Blog Entries, crochet, Essay

7 Surprising Crochet Health Benefits

Learning how to crochet can do more than you think for your mental health and happiness.

Arts and crafts are more than just a fun pastime, they’re truly healing and restorative and are actually very therapeutic. In fact, the healing benefits of crocheting (and knitting) are numerous and range from simply calming you down and easing your stress to potentially relieving depression and reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Crocheting doesn’t just help you if you’re the one who’s sick – it helps the caregivers around you, your friends and family that help you, love you and support you. It’s also a very good craft to pick up as a hobby for group therapy sessions, as you’re healing together in a group without having the focus completely on you. There are so many benefits of crocheting, so whether you’re stressed out and can’t sleep or are doing your part to help slow down Alzheimer’s, you’ll be doing yourself and your health a favor.

1. Crocheting reduces stress and anxiety

When you’re feeling stressed or anxious in your daily life, take some time for yourself, pick up some yarn and your hook (or your needles), and spend some time being creative. By crocheting and allowing yourself to be creative, you’re taking your mind off of whatever’s been nagging you. By focusing on the repetitive motions of individual stitches and counting rows, your mind is able to be more relaxed and free from anxious ideas and thoughts. 

2. Crocheting helps with insomnia

By focusing on something that’s easy, repetitive and soothing, like crochet projects, you can calm down your mind and body enough to let you fall asleep. So the next time you’re tossing and turning in the middle of the night, don’t get frustrated, just pick up a work in progress! 

3. Crocheting helps ease or relieve depression

When you do something we like, our brains release dopamine, a chemical that affects our emotions and functions like a natural anti-depressant. Scientists now believe that crafts, such as crocheting, can help stimulate that dopamine release to allow us to feel happier and better about ourselves.

4. Crocheting reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s by 30-50%.

Crocheting can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by 30-50%. By engaging in cognitive exercises and stimulating your mind, you can slow down or even prevent memory loss. Whether you plan on challenging your memory by learning a new stitch or technique or simply by reading and working up a pattern, by getting a little crafty, you’ll be helping preserve your memories.

5. Crochet builds your self-esteem.

We all want to feel productive and useful, and by working up a project to give as a gift or sell at a craft fair, we can do just that. Though we don’t craft just for the compliments, a little bit of external validation by someone buying your finished item or your gift recipient wearing that crochet hat you made all winter long can truly give us the self-esteem boosts we need.

6. Crocheting acts as a form of group therapy.

For those who seek therapy benefits in group settings, crocheting can be supremely beneficial. By placing the focus off of the patient and only the crochet project itself, it provides all of the previously mentioned health benefits of crocheting plus a sense of community and togetherness. By working in a craft, those in a group can immediately have some way of relating to the other group members, and it may help function as an ice breaker for more seriously conversations. Even if you aren’t actively seeking therapy, you can benefit from the sense of community that crocheting can bring.

7. Crocheting puts you in control.

Whether you feel helpless as a caregiver watching someone struggle or you’re the one struggling with your own illness or problems, crocheting is a way to put the control back into your own hands – literally. By choosing to craft, you are in full control of everything, from the type of project you’ll be making, the color and type or yarn and even the type of crochet hooks to work with, and that makes a difference in feeling like you have a say again.

 By: Julia Wiatr, Editor, AllFreeCrochet.com

Blog Entries, Essay, Writing

Not Quite a Resolution

Every year, about this time of year, I get this idea that I should do something meaningful. Maybe a lot of people do that. New year, new ideas. I don’t really make resolutions. This is more of a PLAN for the year. More precisely, projects I hope to complete.

CHESAPEAKE BAY CROCHET

Overriding everything is getting my online business, Chesapeake Bay Crochet, really moving along. I actually sell more items on eBay, but I don’t plan to close my Etsy store. Also, I am selling items on this blog, by listing my latest projects.

A Corner of My Desk. A Large Part of My LIfe

This will involve creating patterns to sell as well as finished items. I have spent time researching key words and updating my SEO knowledge to be relevant to today.

