Lion Brand Notebook

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The Therapy of Crochet and Knitting

February 25th, 2013

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Has crafting ever brought you out of a tough time? Often, the meditative and creative aspects of yarn crafts can be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to coping with grief, depression, or that funk you just haven’t been able to emerge from. Though knitting and crochet are often looked at as lighthearted, serene crafts, the emergence of many crafting social groups over the last several years speaks to the release of both the craft and the social component that frequently comes along with it. A new book highlights the healing that can come from crochet.

Crochet Saved My Life chronicles the journey of a college freshman coping with the usual suspects–new school, new state, new friends–as well as the far less familiar, including the surprise diagnosis of an inoperable brain tumor. Author Kathryn Vercillo describes how she found release from her anxiety and stress in the therapeutic nature of each repetitive stitch.

More than telling her own story, which includes the profound motion of dropping a knife from her wrist and picking up yarn instead, Vercillo also shares the stories of other men and women who have found solace in crochet and knitting, as well as the effects these crafts have on those with various mental and physical conditions, including anxiety, depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis.

To learn more about the book, click here.

So many of us have found comfort in the stitches of knitting and crochet. Have these yarn crafts gotten you through difficult times in your life? Share your experiences below. 

  • Sabrina

    When my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, knitting was a source of solace for me, a way to focus my prayers for her well being in every stitch. I would knit washcloth after washcloth. It would relax her too to watch me, and after I’d bind off, she’d be so happy to receive a new washcloth in bright and happy colors. I think that knitting is a way to take your energy and turn it into something useful and beautiful.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      So well said. Thank you for sharing with us!

  • Val

    Absolutely. I’ve had a miscarriage, and then a stillbirth, last year as my husband and I try to fulfill our dream of becoming parents. So heartbreaking. I find tremendous comfort in knitting. After my miscarriage (my first pregnancy after years of trying) I sat still and quiet on my couch and knitted washcloth after washcloth until I could look up and face the world again. Each cloth was a tiny little affirmation that I still have a place and purpose in the world, that I can create something lovely and good. This time, after losing my son, it’s socks. I couldn’t save my son… but I can knit socks to warm the feet of the loved ones who are still alive here with me, or even strangers. It’s small, but it’s something, and it feels like it matters. I’m knitting wool socks for afghans for Afghans currently… it enables me to create a bit of order, beauty and comfort in this chaotic, difficult world for myself and someone else too.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      What a touching story. It takes bravery to turn things around in such a way. Thank you for sharing such a personal story with us.

    • http://www.facebook.com/gail.sydneysmith Gail Sydney-smith

      hello Val, your story has so touched my heart x i would like to pray for you please…
      Dear Lord, i lift Val to you. Father please fill the void left by the absence of her babies, with your love. Lord please help her to be aware of your love for her. i dont understand Lord why these things happen but i know they hurt beyond words. please give Val your peace. Father i pray over Vals womb… Lord please ready this place to grow a baby. let it be a place of warmth and safety. let there be nourishment and everything that baby needs to grow healthy and strong. Father you said that you knit us together in our mothers womb, that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. please begin to knit this baby in Vals womb, let it be fearfully and wonderfully made and blessed by you. thank you Jesus x

    • Kara

      Val, I feel your pain. I too have sufferd 3 misscarriages, lost a baby at 20wks to a cord accident, and lost a baby that delivered at 25wks that survived 5 days. Through it all my crocheting and knitting have helped me. Just know you are not alone.

  • http://profiles.google.com/juli1961 Juli Williams

    When I was diagnosed with breast cancer 2 years ago, I began to knit and crochet pink ribbons. I designed them myself using # 10 crochet cotton both with and without beads. I then gave them to a relay for life team which sold them as a fundraiser. It ended up making over $100 dollars for the team. I went to the relay and walked at the Survivors Lap just one month after I finished my treatment. I now craft ribbons in a variety of colors depending on the cancer–I made a white one for my church’s pastor when she was diagnosed with lung cancer. And i still make them for the relay for life fundraiser.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      How wonderful! Great story. Thank you for sharing, and for helping others with your craft.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bradley.livingston.10 Bradley Livingston

    It helps my PTSD.

    • T. Goodman

      Me, too. <3 T

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      So good to hear.

    • http://www.facebook.com/pam.mills.522 Pam Mills

      Me too.

    • NCpuglover

      Fantastic.

    • NCpuglover

      Fantastic.

    • SPortHoff

      Me too and for those long night when sleep is impossibe.

