Crochet as Meditation

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Crochet as Meditation

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Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo shares tips on meditating through crochet.

Crochet as MeditationI remember the first time that I tried formal meditation. I sat amidst a group of compassionate people with closed eyes who were letting go of all thoughts, focusing attention on their breath. I felt no compassion for myself as my monkey mind skittered about. I felt self-conscious about my constant twitching and resituating, certain I was irritating the peaceful beings around me. More than that, I simply didn’t enjoy the experience. My anxious mind raced into terrifyingly uncomfortable places. I left feeling that meditation is a great thing…for other people but not for me! Then I found crochet.

Crochet offers a chance to meditate in a way that many people find easier than sitting still in a room and focusing on the breath. Crochet is a relaxing, repetitive craft that can be done as a means to mindfulness. The combination of constant counting, gentle recurrent hand motions and focus on the work is a stress-reducer and a path to being present in the here-and-now.

Want to practice crochet as a form of meditation? Here are some tips:

  • Choose a project that requires only beginner skills, like a large granny square or a scarf made of only single crochet stitches.
  • Select a project that offers comfort in counting. For example, a scarf will let you count the same number of stitches again and again in each row.
  • Use a yarn color that feels comforting.
  • Work in a quiet, relaxed space.
  • Set an intention. At the beginning and end of the crochet project remind yourself what it is you want to achieve with meditative crochet. Celebrate the craft and celebrate yourself.

There is certainly something valuable to be found in formal meditation. However, it doesn’t work for all of us. In particular, people with mental health conditions including depression and anxiety may find it too difficult to simply sit on the cushion and watch the breath. We can use mindfulness crochet instead to bring ourselves back to the present moment, practicing compassion for ourselves and for others with each stitch.

What has been your meditation experience? How does crochet help?

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  • I crochet and knit prayer shawls. The repetitive simple stitches combined with intercessory prayer is calming and centering and in the end you have a beautiful useful gift to give to someone in need of prayer and a warm reminder of the prayers offered on their behalf.

    • I’m so glad that you and some others here are mentioning prayer shawls. I think that creating a project for someone else while practicing a specific prayer or intention is a terrific way to infuse that piece with a kind of love that the recipient will feel whenever they use the shawl! And yes, it is definitely a calming and centering practice!!

      • I totally love crocheting and do the same. I begin a piece and start praying for who I should give it to and then continue to pray for the person as I complete the project. There are days after a difficult day at work that all I want to do is go home and sit in my chair by the window and crochet and pray!

        • Isn’t it terrific to have something comforting like that to turn to on those rough days!

      • I just like to crochet, especially in the long winters where I live; so I have a number of great give-aways: The cancer centers always accept hats and our local hospital accepts shawls and both places will take afghans. These become gifts for people going through some of the most difficult days of their lives–I know because when we were in cancer treatment we received a quilt from a local quilting club. Cancer patients are often very cold and these gifts are really appreciated!

    • I know this may sound dumb but is there a prayer that goes with making prayer shawls?

      • My experience was to pray in the name of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit. I prayed for peace, comfort, love. The shawl was for a friend sitting with her terminally ill husband at the hospital. They had traveled from Florida to Mayo’s in Minnesota. I know she did not have winter clothes with her, and thought a shawl was appropriate. As it turned out, I finished the shawl the very day her husband died. I included a note with it, and she later told me that she still kept it thrown across her bed, as a reminder of him, and the love she felt from me at her time of loss.

        • How utterly beautiful, reading your post brought a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes. Whilst I was knitting a hat for the homeless I knitted my prayers into it. I prayed for them to feel love and kindness from it and that a path forward out of their situation would become clear and they’ll take it, moving into a more positive place. I’d occasionally close my eyes sending these prayers and thoughts deep into the hat.

      • Hello Tonda: There is a formal book out called Prayer Shawls. In this book they have a couple of sample of prayers. Also if your pattern is in a multiple of 3 stitches people often chant Father, Son and Holy Spirit and I choose Grandmother, mother, daughter or you could add the names of your faith leaders in it as well. Good luck.

