I often get asked this question. ‘Why do you knit/crochet?’ It is then often followed by the statement ‘I thought only old people or grandma’s do that!’ I for one am far from old (I’m 35 for the record) and I have been able to knit and crochet since I was a child.
I know why I started to knit properly when I was in my early 20s. It was a way for me to escape the pressures of University and studying. I was slightly older when I started Uni and was studying English Literature and training to become a secondary school teacher (God knows what I was thinking with that!) I struggled emotionally with everything and was diagnosed with anxiety and depression during this stage. Knitting was suggested to me as a way to help relieve some of those anxieties. And you know what? It worked! I started to reap the benefits very quickly and learnt how to crochet too which eventually persuaded me to put down the knitting needles and collect as many hooks as I could!
The next 10 years saw me in and out of severe depression but it was when I lost my new-born baby boy in 2015 that I hit rock bottom and could only see one way out. At that moment there was only one person in the entire universe I wanted to be with and I contemplated suicide. It took a lot for me to say that to the bereavement midwife at the time and she basically turned round and told me that I needed to do something and knowing that I could crochet she placed a hook and yarn in my hands. Just stitch she said, don’t follow a pattern, don’t make anything specific; just focus on the way the yarn twists itself around and the hook.
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.
I still have that bit of crochet. It has turned into a 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.
I asked the same question to the wonderful ladies in the Hook It Yourself VIP group. I was amazed that this beautiful bunch of ladies were so open and honest about the reasons they knit and crochet that I asked if I could share their experiences.
Kirsty wrote – ‘I love crochet as it’s good for my mental health and gives me great joy in making things for others, I can and do crochet anywhere and try my best to encourage other people to learn too’
Belinda told us ‘I absolutely love being able to produce something for my little one. To be able to look at it and think ‘I made that!’ Is amazing’
And Dawn told us – ‘I originally started to crochet as a hobby, but I found that it helps me relax. It also helps my hands due to having the shakes as I have got nerve problems, it stops my hands from shaking for a while. Crochet has helped me over the last year deal with my mental state too’
Ellen wrote – ‘ It’s a true way to switch my brain off from a busy life as a teacher and a mummy. I can channel my energy into playing around with colours, I daydream about which patterns I’d like to try and I love giving my creations to people that I love. Crochet is so much more than a hobby to me’
For others it is about nostalgia as they fondly remember those who taught them as they focus on the gentle rhythmic melody of the needles. Their mums and grandmas, aunts and friends who sat with them as they taught them to manipulate the needles and hooks along with a strand of yarn that magically turned into something wonderful!
Whatever the reasons, we are all in agreement. We all love to knit and crochet and think that you should too!