    • Carol D’Agostino, LCSW

      I know it’s been a long time since Bradley posted that knitting helps with PTSD but I’m a therapist working with women suffering from it. Can anyone provide me more specific information on how it helps and if anyone knows of a therapist using knitting as a therapeutic model? Thanks, Carol D’Agostino Rochester, NY

  • http://www.facebook.com/NicalaineB Nikki Brown

    When my daughter had a heart attack at the age of 34 two days before my grandson was born with ventral septal defect and a detached aorta……thank goodness a friend brought me a hook and some yarn while I sat in the ICU with my daughter and stayed on the phone with my son.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      Thank you for sharing this story with us.

  • phaefner

    Almost two years ago my youngest son passed away at the age of 20. He was a wonderful son and a great friend to people who knew him. After losing him I found it very hard not to spend every minute wishing him back and trying to understand. About two months after his death I started to make crocheted Barbie clothes without really knowing who I was making them for. As it turned out the intricate patterns occupied my mind and got me through the toughest thing I have ever had to endure. By Christmas time of that year I had made quite a few outfits and found out that a friend had a young granddaughter who was wild about Barbie. She received all of the clothes and was happy it warmed my heart very much. I still miss my son every single minute of every single day and would love to go back to before he left but that’s not possible. So many evenings are spent crocheting or knitting or some other form of crafting to keep me occupied. My crafts have been a gift to my soul and my heart.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      What a touching story. Thank you for sharing such a personal journey with us, and for sharing your gift with others.

  • Erica

    I started crocheting dishcloths to quit smoking. Everyone in my family now has a dishcloth. Then I started crocheting squares for a blanket for my sister’s wedding. So far it has really helped me.

    • dizzydeb102

      Hey, keep crocheting. I quit over 24 years ago with the help of crochet. You can’t smoke and crochet now can ya. Good job, keep up the good work.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      That’s great to hear. Keep up the good work, and thanks for sharing!

  • Michelle

    Almost eight years ago I lost my fiancee to suicide. That is never a good situation to find yourself in, but worse if you suffer from your own case of depression. I couldn’t function for the first few weeks. I couldn’t even handle basic things like showering, dressing, or eating unless someone reminded me or bullied me into it. My grandmother saw what was needed and brought me every ball of scrap yarn, leftover skein, or impulse yarn buy she’d acquired over a 25 year time span….a grand total of almost 30 pounds of yarn. And I crocheted. Nothing complicated, just simple stripes and chevrons, but my fingers moved, I focused on something other than my grief and my pain, and I breathed. It took me almost four weeks to use up all that yarn, but when it was gone I had a mountain of lapghans to donate to local nursing homes and I was again able to get up out of the chair, take a shower, get dressed, and face the world and moving past my grief.

  • Michelle

    Almost eight years ago I lost my fiancee to suicide. That is never a good situation to find yourself in, but worse if you suffer from your own case of depression. I couldn’t function for the first few weeks. I couldn’t even handle basic things like showering, dressing, or eating unless someone reminded me or bullied me into it. My grandmother saw what was needed and brought me every ball of scrap yarn, leftover skein, or impulse yarn buy she’d acquired over a 25 year time span….a grand total of almost 30 pounds of yarn. And I crocheted. Nothing complicated, just simple stripes and chevrons, but my fingers moved, I focused on something other than my grief and my pain, and I breathed. It took me almost four weeks to use up all that yarn, but when it was gone I had a mountain of lapghans to donate to local nursing homes and I was again able to get up out of the chair, take a shower, get dressed, and face the world and moving past my grief.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      What a moving story. It must have taken a lot of strength and bravery. Good for your grandmother for directing you to needlecrafts. Thank you so much for sharing your personal journey with us.

    • Kathy

      I was so touched by your story. I’m glad you found comfort and I hope life brings you good things.

  • Heidi

    When my older dughters and I lost custody of my youngtest daughter to my cruel ex-husband it gave me solace to knit for her. It helps me bide the time when I get to see her for visitation and count the months in between when my heart is breaking. Then in the short times when I do get to see her I get to present her with something lovely she can where to remind her that I am thinking of her. It is not the same as a hug, but it is close.