KEEPING A DIARY

No, I am not thirteen. What I mean is, I have a little pocket size notebook that I intend to take with me everywhere I go. You can get them at Amazon. They are inexpensive and small enough to fit in a purse, backpack or whatever else you carry on a regular basis. This little notebook will be the place where I write down everything: ideas, grocery lists, interesting things, funny things, sketches, things I am thankful for, reminders. One notebook for everything instead of having several locations for all of my stuff. Don’t you just love organization?

READ THE BIBLE EVERYDAY

This is not a new idea for me. This is a plan I make every year. Even if my Bible reading consists on just one or two verses, I will read a portion of the Bible daily. Yes, I am a religious person and I believe in what I read. The Bible is my source of comfort, intelligence, wisdom, ideas, knowledge and belonging. I do not read it just for the sake of running a race or for a sense of accomplishment. Over the years, I feel as if I have read the entire Bible. It doesn’t go like a novel, where you begin on page one and carry on until completion. Depending on the day, I will carefully choose what to read: a song, a prayer, practical wisdom, history, an individual’s story.

Blog Entries, Essay

One Year Ago

One year ago, I was worried about so many things that I cannot even remember, now. That is, not until I got the email from FutureMe.

FutureMe is an email servcie, where you can send an email to yourself, or anyone else, at some point in the future-a day, a week, a year, longer. I used to think it was a cool idea, but now, it is a reminder of what I did not accomplish.

I didn’t:
*Lose a bunch of weight
*Read the Bible every day
*Pray every day
*Get my finances on a better track
*Exercise regularly

Maybe, I don’t have to accomplish anything at this stage of my life. Maybe, my life is good enough right now. Maybe, some of those goals are unrealistic. Truth is, I am pretty satisfied with the way things are. The major change I would make is lowering my stress level, which is, I am very sad to say, sky high. There is a single person responsible for that. Or rather I should say that the person I stress about is not going to change what he is doing and in reality, I am responsible for my own level of stress.

So why do I worry about him so much? He has no one else to worry about him. Not really. I worry that he will die and I certainly don’t want that. I worry that he will not get better from his sickness that has been going on for nearly 3 months and he refuses to go to a doctor. Why? Because he says that anyone on earth can look at his medical records and there is a “libatard” (the term he stole from someone else for a liberal retard)–likely the janitor at the doctor’s office–that will take that information and use it against him to have him declared a menace to society and they will take away his right to buy a gun or own a knife.

I say, “That is the craziest thing I have heard in my life…”

“Just you wait and see! It will happen,” says he, interrupting.

I respond, “Like it or not, you are not that important in the grand scheme of things. Neither am I. We are both merely drops in the ocean of nearly 8 billion people. No one is going to look at your medical records to see if you went to the doctor to cure nausea.”

“That kind of thinking will get you in trouble with it all goes down. Stick your head in the sand like everyone else.” He walks away to end the discussion.

I went on vacation to see new faces and to talk to new people and to get a fresh presepctive. I took the problem with me. It seems as if all I could talk about was him, my brother. I realized that I cannot hide from stress. So, a new year and a new resolution: REDUCE STRESS

crochet

My Next Project

I am still very busy making new items to sell here, on Facebook and on my ETSY Page. Everyday, I crochet, update blogs and websites and think about what I will work on next.

I have perfected my fingerless mitten pattern. For now, this image is of my fingerless mittens Mirasol Sisa Yarn in Stardust which is 60% lambs wool and 40% alpaca in the first stage: The Basic Mitten.

Fingerless Mittens INCOMPLETE
crochet

Fingerless Gloves

My creation is completed. As with any new crochet project, there are issues that must be resolved before I can offer the pattern for sale: Tweaks in wording and verifying that I didn’t miss a step.

These gloves were made with scrap yarn, so I am working on the real thing now, with real yarn purchased for the specific purpose of creating a pair of PERFECT fingerless glove. Well, as near perfect as I can make them.

