Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Author Archive


Mayo Clinic Reports That Knitting May Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk by 30-50%

November 19th, 2014

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Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo is an expert in the area of using crafting to heal, having researched the topic extensively for her book Crochet Saved My Life. In this post for Alzheimer’s Awareness Month she shares how crafting can be used to prevent and treat age-related memory loss. Read her previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.

Reasons Why Knitting and Crochet Can Help Prevent and Aid Treatment of Alzheimer's

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. Many crafters are doing their part to raise awareness around this awful disease. In this post I’ll share some research and information about how knitting and crochet may be used to prevent dementia in some people and improve quality of life for those who already have this condition.

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5 Steps to Total Crafting Wellness

October 7th, 2014

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Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo is an expert in the area of using crafting to heal, having researched the topic extensively for her book Crochet Saved My Life. Read her previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.

craftingwellness-blogThis is the final installment in my 6-part series on yarncrafting health and wellness. In this part I’ll go over the highlights of the first five articles to provide you with a total crafting wellness plan.

Step One: Get The Full Scoop

It’s important for you to know all of the different ways that knitting and crochet can help you to improve your physical health, mental health and general quality of life. The ten most important health benefits of yarncrafting include relief from depression and anxiety, boosts to self-esteem, community building and stress reduction. If you know how crafting helps people then you’re in a better position to figure out the right ways for it to help you!
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Improving Your Health to Improve Your Knitting and Crochet

September 2nd, 2014

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Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo is an expert in the area of using crafting to heal, having researched the topic extensively for her book Crochet Saved My Life. This is part 5 in her 6-part series for us on the topic of yarncraft health. Read her previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.

improvehealthyimprove-craftingWe have discussed a lot of ideas for using crafts to improve your mental and physical health. But what about the reverse – improving your health so that you can be a better crafter? It turns out that one can help the other in a cycle of ongoing self-improvement.

Hand Stretches for Easier Crafting

One of the main complaints that knitters and crocheters have is that their crafts can cause them hand pain. This includes carpal tunnel and other repetitive strain injury. You can reduce that by doing regular hand exercises. Keeping your hands limber will allow you to yarncraft for longer periods of time.

It’s a case of one hand washing the other because as you do needlecrafting, you loosen certain parts of your hands. Many people have reported that crochet helps them reduce symptoms of arthritis for example. So you can do hand and finger exercises in order to crochet better and then the more you crochet, the less your hands are likely to hurt.

Here are 9 hand exercises for crafters’ fingers, thumbs and wrists.

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10 Ideas to Stay Inspired During a Crafting Hiatus

August 5th, 2014

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Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo is an expert in the area of using crafting to heal, having researched the topic extensively for her book Crochet Saved My Life. This is part 4 in her 6-part series for us on the topic of yarncraft health. Read her previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.

10 Ideas to Stay Inspired During a Crafting Hiatus

Many knitters and crocheters craft every single day. It’s part of a good total wellness plan for a lot of us. But what happens if you have to take a crafting hiatus? An injury, crafting burnout (similar to writers’ block) and health issues can force an unwanted break from knitting and crochet. Here are ten ideas for staying inspired in the event that this occurs to you.

1. Organize photos of your past craft work.

This can be a great way to celebrate the work that you’ve already done. It will remind you of all of the inspiration you’ve had in the past and get you re-excited for the time that you can pick up hooks and needles again. A big photo album works as does a blog or Facebook albums.

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5 Women Share Personal Stories of The Healing Power of Crochet

July 13th, 2014

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Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo is an expert in the area of using crafting to heal, having researched the topic extensively for her book Crochet Saved My Life. This is part 3 in her 6-part series for us on the topic of yarncraft health. Read her previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.

5women-blog

We recently explored the top ten health benefits of yarncrafting. Many of you chimed in and it was amazing to see how many different ways we can be helped and healed by knitting and crochet. Here we have five different women with five different stories illustrating how much crafting can help us. I already knew Tamara of Moogly blog because we support each other’s crochet blogs online. The other four women responded to my ongoing request to hear from anyone who wants to share their stories about how crochet helps them.

1. Diane: Traumatic Brain Injury and Life Transitions

Diane Stavros is a Massachusetts-based crafter and mother of three. She discovered how helpful crochet and knitting could be for her during a really difficult divorce. She reduced her anxiety, centered herself and found peace by sitting down and losing herself in craft projects. However, the craft really came to save her life after she experienced a traumatic brain injury in 1997.

She shares: “There’s a long list of all the ways in which the mental and physical actions of crocheting assist with recovering from that. Very briefly, it helps with focus, sequential thinking, planning, seeing patterns, restoring faith in one’s self, and hand-eye coordination.

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A 5-Step Guide to Creating Your Own Yarncrafting Wellness Plan

June 20th, 2014

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Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo is an expert in the area of using crafting to heal, having researched the topic extensively for her book Crochet Saved My Life. This is part 2 in her 6-part series for us on the topic of yarncraft health. Read her previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.

Last month we explored the top ten health benefits of yarncrafting. Many of you chimed in with great comments about how crochet and knitting have helped you to heal from a variety of different ailments. Want to get more intentional about that? This five-step guide will help you create your own yarncrafting wellness plan.