    • http://twitter.com/carolmckayau Carol McKay

      I am sure she cherishes those garments, but be aware that your other daughters may feel a little less treasured. I’m sure they understand, but don’t forget to make something special for them too from time to time.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      A knitted garment can definitely feel like a hug across the miles. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

  • http://www.facebook.com/craftsbytraci Traci Stone

    I had a miscarriage in January 2011, followed up by losing my mother-in-law (more like a mother to me really than my own mother) April of 2011. I ended up seeing a therapist and feeling like I never was getting anywhere or getting any better. I tried to focus on my one true passion, crocheting. I spent a LOT of time crocheting and stashing yarn for projects. March of 2012, I lost my dad. We weren’t real close until months before he died. When he died, I DIVED fully into crocheting. I made it my “job” because I found when my hands were moving with yarn and a hook, I wasn’t being overly emotional. It gave me time to focus on something other than all the loss I had experienced while also having the chance to think about the loss in a healthy manor. I was able to think it through and realize it wasn’t my fault for any of it. That there was nothing I could do to change it. By keeping my hands busy, I was also keeping my mind busy. I still crochet today, will for as long as I can. I make things to sell, to decorate my home with, to use in my home, or even as gifts. I can’t imagine my life without it. When my dad died in March of 2012, I started smoking again, about 1 1/2 packs a day (which was way more than I ever did – used to be just as needed for stress really) Oct. 28, 2012, I got the flu, followed by full blown pneumonia. The DAY I got sick was the last day I have smoked a cigarette. I still get stressed and have thought about smoking a few times, but have managed to avoid it by crocheting. So overall, if it hadn’t been for my art, I wouldn’t have made it through a miscarriage, losing my mother-in-law, losing my father, and quitting smoking. I crochet EVERY day even when I don’t want to.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I agree that crochet can be a perfect opportunity to think, meditate, and learn to accept the challenges life sometimes throws at us. Keep it up!

  • dizzydeb102

    I stopped smoking about 24 years ago. I set up my own non-smoking plan, wrote everything down and even gave myself permission to smoke. Although with the permission came certain rules I had to follow. I smoked twice and that was it. However, I found I really needed something to do with my hands since I didn’t have a cigarette in them anymore. My mother had taught me how to crochet a poncho when I was a young teenager. So, I picked up some crochet hooks and yarn, and a “how to crochet” book and started. You cannot smoke and crochet at the same time. I’d have to say that crocheting was one of the biggest reasons that I was so successful at quitting cigarettes. Thanks for letting me share that. –Deb

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      What a great success story! Congratulations on quitting smoking and picking up a new hobby to boot!

  • Sam

    I have panic attacks when I’m in the car. My husband has family 8,17 and 23 hours away so we spend a lot of time in the car. I learned to crochet by looking at lion brand’s website, printed some patterns and spent an entire road trip just learning the ropes. It made the trip go by soooo fast and I didn’t have a single panic attack. From then on, my crochet has gone everywhere with me. I even turned my therapy into a really decent business. :)

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      How wonderful! Great way to overcome adversity. Thanks for sharing! Safe travels. :)

  • carolinablessed

    Pretty simple….if I have crocheting in my hands, I’m not putting food in my mouth! With my health issues, extra weight is a constant battle!

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      And don’t the delicious colors and textures of yarn available really help? Thanks for sharing!

    • NCpuglover

      Thank you for your suggestion, I have MS and depression. Weight has become another issue so it’s time to pick up the crochet hook again and perhaps find a group. Be well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hyphenatedlady Christina Sexton-Seibert

    I taught myself to crochet while I was on bedrest during a twin pregnancy more than 8 years ago. It took me a couple of weeks to master the basics but I was stuck in bed for two months so I had plenty of time to perfect my technique. At that time crocheting kept me from depression and kept me productive as I spent most of my waking hours alone. I was also able to contribute to Christmas “shopping” (my bedrest lasted from mid-November to mid-January) through making gifts for family and friends. I have benefited so much from crochet over the years. It kept my hands busy as I struggled through compulsive eating and lost 65 pounds. It is very difficult to crochet and feed your face at the same time….lol. I have also used it to occupy time during my second pregnancy and during 6 weeks of recovery after ankle surgery. I am the mom of three, with my youngest at home and my twins in 2nd grade. I babysit a two month-old and am also in college at 39 years old. Crochet is something I do to relieve stress, to find my own personal “zen” moments. I also adore making special heirloom gifts for expecting friends and their kiddos.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      Great story! I use crochet to achieve some “zen” in the midst of busy times, too. Keep up the good work. :)

  • Jackie

    I was taught to knit when I was 10 years old. I started with slippers. Taught myself to crochet after being married and have loved both of them ever since. I can’t get enough yarn. I love to knit/crochet in the evening. It calms me down, just the rhythm and motion of the needle(s) going back and forth is very soothing. It’s even better when I can make something for the mission, or the needy in the community, knowing that it will be accepted and used by them.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      How true! It’s so nice to know your hobby can help others. Thanks for sharing!

