crochet to calm book

Mandy O’Sullivan of RedAgape and Craft as Therapy has written a beautiful introduction to the book Crochet to Calm, writing in part that crochet is, “an underutilized form of therapy that can produce real stress reduction and management”. I mulled over this line for a few moments, asking myself if it is truly underutilized … and I came to the conclusion that the answer is both yes and no. And furthermore, that this book is an important one.

Crochet For Calming

Since publishing Crochet Saved My Life in 2012, I have seen a huge surge in the understanding that crochet is a form of therapy, interviewing countless people about how it has helped them and learning about a number of counseling groups that offer knitting and crochet in a therapeutic setting. In 2014 I ran a crochet health survey that received more than 10,000 responses. People were asked about the benefits of crochet that they had experienced. The number one answer by far was that people are using crochet to help them with stress or the need for relaxation. 89% of those surveyed had benefited from crochet. Those responses come from a question where multiple answers could be selected. When asked to choose only the number 1 health benefit experienced rom crochet, the top answer was again calming / relaxing / stress reduction, which was the answer that 46% of respondents chose.

crochet pouf pattern in crochet to calm

Pappilon Pouf by Annemarie Bentham

So I had the instinct to say, “wait, is crochet really underutilized for stress reduction?” But just a second later, I agreed that, yes, it still is. It is underutilized in the sense that a large number of people benefit from it but an even larger number don’t. And it is also underutilized even among crafters who believe in the relaxation benefits of crochet. There are many of us, myself included, that know crochet can be the best way to reduce stress and yet in the midst of stress forget to use this important tool! There are many of us crocheters who still get wrapped up in our issues, worrying that our craft isn’t good enough somehow, pushing ourselves to projects that are too difficult on days when what we really need is meditative crochet. So, yes, crochet is calming and it is important to continually remind ourselves of this so that we can make maximum benefit of this feature of the craft. Crochet to Calm is a great book because it is filled with projects that we can easily go to when we remember that we can craft to reduce stress.

Crochet to Calm Projects

In this introduction, Mandy cites two requirements of a calming crochet project: repetitive stitch motion and a level of difficult that is high enough to distract, low enough not to frustrate. The 18 crochet projects in this book, designed by Mandy along with 14 other crochet designers, meet these two requirements. (More or less … the latter requirement will vary by crafter so no one project can meet that need for everyone but arguably they individually meet the needs of a wide range of crocheters and collectively should suffice for nearly all crocheters at one point in time or another.)

crochet to calm meditative mandala pattern

Meditative Mandala pattern by Mandy O’Sullivan

The crochet projects in this book feature primarily simple stitches that allow for easy work and a lot of meditative repetition in the crafting. There is a nice balance of colorful projects and those that are worked in a single color. This is great because it offers color therapy to those who need it and yet lots of options for those who do not find it relaxing to change colors often or weave in many ends. There is also a nice balance of large and small projects, which is important because some people find it relaxing to be able to pick up the same project again and again and work on it for awhile while others need instant gratification satisfaction in times of stress. And I have to give a specific shoutout to Mandy’s own design in the book, her Meditative Mandala, because of course I’ve spent the past year-plus working with Mandalas for Marinke and exploring in depth the health benefits of crocheting mandalas.

slipper boots pattern in crochet to calm

Slouchy Slipper Boots by Lisa van Klaveren

What also strikes me about these calming crochet projects is that they are cozy. A pouf for the home, snug slipper boots and mittens. They are cozy as you make them, so you could happily make many as gifts for others. They are also cozy to use yourself, which is comforting in times of stress and brings added calming to the end product.

As for the details, you’ll find that these are easy-to-read crochet projects with strong written instructions, sometimes supplemented by a symbol chart. There is the usual guide to basic stitches and crochet abbreviations along with extra written instructions within the patterns for any advanced stitches (of which there are few, most of which you might already know such as v-stitch). You can preview all 18 crochet patterns from this book on Ravelry.

cross stitch to calm

Of course, crochet isn’t the only calming craft. This book is one of Interweave’s Craft to Calm books, which also includes Cross-Stitch to Calm.


San Francisco based and crochet-obsessed writer, dreamer and creative spirit!

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