Today we have an interview with Casey who shares her story about the benefits of crochet.
When did you learn to crochet?
I taught myself to crochet in October of 2013 while home sick from work one day. My maternal grandmother was well-known for her crocheting and the afghans and holiday decorations she would make as gifts for others, but she passed away when I was 14 and I never got a chance to learn directly from her. When I crochet now I feel closer to her and like I’m continuing the legacy she started, even if my projects are vastly different from hers.
What types of projects do you prefer?
I really enjoy amigurumi because my stitches are naturally tighter than most, which lends itself nicely to those small projects. However, when my hands need a break or I have a long block of time to work on a repetitive project, I enjoy making baby blankets for my friends’ children.
Do you primarily crochet for others?
Most of my projects are intended for other people, which I find greatly adds to the pleasure of crocheting. I also love creating accessories for my Halloween costumes, which I’ve had the pleasure of doing two holidays in a row now.
Where do you usually crochet?
I usually crochet in front of the TV while catching up on shows. I have noticed, however, that there are certain shows that I simply cannot crochet along to, as they require too much attention or are too engaging and I end up either missing stitches or missing the context of moments within the show.
Are you part of any craft groups?
I am usually alone in my crocheting, though my husband is often sitting on the couch next to me watching the same show. I have never been a part of any crafting group, let alone a crochet-specific one, simply because I feel that my crocheting is something I do for my own enjoyment. My friends are incredibly supportive, though, and not just when I make them something, either! A lot of my friends understand the mindfulness that comes with crocheting, as well as the sense of accomplishment when a project is finished.
So crochet helps you with mindfulness?
In recent years I was diagnosed with moderate anxiety and depression. Having repetitive crafting activities to do helps to calm my mind and focus on being “in the moment,” which is a very helpful technique for anxiety. Finishing a project also provides me with a sense of accomplishment, which can be a wonderful way to work myself out of a depressive “funk.”
The ability to “turn off” my mind and focus on the task in front of me is infinitely helpful. Couple that with the finished projects I am able to create and my self-esteem goes through the roof. I also love watching the stitches take their own shape the longer I work, and that I can shelve projects for months and then pick them back up as if no time passed because my muscle memory has become so strong.
Are there any health issues that crochet does not help with?
Carpal tunnel symptoms, but I am fully aware that I don’t hold my hook “correctly” and that I should also use my ergonomic handle more often.
Have you ever taught anyone else to crochet?
No, though I have shared techniques or stitches I have learned when asked by friends who also crochet. I would love to be able to teach, as I feel that it would continue to help me learn the craft.
Do you do any other crafts?
I used to make beaded jewelry as a kid, and there are some similarities with the calming effects of mindful attention paid to small details, but crocheting is by far the largest craft I engage in on a regular basis.
Besides crochet what do you do for healing?
I listen to music, talk with with friends and meditate. When I am motivated to cook, I enjoy making large meals from scratch (or as close to it as possible). I also cuddle with my husband or my cat.
Finish the sentence: “The number one reason that I crochet is ….”
… because it is fun and engaging, and I feel closer to my late grandmother when I do it.