  • Michelle P.

    When I was nine and a half years old my mother died after giving birth to a stillborn child. it devastated me. A thoughtful counselor knowing I loved crafts began to teach me to crochet. At age eleven my Aunt finished the teaching when we moved back to my hometown. I am so thankful now for this hobby. It calms my nerves, soothes sorrows and brings me peace especially with all the health issues I have now. I am bi polar and have trouble sitting still but I need to because of an issue with my right leg which requires extended periods of sitting at times. Crochet helps me to do so and also provides a way to give to others. I made over 200 snowflakes in November and December, now I am making angels, and I always have a doily or two or an afghan going.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      Brave woman! Thank you for sharing your personal journey with us.

  • jmdtk

    I have had a rough 6 months – crochet was the thing that initially pulled me out :-)

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      Isn’t it great for pulling us out of those funks? Thanks for sharing.

  • Amanda

    My story isn’t amazing or unique. Sometimes sitting calmly is difficult; even now, keeping my hands occupied stills my chaotic thoughts. I was from a very rural area and I learned to crochet when I was young to keep cabin fever at bay. When I got married, I moved to the suburb of a big city. I was fine until I got a job in the city. For the first year, I rode with my husband through rush hour traffic. My initial ride to work left my heart racing and my stress level through the roof. Learning to knit helped me to deal with the stress of riding with my husband through bumper-to-bumper traffic. Without the knitting, I’d arrive frazzled. Eventually, I got used to the traffic and now I knit for pleasure as well as distraction. As long as my hands are busy, I am happy.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      I’m sure we can all relate! It’s wonderful how calming busy needles can be–and how rush hour traffic can seem so productive when you have something to show for it!

  • clamatojane

    Crocheting is one among other types of sewing I do but crocheting has been helping me tremendously with getting through my husband’s current deployment. It’s keeping my hands and my mind busy so that I do not have time to dwell on his safety and not being here.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      Thank you for sharing with us. I’m so glad crafting can be a source of support to you.

  • Brenda

    I live in my 99 year old mother’s home and am her sole caregiver. Since losing their home, my daughter and her family live in my home. My crocheting projects give me a sense of accomplishment and center me in my life of ‘homelessness’. The stress of having no place of my own i eased somewhat when I crochet. Shopping for yarn and talking with other knitters and crocheters also helps a lot.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      Touching story. Thank you for sharing your personal journey with us.

  • Liana Seda

    I taught myself to crochet and knit after giving birth to my first born daughter four and half months too early five years ago. In the weeks after, I constantly felt like making booties because I felt like she was cold.. so I kept making booties until one day when I finally made a pair I thought was perfect and put it in her memory box. Then hats, then blankets and then dresses. Eventually I started to donate all the items I made to hospital where she passed away. I still do to this day, I like being able to provide items to other families who have experienced the same kind of loss. Finding something that will fit their tiny babies is one less thing they have to worry about. Knitting and crocheting really helped me to cope with the loss of my beautiful daughter <3 Now I find that it helps me through my grief, depression and anxiety. It definitely saved my life.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      What a moving story–and how brave you are to share. It’s so wonderful of you to donate your treasures to other families in need. Thank you for sharing with us.

  • Nicole

    I have PTSD from being sexually assaulted and it keeps my mind from wandering. Before I started knitting/crocheting I spent hours playing video games and drinking to numb my mind, between obsessively checking the doors and windows!

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      Thank you for sharing your personal and private story with us. It’s wonderful you have found solace in needlecrafting.

  • Kate

    I couldn’t have children. After months of treatment and two miscarriages, we gave up. It was not an easy thing to do. Then my sister-in-law announced her pregnancy. After many tears, I decided I couldn’t let anyone see me as the bitter barren aunt, so I knit a blanket for the baby. I found it so soothing and so fulfilling to create something, I quickly found another project. Knitting helped me heal from my losses. It gave me something bright and beautiful in my life again.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      I’m so glad knitting brought something beautiful to your life. It takes bravery to overcome such an obstacle; thanks for sharing your journey with us.

  • Heidi Perry

    After my Grandmother was left a widow at 48 years old she crochet afghan after afghan. She told me it “saved her bacon”. She is the most important, influential person in my life. She passed away last year the day after my 48th birthday she was 92. And I can assure you without a doubt that both crochet and knitting had also saved my bacon.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      It’s so wonderful to share the special connection of crochet and knitting with a relative. My grandmother passed away a few years ago and I still feel connected to her every time I pick up a crochet hook, thinking of the ones she let me take from her when I was a tiny tot making knots in her yarn. Thank you for sharing with us.

