This interview was originally published in an issue of my newsletter. Everyone who donates at least $1 / monthly to Crochet Concupiscence through Patreon receives a copy of the newsletter.
Erica Dawn learned to crochet when she was a young child, about the age of six. Her grandmother had taught her the basics, but she lost interest in it fairly quickly. Then, about five years ago, that same grandmother passed away on the night of her 93rd birthday. Erica picked up the hook again to help her deal with the loss. In this interview, she shares that experience and how crochet has helped.
I’m so sorry that you lost your grandmother. What would you like to share about that?
The last thing that my grandmother said to me was, “that was the best birthday I ever had”. She had just turned 93 and she died that night. I missed her so much. I began to crochet again as a way to keep her memory alive. It was always a way to keep her close to me. It was almost as if she was there crocheting with me even though she had passed away. I always felt so calm and relaxed when crocheting because I could feel her presence there. This really helped me to deal with losing her.
Does crochet continue to help you?
Of course. It is still a very calming force for me. My mind is always running a million miles per minute but crochet forces me to concentrate and focus on just one thing. That helps me to center myself and become more balanced emotionally. The number one reason why I crochet today is because it calms my cluttered mind.
What types of things to do you like to crochet?
I really enjoy making projects that I already know and am comfortable with. I like repetitive projects that feel therapeutic. I do sometimes get in a mood when I feel like a challenge, and that can be good, but often it reminds me of why I stick to those repetitive projects! I don’t want my crochet to feel like a chore. I really enjoy making projects for other people. I crochet for friends, family and to donate to charities.
Do you ever crochet for yourself?
Once in a very rare while I will find a yarn that I simply adore and I’ll get an overwhelming urge to make something for myself. One favorite example is a Native American inspired shawl that I created. My heritage is Native American so I feel deeply connected to the arts and crafts of the culture. I had never made any kind of shawl before and decided that if I was going to I wanted it to be really special. That one was for me.
Have you seen crochet help anyone else?
Yes! I have taught a few friends how to crochet and one of them has gotten so good at it that she is now selling her work to make supplemental income. She suffers from heart and kidney ailments that are potentially life-threatening, and understandably there are some days when she feels so hopeless. But she says that crochet helps her to feel a sense of self-worth and accomplishment despite her disabilities.
Do you consider yourself part of a craft community?
Yes, in some ways. I am usually alone when I am crocheting and consider it a form of “ME” time, but I have crocheted with friends. I participate in online groups through Facebook and YouTube and find that sometimes it is really nice to have the company, whether it is real or virtual. Other times I prefer to just be alone with my thoughts and my cats while I crochet! Usually I’ll be in the living room on the couch and I’ll have either television or music playing in the background while I craft. Sometimes I’ll change it up and turn on a podcast or listen to talk radio.
What do you enjoy besides crochet?
I really like listening to music, spending time cuddling with my two cats and occasionally visiting with friends. I also do a number of other crafts including beading, leather work, painting and drawing. You name it and I’ve probably done it and likely still do!
What is one thing that you have learned about crochet that you can pass along to us?
I have arthritis and sometimes it can be hard on the hands but it’s all about how you hold your yarn and hook! I had to learn the hard way that there really are right ways to do each. Once I learned the proper ways to hold the materials, I found that I had very little arthritis trouble while crocheting. In fact, I’ve actually found that the pain in my hands has decreased significantly since I started crochet on a regular basis.