I am not a machine. There may always be variations in stitches, or tiny imperfections that add to the overall beauty of the project. Anyway, enjoy the next step in my crochet creation project.

I used Red Heart Soft Yarn in cherry red, Patons Beehive Baby Sport Weight Yarn in Angel White and Susan Bates Silvalume crochet hooks size G and H

Fingerless Gloves in RED AND WHITE
Uncategorized

Creativity

Creativity means different things to every individual.  For me, creativity is the act of CREATING something, using just the power of my not-inconsiderable brain.

cre·a·tiv·i·ty
/ˌkrēāˈtivədē/
noun
  1. the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.

I have wasted many, many hours scouring the Internet for crochet patterns to match the vision I have in my head of items I want to produce.  What a load of rubbish!  What I mean is, I am working really hard to reinvent the wheel.  Why would anyone want to do that?

I have created my own patterns for crocheted items previously. Click here and here for examples of patterns available for digital download through my Etsy Store.

So, I am now working on a pattern for fingerless gloves, or more precisely, fingerless mittens because there is a thumb hole, but not individual holes for fingers.  I have ripped out stitch after stitch in an effort to create my patterns.

This it the first half of a pair of mittens:

IMG-2991
Fingerless Mittens Stage One

Yeah, I know what you’re saying.  It doesn’t look like a glove or a mitten or anything else recognizable.  Well, maybe half of an orangutan mitten, but why would anyone want to put mittens on an orangutan?

I agree.  Stay tuned of the next iteration of my invention!
crochet

I Have Been Very Busy

I have been working feverishly to create items for my online store that can be found here and here.  I have sold several items on ebay recently and have even sold some items directly to interested individuals.

The key was finding what people wanted to buy and not concentrating on what I wanted to make.

Also, price control has become an issue for me.  If it is priced too high, no one wants it, even if the item is hand-made.  If it is priced too low, then the entire market for hand-made crafts is diluted.

Pictured are Fingerless Gloves/Wrist Warmer Steampunk or Boho Style: Red with black ruffle trim and large vintage buttons, Fingerless Gloves/Wrist Warmer Steampunk or Boho Style: Blue chenille, lace trimmed with vintage white/rhinestone buttons, Ear Warmer in shades of teal and gray, and an Ear Warmer in shades of light gray with a large crocheted flower.

All of the items are hand-crocheted by me and listed for sale on the internet.

Blog Entries, Road of Change, Writing

Excuses, Excuses

Okay.  So here’s what’s been going on in my life that has rendered me unable to post another chapter of my novel…

First, I sneezed a couple of times uh… caught a summer cold  uh… came down with pneumonia and then spent a couple of days, no weeks, months under the weather…

Okay, here is the real story:  An airplane fell from the sky and crashed through my office window completely destroying my laptop, my tablet, my phone, my empty journals, all my pens, a typewriter and lots of light bulbs.  Oddly enough.  *notices no one is believing that story, either. *

Fine.  You win!

I HAVE WRITER’S BLOCK!  ARE YOU HAPPY, NOW?  ARE YOU HAPPY YOU MADE ME SAY IT?  (Dramatically illustrated by the typewriter with a blank sheet of paper and a notebook with pristine white pages in the photo below

elijah-o-donell-760367-unsplash
Photo by Elijah O’Donell on Unsplash

It’s just that outside is so beautiful with the bright sunshine, the pretty flowers, the brilliant green grass, the summer breezes.  Who wants to write, expressing the darker innermost thoughts of a couple in the midst of a tragedy in their marriage when the sky is so blue?  Who wants to dwell on such deep negative thoughts and ideas (even though I know how the story ends) when the house finches and chickadees are clustered around the bird feeder, feasting on the seeds I gave them?  How can the world be horrible when the tomatoes are changing from bright green to bright red even as I write?

I will wait for a rain storm or an earthquake in a faraway place or the darkness that come right before the dawn to write another chapter in my novel: The Road of Change.

In the meantime, patience, dear readers.