  • MJ

    When my mom was sick for several years. The doctors didn’t know what was wrong with her. As a quilter she wasn’t able to do that craft as she didn’t move a whole lot off the couch or out of bed some days as she would get really sick. I as a crocheter, reminded my mom that she does know how to knit and crochet. So I went with her to the store and picked up the things needed to get started. She would sit and make baby hats for charity as well as knit wash clothes. It was a short project that she could do while waiting at the doctors offices or hospitals. She always tells me that is what kept her going. She is a lot better these last couple of years or so, she has gone back to quilting. But still keeps her knitting and crochet with her in a bag any time she needs to go somewhere, where there may be a wait.
    Myself, I don’t go anywhere without my crochet. I learned in 2002 and wish I had learned in it a lot earlier. I know it could have helped my a lot when growing up.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      What a great story. I too don’t travel far from a crochet hook. It’s a great way to pass time in waiting rooms. Thanks for sharing with us.

  • Funkyblossoms

    I deal with Panic Anxiety w/Depression. During times of high stress, crochet gives my spinning mind something to concentrate on. The repetitive action is soothing as is tracking a pattern. I was blessed to be taught by my grandmother when I was young. It has been a source of great comfort through the trials and tribulations that life can bring. I say, “Bring it on Life, I’ve got a hook and yarn!”

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      I love that quote! And very true. Thank you for sharing!

  • Marge

    We have had a hard time the past ten years and I try and keep the mindset that there are others out there that are have it worse than me and I do have so much to be thankful for. The mind has a way of reminding you of all the things that have happened and keep happening like the sudden death of my father(2003), then the next year my mother. Then in January of 2009 we learned of my father in law having cancer (lived one month) then in May 2009 my only sister was diagnosed with cancer (she is in the end stages now) and my husband in June of 09 (thanks to early detection and yearly physicals it is cured) and now myself in Oct 2012 (still waiting for all the results to see if they got it all). It has helped me endure the low times, I can sit and do any stitch I want to and not dwell on what might be or is going on in my body, I can pray endlessly and if the random design turns out I have something new to give to family or friends. I can’t say I’d keep it for myself because usually when I show someone they say they love it and it grows legs and that is ok because I feel rewarded for my time.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      It’s so special that you are able to gift your unique treasures to others and seek solace in the craft. Thank you for sharing your deeply personal story with us.

  • Gloria S

    When I hurt my knee, I had to have it elevated most of the time to prevent swelling. Crochet helped keep my mind off the fact that I couldn’t do some of the things I used to do. Then, when they discovered I had a blood clot in my leg AND in my lung, after a week in the hospital, again I was reduced to sitting around with my leg elevated. This time, however, I was also trying to quit smoking. Crocheting helped keep my hands busy, plus the money I made from selling my finished projects paid for Christmas presents for my kids and grandkids. I was so glad I’d taught myself how to crochet when my oldest granddaughter was born. I’m proud to say I’m smoke-free now (over a year) and will soon have surgery on my knee in the near future. I’m still crocheting and keeping busy. In fact, right now, I’m working on an afghan to donate for our local Band Boosters for their fund raiser.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      It’s so great to hear of using a craft to beat the odds.Thank you for sharing your story!

  • http://www.facebook.com/vfisher75 Vicki Fisher

    For me crochet, is my anti-depressant as well as my ADD medicine. I do take meds for depression but I would most likely take a higher dosage if it wasn’t for the calm that washed over me as I crochet. I also have ADD and while I manage without medication, having crochet be the one thing that I can start a project and not finish and/or allow my mind to wander and thus come up with new project ideas or just ideas as a whole keeps me from having to take meds. I just wish that my boys would take up crochet or even knitting, but while both have tried it, they don’t have the patience for me to teach them anything past chaining.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      There’s still time! :) Thank you for sharing your story with us!

  • http://www.facebook.com/elaine.mathewscappiello Elaine Mathews Cappiello

    My husband lost his job in 2010, and we didn’t tell my mom for fear the worry would affect her health. As it turned out, she died within six months. Within a year of that, my brother had open heart surgery to address complications from an earlier heart surgery. We had to move into my in-laws house after our rental was sold for a new development. So yes, I was a bit stressed, depressed and anxious.

