and there were many days that I couldn’t do much more than sit on the lounge in front of the TV. I’ve loved cross stitch since I was a young girl, but last year was by far my most prolific period. Doing cross stitch meant I felt that I was productive. Even if I couldn’t do the housework or write an article, at least I was producing something. This year I taught myself to crochet, so now I can produce items that have a function beyond beauty – slippers, blankets, dishcloths, and who knows what else! I’m looking forward to reading your book – I think I will be able to relate in some small way to your stories.

    Hearing about your book also reminded me of this comic written by a friend of mine, from an excellent anthology of comics about depression called Kinds of Blue: http://hivemindedness.com/kindsofblue/knitting_therapy/

    • @Larakate Thank you so much for sharing your story here. You’ve highlighted a key issue for people dealing with depression (as well as many other conditions) which is that you often battle not only the illness but low self-esteem caused by a lack of productivity from the illness. Being able to create beautiful, functional things for yourself, your home and others helps to combat that in a really positive way. I wish you all the best!

  15. Okay, I entered the contests for the giveaway via my blog danidoesdoilies.blogspot.com. Thanks for the opportunity to win your great book!

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  17. I was fortunate to stumble upon your book on Amazon, not realising it has only just come out! I’ve had it 3 weeks, and read it cover to cover.

    Thank you, I am 25 with severe asthma, arthritis and depression, and this has helped me so much in expressing how learning crochet in Jan this year has helped me.

    A fantastic book! Xx

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  24. Thanks for the email! I’m v interested in this book. I’ve enjoyed reading about the contributors. My heart goes out to you all as I’ve been there with depression, and to Aurore, as I’ve also had hallucinations (as part of bipolar)……..btw the linky for the ‘join the maillist’ on this post doesn’t seem to be working- it goes to a 404 message.

    • @HelenaSullivan Warm healing thoughts coming your way as you continue to thrive through bipolar …

      Thanks for the heads up on the link – it appears to be working on my end but I’m going to look into it.

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  27. I’m a knitter not a hooker:) but I really want to read your book. Knitting has seen me through some really rough patches in the last decade +.

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  30. I can’t wait to purchase and read your book. I applaud and commend you for sharing your story and providing a platform for others to share theirs. I have been an avid crocheter since I was eight years old, but crochet has really become extra important and meaningful for me in the last fifteen years or so (I’m 35), as it has been instrumental in my equipping myself to be able to deal with my bipolar disorder. Had it not been for crochet, I truly believe I would not have progressed anywhere near as far as I have with my illness. I won’t relate my story here but just wanted you to know how great it is to know that there are others in similar situations whose lives have also been saved by crochet.

    • Thank you so much for sharing this with me and my readers. It is always wonderful to hear how crochet is helping others. Keep at it and keep in touch!

  31. Hi everyone out there, I have wool, hooks, needles and I have the book of How Crochet saved My Life, and I still cannot start working, I don’t know what I am doing really….. I guess I am feeling sorry for myself and feel pretty stupid for doing this .. e mail! I mean, I have ME and I am worn out I have other problems but it is the ME that has got me this time.. anyone with tips would be welcome, Les.

  32. I’ve often said, “Crocheting was cheaper than a psychiatrist.” and I thought I was alone with this knowledge. I can see now that I was not the only crocheter who found the calm and prideful satisfaction that came from crochet. Now, those rough times are behind me and I still crochet.
    Thank you for posting your story, and it is wonderful to know that my solution was common to many others.

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  34. Just came across your blog. Very inspiring and encouraging, to say the least. Crochet has been with me for many years, and has certainly been there for me through some rough times in my life, including breast cancer surgery, chemo, radiation and a few bad bouts of depression.. However, one rough time is particularly important to me.
    Years ago I was desperate to quit smoking. I was prone to severe bronchitis and had just had a horrible few weeks of coughing, gagging, etc. I was smoking nearly 3 packs a day and it cost a fortune. I went to a hypnotist for a one-session cure. I felt like I had to quit smoking at least for the equivalent amount of money that the hynotist cost – or that was my reasoning at the time. I had stashed a pattern for a blanket made of scrap yarns – and I started crocheting this double bed size single crochet blanket for my daughter. I worked on this for hours a day (at home with small children) and eventually finished two of them. By the time I put my hook down, I was pretty sick of the this mindless crochet project – even though the blankets were lovely and full of color and delight – but I WAS NOT SMOKING. Alleluia!

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  36. I just purchased the book from Amazon for my Kindle.Looking forward to reading it.

  37. Cathy the Bagg Lady I do hope that you enjoy it!

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  39. hello, for some reason I have never seen or heard of this book, what an incredible book. I have fought with depression for many years, I have back issues so I no longer work. I have ALWAYS worked so needless to say, I was lost. I gave up on the work at home jobs, they are a joke… A friend of mine brought to my attention that our local hospitals could always use very soft hats, cocoons etc for the babies in neonatal unit. I now work on that during the day. It doesn’t pay money but the pay I get back is priceless. Thank you for sharing this post. Best wishes to all of you. Lisa

    • Hi Lisa,

      Thanks so much for your message. I’m so glad that you’ve found crochet as a way to work through depression. Many hugs of support in your journey!

      Kathryn

  40. I always thought I’m stupid for thinking that something silly like crocheting saves me on a daily basis…
    I haven’t read your book yet, but just knowing that I’m not alone makes me cry in relief. Thank you so much!

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  • Image of Cover for Crochet Saved My Life

    Crochet Saved My Life tells my story of how crafting healed me from chronic depression. It also shares the stories of 24 other amazing women who hooked to heal. Read the book today!