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  • Marie H.

Not Your Grandma’s Crochet: Modern Ways to View an Old-Fashioned Craft

The old saying “idle hands are the devil’s playground” is not really so far off, is it? I laugh because I am not an immensely religious person. In various online forums, the translation is that idle hands are synonymous with an idle mind, unproductive, and lazy. Apparently, busybodies, disruptors, and gossips fall into this category. Ultimately, spending your time creating will eliminate the pain that comes from dwelling on things, obsessing, and overall negative thinking.

There are times when words are too heavy and weigh us down, or swirl at warp speed, causing us to lose focus. There are times when we cannot put our feelings into words, but the mind can work through our hands to create that which is indescribable, yet beautiful.

A couple of years ago, due to a change of work schedule, my daughter had to spend more time than usual away from me. As a single parent, my family was there to help but they lived two hours away. It was a strange predicament, and I didn’t think it would hit me so hard in the summer. I needed to fill the void and develop some type of meditative practice to help me through that change. All of the chaos of parenting a young child was temporarily gone, yet I was feeling anxious and my spirit was draining in the quiet of my home. That is when I decided to look towards building a specific crafting skill. The next day I signed up for a simple two-hour beginner crocheting class at a craft store.

After that course, I spent days, months, and now years blending gorgeous colors into a modern “take” on a very old-fashioned handicraft. I gained immense pride, after the long work hours, by just sitting on my couch and creating something beautiful out of a string of yarn. People may look at this and think it’s boring, but I assure you that it’s so therapeutic. After a while, the hands just know what to do and take over any obsessive thinking. My eyes were fixated on whatever shape was forming.

Occasionally, I went to Youtube and discovered new stitches. There seemed to be an overwhelming number of talented ladies with Russian accents that had “How to Crochet” channels. Sometimes I would rewind the stitch again and again until I could match it.

According to Dr. Kelly Lambert:

…“hands-on work satisfies our primal need to make things and could also be an antidote for our cultural malaise. Too much time on technological devices and the fact that we buy almost all of what we need rather than having to make it has deprived us of processes that provide pleasure, meaning and pride.”

When our whole being is absorbed in a hands-on task that involves routine action, the time passes, and we exist in a contented state. Years ago, doctors used to prescribe anxious women knitting practice because they believed that it “calmed them down some”.

It’s clear to me that I missed my calling as an art therapist of some sort, but all is not lost. I often spend my free time exploring creative possibilities or innovation. The soul craves this. It’s not so much about the end product, but the way we learn about ourselves. Some days, my daughter and I shut down our devices and dive into the unknown of arts and crafts. It enriches our family and we always surprise ourselves. I’m not against occasional idle time, but for some of us, relaxation looks more like this.

Check out the Skillshare link below for endless opportunities to learn creative techniques.

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