    My husband’s aunt taught me how to crochet at Thanksgiving 2011. Since then, I’ve made lapghans, coasters, baby blankets, dishcloths, afghans, snowflakes, holiday ornaments, scarves, cowls, etc. People have started gifting yarn to me to keep my supply up. My kids have stopped playing with my yarns, as the novelty has worn off, LOL.

    My husband is working again, after more than two years of unemployment. Counting stitches kept me from sitting inside my head all that time, and friends and relatives truly appreciate handcrafted gifts.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      Great to hear things are looking up! Thanks for sharing your story with us.

    • Katzndogs

      I like the term you used, “sitting inside my head,” That describes my depression perfectly!…And yes I crochet, knit, whenever I can. It has gotten me through a lot of “downward spirals” I call them, my depression.

      • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

        It’s great that you’ve been able to seek solace in your craft.

  • KnittingMimi

    I have arthritis and fibromyalgia. Around the time I was finally diagnosed, my divorce became final and both of my parents died. I have crocheted since age six and it has seen me through some pretty dark times…bullying, depression, loneliness, grief, miscarriage, adultery…you name it. I taught myself to knit while in my twenties. I have used this craft over the years in much the same way. Now, as my daughter nears the end of her college years and I see a future alone (except for my doggies), I use my knitting and crocheting as a way to bring me down after a rough day at work, fulfill my need to create and express myself and fill my evenings with something enjoyable. I am a counselor/therapist by trade and find a great deal of value in needlework as a therapeutic tool.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      It’s so wonderful to know a trained therapist sees the therapeutic nature of needlework. Thank you for sharing your personal journey with us.

  • Irish

    The last few years of my job were a nightmare… and with all the hiring freezes, transferring was virtually impossible. Job after job that I “got” were pulled out from under me. Crocheting in those years prevented many many deaths.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      The economy and job market has certainly put people in many difficult positions. I’m happy crochet has helped you overcome them! Thank you for sharing.

  • Sharon Goebel

    I quit smoking by “manufacturing” afghans (crocheted). We were starting the adoption process. I don’t like to see anyone holding a baby smoking.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      Great story. That’s a trade up, for sure!

  • Rosebud55

    Crocheting helped me when I was in the UPMC Hospital after I had a 6 organ transplant 8 yrs ago . I was so bored from being couped up in a hospital room.So I had mt DIL get a bunch of yarn .And crocheted a bunch of rippled afgans . It help take away how much I was so bored .even made a small afghan for one of my doctors daughter. Some of the nurses and aids told me they liked to crochet too,when they had time .

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      Crochet can be a great tool for recovery. Thank you for sharing your story with us!

  • Becky

    Years ago, my mother taught me to crochet. I would love to sit and watch her make afghans as well as hats, scarves and mittens for myself and my three older brothers. Due to work and raising my own daughter, I just didn’t have time to continue in my hobby. Three years ago I lost my mother, my best friend. To help me feel close to the one person I missed more than anything in this world, I picked up my hooks and yarn and started crocheting again. It has helped me in the grief process to feel close to my mother again, and to know that she will forever be with me and will live on in the things, big and small, that she has taught me.

    • Janet

      That’s beautiful, every time you crochet with her hooks, she’s sitting with you watching every stitch.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      What a wonderful story. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

  • http://www.facebook.com/danielle.brigante Danielle Brigante

    I’ve been dealing with horrendously stressful situations for both myself and my boyfriend for the better part of 6 months. One of these situations is despite working full time, a beast of a commute combined with drowning in debt has prevented me from doing some things that helped me defuse the stress & keep my anxiety & panic attacks at bay. Happily I have a decent sized yarn stash in storage, and I’ve used it to work on 2 blankets – one of granny squares for the first apartment my boyfriend and I hope to rent this year, and one I call the “Bitter End Blanket”, which is all the little tiny scraps that most people would toss, which I am working into a wonderfully eclectic & very unique little labor of love. Being able to focus on one small piece of a blanket, whether it’s working on a square or crocheting in a 10″ strand of purple yarn right after a 7″ strand of hot pink, has helped me calm my racing thoughts, pulse & breathing and helped me concentrate beyond myself & my stressors. Sure I probably still cry myself to sleep more than anyone should, but being able to work with my hands to stave off what I once mistook for a heart attack? I’d be in a rubber room by now if I didn’t have my crocheting.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      Thank you for sharing your deeply personal journey with us. Your Bitter End Blanket (great name, by the way!) sounds like a truly awesome labor of love. I hope you’ll share photos with us on Facebook or Twitter when it’s all finished!

