First off I want to thank all of you who have come over to my blog. I am very excited to show you what I’ve been up to. The following is a round-up of crocheters who have inspired my craft. I asked them all two (2) questions: Q1-Were you taught how to crochet [if so by whom], or did you teach yourself? And at what age?; Q2-How has crochet helped you in your physical/emotional/spiritual life?
With no further ado, here are their answers:
Q1-Were you taught how to crochet [if so by whom], or did you teach yourself? And at what age?
Stacey Trock: My mom taught me to crochet when I was quite little… about 5 or 6 years old. She learned from her grandmother, so she kept the tradition alive by passing it onto me! I began entering my crocheted items in the county fair at 11 years old. As I won prizes, I thought, ‘hey, I’m getting this crochet thing!’, and I started to read crochet books, which really expanded my skill set.
You can find Stacey at freshstitches.com.
Michael Sellick: My mother taught me to Double Crochet when I was 14. I was bored with the stitch really quickly and my mother didn’t know any other stitches. I bought myself a book at the craft store to show me through diagrams on how to crochet. I taught myself to read crochet diagram patterns so I could pursue.
You can check out what Michael is up to here.
Kim Werker: I was taught by three different people before I remembered I already knew how to crochet. The first was a friend, when I was sixteen. She taught me how to make a yarmulke in size 8 thread. The second was my hall director’s wife when I was in my third year of university, so I was around 20. I started a gigantic, complicated afghan in an absolutely hideous variegated yarn. The third was a teacher at a yarn store here in Vancouver when I was around 27. That was when I realized I already knew what I was doing. I started CrochetMe.com within a few weeks of that discovery.
Click here to see what else Kim has to offer.
Kathryn Vercillo: I originally learned how to do basic crochet from my mother when I was a child. My mom was terrific at constantly introducing us kids to new crafts, activities and experiences so we dabbled in many things like crochet. I didn’t do much with crochet until I was an adult, though.
I re-discovered the craft when I was battling an intense period of chronic depression. I remembered the joy and peace of crafting as a child and returned to that for solace. I taught myself mostly by working through a kids’ crochet pattern book although I used YouTube videos for a few things where the book wasn’t quite clear enough.
You can find out more of what Kathryn is doing by clicking here.
See what else Ellen is doing here.
Laurie Wheeler: Yes, I was taught to crochet by several elder female relatives. My great grandmother, Lydia, got me started when I was so young I don’t remember, but I was probably about six or seven. My great-aunt, Alice, taught me thread work around the same time. They were from different sides of the family and gave me conflicting information, I remember wondering if there really was a “right way” to crochet. Both women felt that “leisure arts” were an important way to round out an education and they taught the boys in the family too. They grilled me on multiplication tables, encouraged me being a bookworm & love science, taught me to write in script and ensured I could embroider, sew (by hand), crochet, iron hankies (miserable failure so they stopped at hankies), and bake goodies. I have to agree with them now, being well rounded has certainly never caused me harm.
It is always endearing to hear stories of parents/grandparents teaching their loved ones a beloved craft. I, however, learned by reading a book, and subsequently through the use of the internet. I often wonder where I’d be in my crochet career had I learned at a younger age, but all the saem, I’m happy where I am.
Q2-How has crochet helped you in your physical/emotional/spiritual life?
Michael: Crochet gives me the balance I need in life. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I can feel up and down in a matter of a swing of a comment or two. Crochet gives me the power to self reflect, be creative and to express myself. I am known to be more excited over a new style of yarn verses buying a new car. Crochet for me gives me happiness and the ability to share with others that is unparalleled to anything i have ever achieved in my life.
I used to strive for money as my objective through what I was taught. In time, I realized money didn’t buy me happiness as I don’t have much money. However, when I focused on creativity, I feel joy and pleasure and everything associated to giving myself to others as my way of reaching out and connecting with others.
Kim: I’ve crocheted through several very stressful times, the most difficult of which involved some convalescence. The ripple blanket I made from odd balls of yarn during that time was like my therapy, and it’s one of my most beloved creations. (http://www.kimwerker.com/2008/01/20/ripple-blanket-fin/)
Kathryn: Crochet has helped me in my emotional, psychological and spiritual health in too many ways to count. It literally saved my life during that time of depression, providing me with the means to calm down, restore my self-esteem, re-experience hope and remember the value in the act of creating. That’s the story I share in my first book, Crochet Saved My Life.
Since then, crochet has come to play a subtler, but more integral goal in my total wellness. Taking the time to crochet every day serves a sort of period of daily meditation for me. It allows me to see into myself while experience the act of creation in a way that is deeply personal and therefore deeply spiritual.
Ellen: I totally attribute my inspiration to crochet to God. Crochet is a wonderful way to cope with stress and express love and care for others by making them handmade gifts. Creativity and Spirituality are closely linked for me. Being creative and pursuing an inspiration is a way of hoping and trusting in the future.
Laurie: Crochet for me has been a touchstone. I’ve never hid the fact that I am a survivor of extreme childhood sexual abuse or that I suffered domestic violence in my first marriage. In fact, I shared my crochet healing journey with Kathryn Vercillo (and 23 other women) in her book, Crochet Saved My Life (2012). For most of my adult life, crochet was a way to focus on something good, stable, easily repaired, it wasn’t ever crisis filled, or life and death. One stitch at a time and I could solve at least one problem, you know like making the perfect outfit for my daughter’s dolls, or fill a Christmas Tree with ornaments, create hats and scarves to sell for extra money, create one of a kind fashion items for son and daughter and other loved ones. Crochet was my creative expression. Spiritually, sometime in my 30’s I began to wonder if I was like a piece of crochet, that maybe I could “rip out a few stitches and rework a few rows.” Crochet inspired me (along with my beautiful children and wonderful husband) to be more than a diagnosis for severe PTSD and anxiety and depression. Around that time I started the Crochet Liberation Front, at first it was a joke, but the joke was on me. I wasn’t liberating anyone except myself. Five years later, many thousands of yards of yarn and dozens of crochet hooks lost down the couch later, I used what I learned from Crochet, working with the public, self inspection and my faith, to heal myself. Today, I have another diagnosis, which is zero clinical markers and a bill of exemplary mental health. This comes from a noted Ph. D psychologist. Crochet didn’t do all of the work, in fact it didn’t do any of it, but it sure was one of the tools I used to remain mindful, calm and aware. I think it became more beneficial when I began to use it as a tool for mindfulness instead of a way to forget my troubles.
Crochet, especially when social, is a fabulous way to create and grow together. It’s why I created www.hookey.org as a place just for crochet lovers. It’s also why, I have a group there called, “When crochet is not enough.” I noticed a long time ago that I am not the only person on the planet to suffer, and sometimes we need others with similar experiences who we can communicate compassionately with and move beyond our insular pain. It’s a well visited group and I’m so honored that people feel safe to post there.
While I’ve only recently been pondering it, I do believe crochet has had a significant impact on my spiritual and emotional life. I am very much a loner and not very outgoing, so I end up spending a lot of self-induced time alone. But with crochet I can enter into a world of creativity and discovery that is hard to find amongst crowds. I also find that crochet keeps my mind sharp as I count my stitches. This is especially true when creating amigurumi (crocheted stuffed animals) as there a many increases that require you to know basic multiplication.
I really hope that you have enjoyed this blog post. Leave a comment on what you think and what you hope to see from me. And please subscribe so you don’t miss anything to come in the future!
Until next time!