Zen and the Art of Crochet

I don't know how many of you are aware of my predilection for yarn, but crochet and reading are my two favorite hobbies. It's where most of my spending money is, well, spent.
I learned how to crochet when I was in treatment from a friend. My aunt had taught me the basics of knitting when I was 13 (I was in choir, and we got "picked" to be chorus members in the school musical production of A Tale of Two Cities. I was a French peasant who walked around knitting...with bright orange acrylic yarn, which I'm sure set the scene nicely), and I made the cliched scarf or four while I was in treatment. But I couldn't really get beyond the basic knit stitch.

Along comes my friend who teaches me to crochet, and it's something I really got the hang of pretty quickly. I didn't really look back after that. I even teach crochet on occasion.

A few of the things I've made recently:

Aria says "This is my blanky..."

In which the cat discovers my yarn stash

Leaf scarf

Crocodile stitch scarf

Chain link placemats

I could wax poetic on what crochet means to me, but I won't. I love the creativity bit, I love being able to transform a ball of yarn into a scarf or cardigan or blanket. I also love how relaxing it is for me. My fingers and hands are kind of hypnotized by the repetitive wrapping of yarn around hook. It's soothing.

On her PsychCentral post about the Zen of Knitting, Sandy Naiman writes:

It focuses me. My mind is often all over the stratosphere. My psychologist wanted me to learn to be more mindful, but I confess, I’m not into examining raisins. However, the gentle rhythm of knitting is perfect for me. The Zen of it works wonders for me.

The yarn tethers my wandering brain to the real world. It brings me back to reality. It slows my pounding heart and the silent whirl of racing thoughts.

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extralongtail said...

Aria is very happy to have a Mommy who is clever with yarn... She looks so sweet with her blanky :)

I would really like to find a Zen activity apart from walking. Walking is my mindfulness exercise. I feel very calm during and after the activity, and it has nothing to do with a desire to 'burn calories'. Walking stimulates my appetite and actually helps me to gain/maintain weight.

I'd love to be good at knitting or crochet. You are clever. I am utterly hopeless with yarn. I love reading, but have a habit of falling asleep whenever I read...

Emma said...

Love all your creations :) I too discovered the wonders of crochet and knitting in treatment where I made numerous pairs of chunky legwarmers and started on my giant granny square blanket.I find it so soothing somehow. I think I also appreciate the "productive" value too as I still struggle with doing nothing. Since finding all the creative patterns on ravelry I've been making lots of little animals for my niece and nephew :)

Lisa said...

Perfect timing; I had to tear myself away from knitting to go to bed last night. I was introduced to knitting at a craft group for women with mental health problems, and it has served me well for all the reasons mentioned above. It has also helped me cope with issues around my illness and fertility by knitting baby clothes for family and friends. I do wish I had a kitty cat to 'help' me with my knitting, though :)

Emily said...

Oh my goodness! You are so talented! I can knit, but I have never been able to crochet. I love your pieces, and I agree that it's an amazing way to be creative while centering your thoughts.

hm said...

Beautiful stuff! Good for you, not only for finding and accentuating a creative tendency within you, but ALSO for being able to focus in on it as a definite part of your personality.

I am finding that so much of recovery is learning how to define oneself apart from the ed. When the ed has priority, all my other talents/likes seem peripheral. They might be how others see me, but not how I see myself.

I like your focus.

The Dandelion Girl said...

I used to crochet when I was in high school... during my classes... I was always so cold and we weren't allowed blankets... because I was physically sick (noticeably) and got good grades none of my teachers cared if I crocheted -- so literally at the beginning of each week I'd buy yarn... and each week I would start crocheting myself a new blanket.

anyway.. I LOVE the crocodile stitch so so much!

The Dandelion Girl said...

In high school I was perpetually cold, but we weren't allowed to have blankets... Since it was a school policy - not a teacher one - they allowed me to crochet (except for my Chem teacher)... so at the start of each week I would buy yarn and begin the process of making myself a blanket... ridiculous... but true.

and I absolutely LOVE the crocodile stitch

di said...

knitting and crocheting are a true form of art and a greqt way to relax. thanks for sharing...

Anonymous said...

any repetitive motion increases serotonin in brain & gut eg walking, crochet, sweeping, rocking

Anonymous said...

I'm a "hooker" too and I say, good job, nice work!

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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