Craft Therapy

My job and my personality are a great fit. I’m nit-picky and obsessive, and my brain likes to be doing a thousand things at once. The problem is, it never stops. Ever. While I have a hard time getting it rolling in the morning, it’s like a freight train. Once it gains momentum, slowing it down is–well, pretty much like stopping a freight train. Since hitting the liquor stash at noon is frowned-upon, I must employ a different distraction. I crochet.

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True. When the apocalypse strikes–and it will–sooner or later all the pre-made items will be scavenged, and we’ll be back to having to make our own. If you’re nice to me, I’ll make you socks.

Crochet’s not cool, is it? It’s for little old ladies in rocking chairs, draped in a shawl (which she crocheted) and surrounded by doilies. This definitely isn’t me. I don’t have a rocking chair.

My mom was an avid crocheter. She made afghans and bedspreads and holiday decor as far back as I can remember. But she was left-handed, and it was hard for her to teach me. I finally got the basics in a junior high home ec class, and it’s been part of my life ever since.

When I’ve been editing and writing and dealing with mountains of work email and need to whoa it down, crochet is my go-to coping strategy. I put an interesting or old favorite TV series on and settle in. I like serial TV better than movies, because part of my social dysfunction is I have some degree of face-blindness. I have a hard time distinguishing individual people, particularly if they are of similar age and appearance. I’ve found I tend to distinguish people by voice, which makes TV series ideal to pair with crochet, since I’m not looking at the screen a lot of the time anyway.

I’ve also recently rediscovered drawing, something I enjoyed a lot when I was in school,22426493_10212830143360855_1766052432900575989_o but crochet is currently front and center in my craft world. I was making a lot of doilies and other lacework for a while, the largest piece being a 62″ diameter round tablecloth that took me eight months to complete. It’s in my closet, because I haven’t gotten around to working in the ends and blocking it, and because I really have little use for a fancy lace tablecloth. But it was a lovely pattern, I’d never made a tablecloth, and I wanted to see if I could do it.

I’ve been making hats and bags and some other assorted things for the Colonial Capital Humane Society thrift shop, because they went above and beyond to pull Oliver from a risky situation and paired him with us. They work so hard every day for the homeless animals in our area, and rely solely on donations and the revenue from their thrift shop.

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I taught myself basic knitting several years ago, which I’ve now forgotten, but I’m thinking of learning again. I also tried Tunisian crochet, which is sort of a knit-crochet hybrid, but need to refresh my memory on that also.

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The older I get, the more I fit the stereotype of the old lady in a rocking chair. I also fit the stereotype of a yarn hoarder. I have four large plastic storage bins, a laundry basket, a duffel bag, and a storage ottoman stuffed with yarn. I’ve been trying to exercise some self-control and use yarn from the stash to make the bags and hats and such for the humane society, but eventually I didn’t have enough of the preferred colors in the right yarn to make what I wanted, and ordered more.

The internet is priceless when it comes to things like this. I have infinite free patterns only a click away, and I can order the perfect yarn for every project. Unlimited possibilities and an immediate-gratification-based personality means a lot of debits showing up on my bank account. But I have yarn!

In fact, it might be a key symptom of the psychosis that I actually have a favorite yarn. I found it a few years ago and made a shawl, which I later turned into a window covering for my office. I love it.

It has my three favorite colors (turquoise, bright green, and purple) and I would crochet slipcovers for all my furniture out of it if I could. Turns out it’s excellent for the bag style I’ve been making lately, so I ordered more. Yes…more. I’m definitely keeping one of these bags.

9b64c1c355e1eb09ea053f31e8e741b8--crochet-tools-how-to-crochetPerhaps even more significant than the size of the yarn stash or the fact I have a favorite yarn is…I have a favorite kind of crochet hook. And I only know this because I have an entire bag full of every kind of hook you can imagine. Broad, tapered, steel, aluminum, bamboo, ergonomic, Tunisian–I even have a whole set of hooks in which the end lights up so you can work with dark yarn in poor lighting.

But the two main styles are Boye and Bates, and I’m very firmly #TeamBoye. I have at least two in the full range of sizes, from tiny enough to work lace to hooks as thick as my thumb, because if I lose one, I need to be certain I have a spare.

Crochet is perfect for quieting a hyperactive mind. It engages enough of my brain to divide my focus, and combined with something on TV,  it prevents me from spinning in that perpetual loop that makes me stressed and anxious. The soothing repetition of the pattern, counting stitches in the back of the mind…it’s all very therapeutic.

Not as good as several strong drinks, but when you’re done, you have something pretty to show for it besides an empty liquor cabinet and a hangover.

Do you knit or crochet? Is it a new hobby or something you grew up doing? What’s the most impressive thing you ever made? Did you keep it or give it away?

Does the following paragraph make sense to you?

Work shell st in ch 1 sp of first V st. *V st in center dc of next shell st, shell st in ch 1 sp of next V st. Repeat from * across. End with dc in last ch of turning chain. Ch 3 and turn.

If it does, you’re part of the tribe!

2 thoughts on “Craft Therapy

  1. Seems our crochet history is somewhat similar. I learned to crochet from my left handed sister. Then in Jr high Mrs Hanlan almost had a fit of apoplexy when she saw a right hander crocheting left handed and made me learn to do it “right”! 😜 Since then I crochet off and on, learned to knit once but have to relearn. Have you tried Color Pooling? Careful, it may become a new obsession!

    Like

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