  • DB

    I’ve been dealing with horrendously stressful situations for both myself
    and my boyfriend for the better part of 6 months. One of these
    situations is despite working full time, a beast of a commute combined
    with drowning in debt has prevented me from doing some things that
    helped me defuse the stress & keep my anxiety & panic attacks at
    bay. Happily I have a decent sized yarn stash in storage, and I’ve used
    it to work on 2 blankets – one of granny squares for the first
    apartment my boyfriend and I hope to rent this year, and one I call the
    “Bitter End Blanket”, which is all the little tiny scraps that most
    people would toss, which I am working into a wonderfully eclectic &
    very unique little labor of love. Being able to focus on one small piece
    of a blanket, whether it’s working on a square or crocheting in a 10″
    strand of purple yarn right after a 7″ strand of hot pink, has helped me
    calm my racing thoughts, pulse & breathing and helped me
    concentrate beyond myself & my stressors. Sure I probably still cry
    myself to sleep more than anyone should, but being able to work with my
    hands to stave off what I once mistook for a heart attack? I’d be in a
    rubber room by now if I didn’t have my crocheting.

    • NCpuglover

      Crocheting is perfect for calming anxiety disorders. I could have quelled many a panic attack by doing it but didn’t think of it then!

    • NCpuglover

      Crocheting is perfect for calming anxiety disorders. I could have quelled many a panic attack by doing it but didn’t think of it then!

  • Janet

    I had almost forgotten how knitting helped me heal nearly 40 years ago. When I was 17 I suffered a severe broken elbow, the joint was shattered and required nearly three weeks in traction followed by about six months of physical therapy. I had started knitting a sweater before the accident and as I was able to move my arm more I asked when I could start knitting again. Knitting involves a lot of twisting the forearm which is controlled by the elbow. My therapist was doubtful I could knit for many weeks yet. I picked up my knitting anyway and slowly adapted my stitches to what I could manage at each stage of my recovery and finished that sweater.

    Now I still cope with my problems and depression with knitting, the simple repetitive actions making something beautiful out of the relative chaos of a skein of yarn has a calming effect. I knit a lot of items for charity, the pleasure I get is from making something. The pleasure a homeless or hospitalized person gets is being remembered as a human being by someone taking the time to make something for them. This win-win situation shows that even non-crafters can be touched by the healing powers of yarn.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      It truly is a win-win. Thank you for sharing!

  • http://www.facebook.com/princess.trunoske Princess Trunoske

    I have been a smoker off and on for 20 years. I have quit several times, but the cravings never went away. Anytime something stressful happened in my life or i was around my friends that smoked, i would slip or just start up again. 10 years ago my sister in law passed away while my mother in law was in the hospital. We had to move my in laws in with me and my husband and 1 and a half year old to care for them. I got pregnant with my son and we found out my sister in laws husband’s cancer had become terminal. 7 months after my sister in law passed away her husband passed away and we gained guardianship of my 14 and 16 year old nieces. So we had 10 people and 3 generations living together that I cared for. Smoking was a big stress releiver through most of those years. After my father in law passed away 2 years ago I started smoking again with a fury. After some scary health issues i was able to quit a year ago. I decided I was in need of something to occupy my time and hands and thanks to my dad (who bought me a kit) and my stepmom (who bought me yarn and the proper hooks) i was able to teach myself through library books and youtube how to crochet! I love it so much!! I subscribe to m.any newsletters and blogs and love making hats and infinity scarves! People think i am crazy because i find it so very therapudic! That and I am only 37 and they think crocheting is only for older people. Lol. But through my mother in laws recent cancer diagnosis and my 24 hour care she is in need from me (as well as taking care of my family) i find much solice in my yarn crafts! I have not had any cravings for cigaretts at all! I have plenty of opportunity to smoke from friends and enough stress to want to. So crocheting has helped save my sanity and my life!

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      It’s so great that you were able to find solace in crochet and to use the crafting to quit smoking. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

  • April

    I was twenty when I first became pregnant. Five months later we sat in an office and were being told our baby was never going to live through birth. The day he was born (and died) I found out my best friend was pregnant. I picked up my hooks and did not put them down for the next four months. Even when I started working again I still would not come out of my yarn. I made many pretty things but never took pictures and frankly I don’t remember what most of them are. God and Crocheting helped save my sanity.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      What a moving story of bravery. Thank you for sharing with us.

  • Debra

    With many chronic illnesses my productive life was taken from me. After years of not knitting I started again and it has helped fill many sleepless nights and long days. I can make gifts for others and for charity and feel productive again. It’s so therapeutic.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      So happy to hear. Thank you for sharing with us.