1. List The Symptoms You Want to Cure

What are the specific symptoms that you want to reduce in your life? Some of the most common health symptoms that people seek to resolve through crafting are:

  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Physical pain including headaches, muscle aches, and chronic pain
  • Memory loss
  • Mood swings
  • Feelings of uselessness
  • Grief
  • Addiction including food cravings

Knitting and crochet can help with each of these things. For example, it can be a distraction that reduces physical pain and helps control diet cravings and it can provide relaxation to reduce stress-related headaches and irritability. However, not every symptom will apply to you so think about what you really want to solve. It’s a lot easier to get healthy when you know what specific ailments you’re trying to reduce.

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10 Most Important Health Benefits of Yarncrafting

May 20th, 2014

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Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo is an expert in the area of using crafting to heal, having researched the topic extensively for her book Crochet Saved My Life. This is part one in her 6-part series for us on the topic of yarncraft health. Read her previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here

Yarn heals. Whether you prefer needles or hooks or a combination of both, crafting can soothe your body and mend your mind. Anecdotal evidence has shown this for decades and new research confirms it with science. The benefits people report are seemingly endless. Here are the top 10 yarncrafting health benefits.

1. Knitting and Crochet Relieve Depression

Depression relief is by far the most reported and studied benefit of crochet and knitting. The repetition of the crafts has been shown to release serotonin, a natural anti-depressant. CNN recently reported that “in one study of more than 3,500 knitters, published in The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 81% of respondents with depression reported feeling happy after knitting. More than half reported feeling “very happy.”

Knit Aromatherapy Eye Pillow
Knit & Crochet Aromatherapy Eye Pillow

2. Crafting Reduces Anxiety

Yarncrafts helps with various forms of anxiety. It keeps your hands busy and mind focused so that you can attend classes or events even when you have social anxiety. It brings the internal mind to a calmer space for when you’re coping with the anxiety of repetitious thoughts. The counting has even been shown to serve as a productive outlet for people with anxiety associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as well as eating disorders. The Craft Yarn Council reports on one study that showed nearly ¾ of women with anorexia found knitting to be calming and anxiety-reducing.

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Too Much Yarn, Not Enough Space? Let’s Get You Organized!

May 1st, 2014

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Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo shares tips for keeping your yarn organized and accessible even when you’re living/ working in a small space. Read Kathryn’s previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.

It’s always a challenge for crafters to keep their yarn organized. If you’re working with limited space, the challenge gets even tougher. Tough, but certainly not impossible. With a little bit of creativity, your yarn stash can be easily organized and accessible even in a small home or studio.

toomuchyarn-notenoughspace1Step One: Destash

Make sure that all of the yarn you have in your home is worth keeping. Much like when you organize your clothes closet, go through your yarn stash and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you love it?
  • Will you use it?
  • Do you have a project in mind for it?
  • Is there some other compelling reason why you must keep it?

Take any yarn that didn’t get a yes to at least one of those questions and de-stash it. You can donate it to charity, send it to an artist who needs yarn, sell it online or host a swap party to exchange it for yarn that you will use.


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How to Create a Sacred Space for Crafting

March 18th, 2014

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Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo shares how to make a healing, relaxing craft space. Read her previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.

Lion Brand Yarn Studio in NYC
Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York

Yarncrafting is healing. Knitting is relaxing. Crochet is meditative. Honoring that makes our crafting even more productive, beneficial and special in our lives. Make your crafting space a sacred space to help you drop more easily into the creative / spiritual/ healing aspects of your craft time each time that you work.

Select a Space

Start by designating a crafting space, even if it’s just a chair in the corner of a room. Make it your comfiest favorite chair that you really want to spend time in!

Create a Craft Altar

Altars can be religious but they don’t have to be. In her book Happier at Home, Gretchen Rubin explores ways to make every little display in the home an altar to something (an altar to toys, an altar to books). This encourages us to pick our favorite things to celebrate what we love in each spot in our home. A crafting altar might include:

  • Vintage crochet hooks / knitting needles on display. See display tips here.
  • Favorite luscious yarns; in episode 22 of YarnCraft Zontee talks about creating yarn vignettes
  • 1-2 handmade items
  • Photos of favorite crafters. Family photos of the older generations of needleworkers in your family are perfect!
  • Special craft books and magazines

You can create a small altar even if you don’t have a craft room. A bookshelf, tabletop or even drawer near the chair or bed where you usually craft will work just fine.

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5 Projects That Take Crafting for Loved Ones to the Next Level

February 21st, 2014

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Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo shares five creative exercises that you can use to show your love through crafting. Read her previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.

Crafters are a generous lot. We often crochet and knit for others. We craft gifts for birthdays and holidays. We knit and crochet prayer shawls for strangers. We infuse our handmade items with love, and hope that love comes through for the recipient. It’s a wonderful thing. But we can go even further with this intention, choosing ways to craft for and with the people we love, so that the love comes through in deeper and more meaningful ways.

Here are five ideas for making that happen:

1. Appreciation Blanket + Journal. This is a twist on the crochet mood blanket, a popular project this year. Each day (or week) you crochet/ knit either one row or one motif (such as a granny square) that will go into a blanket intended for a special person. Select colors based on the feeling you have for the person each day you work on it. For example, the blanket will have rows of red when you feel love, pink for appreciation, and white for awe. Write down this color code in the front page of a journal. After each row, write a single line expressing why you chose that color for that day. In the end, you’ll have a cozy blanket and this touching journal that will be treasured forever. This is a great gift for pregnant moms seeking to create baby’s first blanket with intentional love. l20643a
Little Boy Blue Blanket

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