Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

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Archive for the 'Wellness' Category


5 Charity Groups Dedicated to Knitting and Crocheting Prayer Shawls

March 28th, 2015

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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 she shares five charity groups who heal themselves and others through Prayer Shawl Crafting, along with tips and information for crafting prayer shawls whether you consider yourself spiritual or not. Read Kathryn’s previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook http://blog.lionbrand.com/author/kathrynvercillo/.

prayershawlgroupWhen you knit or crochet a prayer shawl, you set an intention for the person receiving it to heal. You weave a positive thought into each stitch. As you do this, you not only bring healing to the recipient of the gift, you also bring healing to yourself. Learn more about how prayer shawls heal self and others here.

It doesn’t matter whether or not you are religious; it is the act of intentional crafting that soothes the soul. Don’t pray? Get inspiration for secular prayer shawl crafting here.

There are many different ways to donate prayer shawls, but one of the most common options is to join a group that is engaged in prayer shawl crafting. These groups are often, but not always, based in hospitals or churches. To get the most out of prayer shawl crafting, you should choose a group with a mission that touches your heart. These five groups, a combination of secular and spiritual groups, are examples of people who are doing this work today.

Did you know that there are more than two dozen free knit and crochet prayer shawl patterns on the Lion Brand Yarn website? You can search for them in Pattern Finder by selecting “prayer shawls” under “what do you want to make?” in the Category section.

1. HealthEast Care System

This is a Minnesota-based health care system comprised of several hospitals and clinics. They have a prayer shawl ministry through which volunteers can knit, crochet, sew or quilt both shawls and blankets that are given to patients as “a gift of support and healing”. They say, “when the shawls or blankets are left with a patient, it leaves a tangible example of our care and blessings”.

HealthEast Care System has a monthly prayer shawl craft meeting for volunteers who want to knit alongside others. This community spirit can be healing and supportive for all who are involved. However, they also accept knit and crochet donations from people who work on their own at home and send in what they make. They have specific requirements regarding materials (such as only using acrylic yarn) that are based on the needs of their community. Additionally, this group accepts monetary donations to the group, which are used for the purchase of supplies.
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She Was Told She Would Never Knit Or Crochet Again … So Here’s What She Did.

February 18th, 2015

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In 2003, Colette Smith was told by a doctor that due to the pain in her hands, she would need eight hours of surgery and she would never be able to knit again.  But for Colette, knitting is an essential part of her life.  She is a fiber artist and designer and simply loves to knit.  When she heard those words from her doctor, she took matters into her own hands (literally) and decided to find a way to heal her hand pain without surgery. Today she is pain free and knits eight to fifteen hours a day – you read that right – she knits 8-15 HOURS A DAY!

If you’re a knitter or crocheter with hand pain, Colette has some great advice based on her own research and experience.  Here’s her story, plus suggestions for those of you who have hand pain, including some surprising tips about how to sit, how to sleep and exercises that could make help you continue to enjoy the crafts you love so much.

:: Having trouble viewing the video above? Click here: http://youtu.be/LOpDVR4UGTs ::


Teaching Kids to Crochet and Knit: Why Waldorf Schools Incorporate Crafting into their Curriculum

February 17th, 2015

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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 she shares how the Waldorf schools incorporate knitting and crochet into their curriculum, benefiting children in a variety of ways. Read Kathryn’s previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.

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I have to confess that I was a little intimidated when I first walked into the 3rd Grade Handwork Class at Sebastopol Charter School in California. The children seemed so magical and creative as they prepared to work on their crochet projects. Before they began, they sang a song, led by teacher Kristen McLaughlin, about the cotton plant that grows to become the yarn they work with.

Today, in fact, the kids were working with wool. Kristen, who’s been teaching at the school since 1997, used to have the kids work with double-worsted cotton yarn but has recently switched to wool. The kids don’t seem to mind as their hands wield the hooks to create the shapes that will become water bottle cozies, hats and granny squares. With half of the school year behind them, these kids are well-versed in the basics of crochet.

By third grade, the students have a couple of years of handwork under their belts — a critical component of the Waldorf curriculum. They begin with knitting in first and second grades, starting with finger knitting, and then knitting with two needles. In third grade, the handwork is crochet. In fourth grade they return to knitting, learning to knit on four needles. In later grades, they add cross-stitch and sewing to their handwork skills set.
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6 Reasons Why Knitting and Crochet Group Therapy Works

January 21st, 2015

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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 she shares how crafts can heal when used as a social activity. She also introduces us to Yarndevu, a new resource connecting knitters and crocheters. Read Kathryn’s previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.

