Do you craft? Why?

An ever growing number of the population are now turning to craft. Each year the economic growth of the craft industry increases. This is fantastic news for crafters and artisans but why is it that the UK is becoming a bustling hive of creativity?

XKH145294 Visit of the Angel, from the right wing of the Buxtehude Altar, 1400-10 (tempera on panel) by Master Bertram of Minden (c.1345-c.1415); Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany; German, out of copyright

Is it a resurgence of the arts and crafts movement? Perhaps people want to make sure that historical skills are not forgotten? Maybe its people like Kirstie Allsop showcasing crafts throughout the year on national television?  Or is it the fact that crafting has more benefits than we realise? Crafts such as knitting have been around since, most likely 1000AD starting in Eygpt where it started to spread through the continents.

My own journey through the world of crafts started as a child. My mum taught me how to sew, how to bake, knit and crochet. I loved receiving craft kits full of glitter and glue as presents. Fast forward a few years and this love of crafting fell by the wayside. Life got in the way. I grew up and responsibility beckoned. GCSEs, A Levels passed and university meant working 2 part time jobs and late night essay writing.

I suppose that this is when things started to get tough for me. The constant hamster wheel of adulthood pulled me into a monotonous, boring life. Every day was the same. I began to need something that wasn’t, so I turned to crafts. I tried all sorts. Jewellery making and baking were attempted but I got frustrated and agitated with them. I wasn’t able to put my own stamp on my creations and baking, well…I blamed the fact that my oven was naff!

But then I picked up a pair of knitting needles. It took me 3 weeks to make my first scarf. Three weeks of swearing at the yarn and flinging the damn needles across the room, but I persevered. God know where that scarf is now but I was so proud of myself. By the end I had managed to get a rhythm going, the calming sound of the yarn sliding over the needles allowed my brain to switch off.

But it wasn’t enough; it was too slow for me. So I tried to remember how to crochet. From the moment I mastered the basis stitches I was hooked. Crochet became my release. A way to clear my head. I still have my first ever crochet granny square somewhere. It’s laughable how bad it actually is.

A riot of colour when there was none in my life

Life progressed and got in the way again and I didn’t pick up my crochet again till several years later when I was in a very bad place. My baby boy had passed away at just a day old and my marriage had broken down. A visit from the bereavement midwife came with a warning. She knew all I wanted was to be with my son. She could see that I was heading towards self-harm. She encouraged me to pick up my crochet hook. Just stitch she said, don’t follow a pattern, don’t make anything specific; just focus on the way the yarn twists itself around.

I did, and I can honestly and truthfully say that without crochet I would more than likely not be here today. It was a release, my mind focused on counting each row. After a while the tension I was holding in my body disappeared, my hands and arms no longer felt alien.

‘Uglyghan’

I am still making that blanket. I call it my ‘uglyghan’ I produced a riot of colour when there was none in my life. There is no method to it, I just grab a ball of yarn and crochet the whole thing into it. I always reach for this when I am feeling particularly low. These kinds of days are getting fewer and fewer and the blanket doesn’t grow as quick now.

Even my own subscribers have said the same. Crafting helps them to cope with chronic pain, depression, mind-set, self-esteem and insomnia. I have heard that doctors and nurses are prescribing activities such as knitting and crocheting too.

If you ask around, at the crafters that undoubtedly surround us all, you will find that many of them started as a form of therapy. A way to help alleviate the darkness of depression and anxiety.

So what do you think? Is the increasing demand of crafting here to stay?

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