  • CrochetBlogger

    Thank you so much for sharing my book with your readers in this way. It has touched my heart to read the comments that people have shared in response to your post.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      Thank you for writing it! It’s wonderful to show people who consider the craft a form of therapy that they are not alone.

  • Pingback: Lion Brand Reviews Crochet Saved My Life; Comments Amaze Me | Kathryn Vercillo

  • Sarah F

    I taught myself how to crochet 11 years ago while pregnant with my fourth son. I was diagnosed with SVT and was put on bedrest. I made afghans for everyone in my family, and several baby blankets. I then found the Prayer Shawl Ministry and have made quite a few shawls for friends with cancer, a neighbor that moved a way and a friend whose son was very ill. The prayer and repetitive stitches are so healing! I love it….awesome therapy!

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      So happy you’ve found it so healing. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jamie.green.9400 Jamie Green

    At about 8 years old, I asked my grandmother what those different colored metal things were in her bill organizer/key holder that always hung on the wall, by the phone. “They are crochet hooks”. “Oh,” I said, and went on my way, wondering what “crow shay” meant. About a year later, they were still there, and I asked again. This time I thought to ask “what do you do with them?” This is when I learned the art of expressing myself through yarn. She has passed on now, but through life’s ups and downs, depression, my son’s autism diagnoses, fears and hopes for the future in general, I still have this talent that centers my storm and helps keep me calm. I like to experiment and learn from my mistakes. There is no time limit, no one to say I’m doing it wrong, wasting my time. Almost everything I make is a gift for another, and those I keep are practical household items or warm winter clothes. In making a gift for another, watching it come to be, it makes me feel good knowing it comes from the heart, that it will keep someone warm or make someone’s life a bit easier or happier, and that in turn helps me in my life. A bit of Gram goes in each stitch; she was my starting chain.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      What a great lesson for beginners. My grandma goes into each stitch, too. It’s so wonderful to share a legacy that surpasses even this life. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

  • AbracaDebra

    Knitting helps me as I seek employment. A nightmarish situation presented and I was suddenly out of work. My yarn stash enables me to mindlessly knit scarves, shawls, wraps and clothing for our darling puplets! Someone once said, “This too shall pass.” and while I wait, I knit!

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      Great attitude! A solid stash can be a real life saver. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://twitter.com/jennsplace Jennifer

    I learned to crochet when I got pink eye at age 11 or 12. My stepmom probably taught me so I’d stay out of her hair! Later I picked it up again because a lady I worked with crocheted while work was slow. It helped me quit smoking too. Recently, I was diagnosed with Polymyositis and had to do OT and PT to get my strength back. I started to crochet as soon as I could get past the pain. My OT was thrilled that I found an activity to help me with strength and mobility in my hands. It also helps my mind stay calm when I start to feel anxious about my health. I like to crochet while my son is in his activities, and it’s a great conversation starter. I even set up an etsy shop so I could earn extra money while I wait for my disability to get denied again. :) I’m currently teaching myself to knit via youtube.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      Needlecrafts can truly be a functional form of occupational therapy indeed. Thanks for sharing your story!

  • CATHY

    FROM THE TIME I WAS YOUNG I LIKED THE CHALLANGE THAT CROCHETING GAVE ME. WHEN I GOT OLDER AND BECAME THE CARE GIVER FOR BOTH PARENTS AND SPENDING TIME IN HOSPICE WITH THEM AT DIFFERENT TIMES. I FOUND IT VERY SOOTHING AND A WONDERFUL MEDITAT…ION WHILE SITTING WITH THEM IN THEIR FINAL HOURS. IF ANYONE HAS AFGHANS OR THROWS THEY DON’T HAVE USE FOR, HOSPICE IS A WONDERFUL WAY OF USING THEM. IT GIVES A LITTLE FEEL OF HOME AND A TOUCH OF LOVE.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      Very true. Thanks for sharing with us!

  • Mary Ellen

    At the ripe age of 26, I had a hemmorhagic stroke caused by an arteriovenous malformation, which left me without some faculties. I used crocheting not only as a therapy for the PTSD and depression and general “what the hell happened to me” feeling, but also as my own form of occupational therapy. I found it to help me with my hand-eye coordination and I will always credit the craft with getting me through a very tough time in my life. It was relaxing. And therapeutic. And I made lots of cool stuff. Seven years later, I am still a crocheting machine, with a penchant for granny squares.

    • http://blog.lionbrand.com/ Ashley Tedesco

      Grannies are the best! And crochet can really be a great form of OT. Thank you for sharing your story with us.