Knitting and crochet are often used therapeutically in group settings for substance abuse, pregnant women on bed rest and for those coping with social anxiety.  There are several reasons why  group crafting is so effective in addressing these challenges.

The Craft is the Focal Point

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A primary reason why knitting and crochet are useful in group therapy is that the focus is taken off of the patient and put on the needlework itself. Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Berkeley, California offered a crochet group to pregnant mothers on bed rest to help them take their minds off of their stress and fears, while still allowing them to connect with other women going through the same experience.

People in therapy groups who are coping with grief, abuse and other difficult situations may find it easier to begin talking with others about a project they are working on before getting comfortable enough to talk about more personal issues. Even in less intense situations, it can be helpful to focus on knitting and crochet in a group.  These activities are great ice breakers and relaxing at the same time.

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Knitting and Crochet Relieves Stress and Depression in Caregivers

December 29th, 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 she stresses the importance of self-care for caregivers and offers suggestions for using yarncrafting to stay healthy. Read her previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.

caregiverMany of us are caregivers. The Family Caregiver Alliance reports, “44 million Americans age 18 and older provide unpaid assistance and support to older people and adults with disabilities”. Research shows that caregivers themselves are at high risk for a variety of health issues. Whether you are the parent of a special needs child, the adult child caring for an elderly parent with Alzheimer’s or the spouse of someone with a severe disability or chronic illness, it is critical that you make sure to take time for your own self-care. You cannot continue to help those you love if you aren’t first well yourself. Knitting and crochet can help.

Knitting and Crochet Reduce Depression

Caregivers are at major risk of developing depression. Various studies show that up to 70% of caregivers suffer from this condition. Knitting and crochet have both been proven to help reduce depression. Learn more here.

Craft Away Caregiver Stress

Stress is the major complaint of most caregivers. It leads to numerous other health concerns. The stress is totally understandable. You are worried about your loved one, concerned that you aren’t doing enough for them, dealing with medical care and making medical decisions, and probably trying to set your own personal issues aside to make theirs the priority. All of these things are stressful. Knitting and crochet significantly reduce stress. Learn about meditative crafting here.
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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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Quick Quiz! How Do Knitting and Crochet Make You Feel?

November 8th, 2014

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We’ve heard so many stories of how knitting or crocheting has helped people feel better.  Now’s your chance to weigh in and be counted. In this quick quiz you can tell us specifically what crafting with yarn has done for you.  We’re looking forward to hearing from you and to sharing what our community thinks.

If the form below does not work for you, please click here for the link.


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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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month… You Can Help Make a Difference

October 6th, 2014

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. About 1 in 8 US women (approx. 12%) will develop breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, so almost all of you are affected by breast cancer either directly or through someone you care about.

Throughout the month of October, Lion Brand Yarn Company will donate 20% of the purchase price of a selection of pink yarns (see below) and our Knit for Life and Crochet for a Cause Kits to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation®, while supplies last. BCRF’s mission is to advance the world’s most promising research to eradicate breast cancer in our lifetime. For more information about BCRF, please visit bcrfcure.org.

We’re proud to support BCRF because 91% of the money they raise goes to breast cancer research and awareness programs. They also understand the importance of prevention and they’re happy to share learning and helpful information from outside organizations such as this article from the Mayo Clinic, 9 breast cancer prevention tips from the Mayo Clinic.
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What To Do When Someone You Know Needs Comfort

September 15th, 2014

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Sometimes there is nothing you can actually do when someone you care about is going through a difficult time.  Perhaps a friend is grieving the loss of a loved one. Or, maybe you know someone who is suffering from a serious illness. As much as we’d like to, it isn’t always possible to do much. But there is value to letting that person know that she is cared for and supported.

That’s why so many people who knit or crochet have discovered how helpful it is to use their skills to create a physical sign of caring in the form of a comfort shawl.  A person who receives a handmade gift understands this. A shawl is like a warm hug.

And, there’s an extra benefit to giving something of yourself away. Why? Because it’s difficult to feel poor or deprived when you are giving. People who knit and crochet shawls to comfort others say that they feel better as well.

So, when there isn’t anything you can do to make things better for someone in need, there is something you can knit or crochet to offer comfort beyond words.

Here are a few patterns to inspire you when you want to knit or crochet a comfort shawl:

Simple Lace Shawl Crochet Tranquil Comfort Shawl Knit Heartfelt Shawl Crochet Daylight Tweedy Shawl
Knit Simple Lace Shawl Crochet Tranquil Comfort Shawl Knit Heartfelt Shawl Crochet Daylight Tweedy Shawl
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