If you’ve ever asked the question, “What is mindful crochet?” then today is your day!
I am excited to share a guest post from Deanne of Small But Kinda Mighty who is a crocheter, crochet designer, and crochet teacher.
She feels crochet saved her life and therefore is passionate about sharing the therapeutic benefits of the craft with others.
After talking with her, I wanted to share her story about her path to mindful crochet, as well as talk more about how to start your own mindful crochet practice.
Not to mention, since one of her crochet goals includes giving back to the community, it’s a perfect fit for Create To Donate.
So here is Deanne’s story…
In Her Own Words: Meet Deanne Shoyer
I have ADHD, and like many women I went undiagnosed well into adulthood. I have gone through most of my life thinking I couldn’t do anything outside of academics.
In secondary school, because I was so uncoordinated, my teacher sent me to the “baby pool” and my gym teacher made me practice badminton against the wall.
My mother and both grandmothers were terrific knitters, but I could never “get it”.
In fact, for the longest time, instead of describing myself as a crocheter, I would joke that I was a “failed knitter”.
I managed to do pretty well relying on academics alone. I did two history degrees, emigrated from the UK to Canada and worked as an international tax consultant for 22 years, earning a six-figure salary.
Then, EVERYTHING fell apart.
I now realize that I had compensated for and masked my undiagnosed ADHD.
Eventually it was all too much, and the following happened:
• I burned out and experienced major depression for the first time. I felt completely worthless.
• My pregnancy at 36 years old was high-risk and near fatal. My twins were born 11 weeks early and spent 9 weeks in the NICU.
• My marriage was failing.
• The twins’ general developmental delay was diagnosed as autism, a lifelong developmental disability.
• I lost my job.
• I had to sell my house.
• I had no money, was solo parenting two autistic boys with no family in the country, no friends close by, and no support system.
Crochet As Therapy
So, I decided to teach myself to crochet as a way of managing my stress, depression, and anxiety.
I was convinced I had no crafting or artistic skills. Plus, I didn’t know anyone who crocheted, let alone anyone who taught crochet.
This was before YouTube existed therefore I had little to no resources available to me outside of the public library.
I also had zero self-esteem and a ton of responsibility as the lone caregiver for two disabled children.
I borrowed a couple of books from the library and I’m not going to lie, it was torture. I was determined, though, so I kept at it.
A year after I started to crochet, one of my sons asked if I could make him a dinosaur and that’s when I fell in love with making amigurumi (creatures and characters made from yarn).
The kind of amigurumi I wanted to make (simple projects without too much sewing) didn’t seem to exist, so I started designing my own.
And crochet saved my life.
Crochet And Positive Health Outcomes
If you think I’m exaggerating, then think again.
In doing research to develop my therapeutic crochet program, I interviewed nearly 60 women and heard repeatedly how life changing crochet has been for them.
In Kathryn Vercillo’s book, Crochet Saved My Life: The Mental and Physical Health Benefits of Crochet*, she details how crochet helped her survive crushing depression. (*Affiliate link)
In addition, she interviews other women who share how crochet helps them manage stress, anxiety, OCD, addiction, PTSD, schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, dementia, and chronic pain.
Part of my research also included reviewing studies that substantiated the strong connection between crochet and positive health outcomes. I wrote a post about it here.
But for the purpose of this post, what I learned, in brief, is that crochet:
• has scientifically proven mental and physical health benefits like lowered blood pressure and increased serotonin production,
• is especially helpful for people who are neurodivergent,
• connects us with others, including giving us the opportunity to use our crafting skills to create items that can be donated to folks who need them,
• is a huge boost to our self-esteem,
• produces a meditative, but productive, sense of calm
Tell Me More About Mindful Crochet
When I think about all the listed benefits, it’s that crochet produces a “meditative, but productive, sense of calm.” that I believe makes crochet so special.
The simplicity, repetition, and accessibility of crochet are what make it especially therapeutic.
Like yoga and meditation, crochet can be a way for us to access mindfulness.
Although the concept of mindfulness may often be associated with people classified as “woo-woo” and pseudoscience, there’s honestly nothing wacky about mindfulness.
At its simplest, it is a recognition that we are not our thoughts.
Our thinking (doing) brains may tell us we are failures, remind us that our to-do list is massive and growing, and trap us in rumination and self-recrimination.
Mindfulness is one of the ways we can help teach our brain to self-regulate by detaching ourselves from maladaptive thinking.
In mindful crochet, we bring our full attention to our craft.
We train ourselves to use crochet as a tool to become more observant, more dispassionate, less judgmental, and more present.
Instead of being trapped within our thoughts, we use mindful crochet to detach from our thinking, doing brain, and allow ourselves just to “be”.
When I refer to mindful crochet projects, these are designs that support this goal of moving from a state of over-thinking into a state of just “being”.
How Can I Start Practicing Mindful Crochet?
If this sounds appealing to you but you don’t know where to start, Deanne has some resources that may interest you.
Plus, there are just over 100 days left until Christmas (yikes!), so now’s the perfect time to start practicing mindful crochet.
After learning the basics, you’ll be ready to make some beautiful handmade items to gift or donate just in time for the holidays.
Are You Beginner or Do You Need a Refresher?
If you don’t crochet, or you’d like a refresher on the basics to enable you to learn how to crochet mindfully, Deanne has just the thing.
Her crochet program, The Relaxed Creative – Master Mindful Crochet and Enjoy Therapeutic Crafting Anytime, Anywhere, and Every Day will help you master the skills you need to start your mindful crochet practice.
She even has an end of summer/ back to school promotion for her program for 35% off which is available until its official launch in October 2022 .
If you want in on this great opportunity, she’d to chat with you to see if you’re a good fit for the program (and if it’s a good fit for you!). So please send her an email or book some time in her calendar via her website.
Additional Mindful Crochet Project Ideas
If you have already mastered crochet, but you aren’t sure where to find some mindful crochet patterns, then Deanne is hosting a Relax and Hook event that is a great place to start.
She offers designs you can download and try for free, as well as a Relax and Hook e-book with 30 crochet patterns, some pattern bonuses, and additional exclusive content for makers who purchase her e-book.
The Relax and Hook e-book is only available to the general public during the month of September, so go get it so you won’t miss out!
What Will Your First Mindful Crochet Project Be?
The beauty of mindful crochet is that you don’t have to have any set goal in mind. In fact your first project can be as basic or involved as you want it to be!
So what project do you have your sights set on as your first for practicing mindful crochet?
Leave a comment below and let us know.