Tara S. (@tazmcfly on Ravelry) is a knitter and crocheter who likes to work creatively with yarn. She suffers from major depression and has found both craft to be crucial to help her manage the symptoms of this conditions. We learn more about her from this interview.
When and how did you learn to crochet?
I learned to crochet when i was pregnant with my first child. I first learned to chain stitch from my mother in law, and then I went to you tube and soaked in all of the videos on crochet that I could. Ever since then, I learn everything online.
How has crochet helped you?
I suffer from major depression (I’m medicated for it), and both crochet and knitting have been crucial to managing the symptoms of my disease. Just touching soft yarn can calm me. When I work with it, doing the repetitive soothing motions of crochet or knitting, my mind is eased and I feel very relaxed. When I need some down time or some “me” time, or just a break from the stresses of the day, I sit down and work on whatever project I have going at the time.
So you always have a project going?
Yes, I crochet anywhere and everywhere – mostly on the couch or laying on my wedge pillow in bed if I’m sick. I mostly listen to audiobooks while crafting, but watching baseball is my second favorite thing to do while I crochet.
What types of projects do you enjoy?
All types! I love to learn all kinds of new techniques. As long as I’m doing something new, or something that I really enjoyed doing before, then I am happy. Learning new techniques keeps the craft fresh. I get excited to start a new project, and I feel very proud of the projects I finish.
“I like to call myself a yarn artist because I knit and crochet, and even when I use patterns, I try to make it my own. I love to be creative and try out new things, and I love teaching others to craft. I work hard to figure out new techniques, and I have made many patterns of my own, though only a few have been written down for others.” – From Tara’s Ravelry page
What do you do with your finished items?
I love to give everything I make away to friends, family, and charity. I send a little part of myself away with each one, and hope the piece is enjoyed. I have made a few things for myself – practical things that I needed, and I like being able to make something I need and design everything myself. But I really enjoy giving gifts the most. My favorite part is when I can see the person enjoying it, or even just a picture of them enjoying it. The best payment is the happiness my gift can bring.
So, I mostly crochet for others. If there is a specific request, I do that, but I prefer to just come up with things that I think someone would love. I tried a crochet Christmas once and found it to be too stressful. So for Christmas I buy things and then I just give crocheted things to people year round whenever I happen to finish them. It makes it feel more like fun and less like work to have no specific finish date in mind.
Have you ever taught someone else to crochet?
Yes, I have taught a few others to crochet, and every time I do, I give them their first hook and skein of yarn so that they can practice freely and learn to do this lovely craft without worrying about the cost to get started. I usually give them a small care package of a tiny pair of scissors and a yarn needle as well. I love to teach and I am always trying to crochet in public to bring recognition to this wonderful craft. I want others to feel the magnificent effects of crochet.
Have you been part of a crafting group?
I’ve been to a knitting/crochet group that I can only go to in the summer. I loved it, and I’ll probably go again. Online, I am part of the Crochet Crowd community, Ravelry, and Graphghans Unlimited.
What does your family think of your crafting?
My family and my husband support my craft a lot. A few years ago, we were struggling for money. A woman had passed and her husband wanted to sell her entire yarn stash in one go. I begged my husband for it, knowing I’d never have to buy yarn again. He had the love and foresight to see that this craft was not only important, but very beneficial to my health. He allowed me to get the stash, and now I make things for everyone and anyone. I love it, and I love to discuss it with him, and he has been a great support in that way, too. I am very lucky to have such an amazing husband. Because he is so accepting of my hobby, I can practice it every day and keep my symptoms of depression down.
What would you say is the best benefit of crochet?
There are so many, but if I had to choose, it would be the meditation and relaxation I get while I am crocheting “in my groove”. I’ve got the pattern down, and I’m just chugging along in my zen mode. That’s been the biggest help for me. It’s my happy place.
Notes about the photos: The purse is one that I esigned myself. The penguin graphghan done in C2C was for my nephew. The SF Giants Hat was for my sister. The Peacock tail I made for my costume, which was my first published pattern on Ravelry! And the Angry Birds wings I made for my son’s costume a few years ago, which I designed myself.