        • There is a knitting stitch called ‘Trinity’ (three stitches in one and then one in three). It took a bit of getting used to ( as, for me, does any new stitch) for my fingers to memorize the sequence; counting, yes, but not demanding sequences. I could imagine some dear soul, maybe on the back pew of a church, holding her knitting and inwardly reciting, almost like a mantra, the Holy Trinity, or the Catholic Rosary (unless the preacher/priest were especially good); or sitting, working with the background thought of someone in need. There were times when I felt almost transported, as a good Yoga session takes one out of oneself and into a realm of calm and quiet. Of course,
          crochet can do it, too, many times in an even easier, more comfortable way…

        • there is a wonderful book entitled: “knitting into the mystery”….you can find it in any book store………also…….check out the web site……this is where I learned all about this most terrific plan to invite the crafters and minister to people who can benefit from the prayer shawls, lap robes…because I found that there were folks that did not fit into the prayer shawl need….we began prayer squares.. also…these have gone out to many many….locally and across the country…and they are little and able to be in someone’s pocket book, pocket, etc.,and be reminded that God loves them…..what a blessing….don’t you think it could even be called “a calling”…..and you know, so many folks who have received these gifts can actually feel the prayers….[their words]////
          Blessings….invite some frieds together….we pray during the month when we are making these gifts, then monthly when the completed gifts all come together….before they go on their way to men,women,children,etc.,

      • I don’t think it sounds dumb at all; it’s a great question!!

      • Yes, at one time about 6 years ago, I know there was a book of prayers to go along with the shawls. Check on Amazon. Maybe they will have it.

      • The prayer shawl ministry in our church adds a prayer to each shawl being given out. I also have a book of patterns that includes prayers for many occasions I would be happy to share some if you would like.

      • only the one you make. That’s why prayer shawls are fun.

  • I have found the crocheting during a sermon at church is a helpful way to keep my mind focused. I day dream much less now. The baby blankets I made will be donated to the church to give as needed.

    • Great point that crocheting during a sermon helps you stay focused. I have had discussions with people before about whether or not it’s appropriate to crochet in church. People who don’t understand it may find it rude but in actuality it’s a great way to keep the hands busy in order to relax the mind and actually be more present for the service.

      • In years past, such as Colonial times, knitting or crocheting in church was considered positively, as “idle hands are the devil’s workshop”. During the World Wars, knitting and crocheting in church supplied the troops. It’s only in recent times that just sitting came to be accepted. I knit or crochet everywhere, and explain that it helps me listen. When I can repeat everything in the conversation, critics usually calm.

        • Thanks so much for sharing that history!

        • Absolutely, needlework crafting offers all sorts of good things. For many years, patients in therapy, struggling with emotional dis-orders were encouraged to ‘make something’. Regular session times were set up for such therapy. Psychiatric nursing friends reported good results. And, how many of us older people remember dear relatives who simply could not sit with idle hands. Those people, even while at rest/sitting , continued to serve their families and households; and, oh, the lovely things they produced. I’m lucky enough to have some of their handiwork and still feel their productive and loving presence in every stitch…

      • I just can’t imagine what Father would think if he noticed someone crocheting during the homily! LOL! Maybe I’ll find out!

        • One of our priests found it distracting when someone was crocheting in church, but was soon calmed with the discovery that this was going to our homeless ministry. A homeless man or woman received many such gifts over the years and Father hasn’t had a word to say since.

    • I belong to the prayer shawl ministry at my church & our pastor has SPECIFICALLY given us permission to crochet (and/or knit) during worship.

    • My wife and I regularly knit or crochet in church. Not only does it help us to focus, but it makes visitors more comfortable on their first visit. A common comment is ” A church that allows people to knit /crochet during the service will accept anybody to join them” Some are even surprised to see a man doing it…

      • We have several men in our church who knit during the service. Many of us in the Prayer Shawl Ministry do that. Hats off to you, good sir!

      • I do crochet in church on occasion. When I do get the opportunity, I sit toward the back to avoid distracting others.

  • I also crochet and pray while making prayer shawls for our church program. For the past year, crocheting and praying have gone hand in hand while making other items as well, and have help me in dealing with some health issues connected to stress. An hour of crocheting before bedtime has now become the best way for me to clear my mind so I can sleep better at night.

    • Yes! I have struggled with insomnia my whole life and am super fascinated by the research I’ve found about how calming activities including crochet can help with sleep. As an addition to that thought, a lot of times insomnia is associated with stress so if you crochet throughout the day as a stress reliever then you may reduce problems with sleeping at night.

      • LOL, you can bet it’s better than a lullaby or bedtime story and surely better than a tv program. I have fallen asleep with the hook in my hand and yarn wrapped around my index finger ! ! ! I also pray over my projects.

        • I’ve also done the same – MANY times!

  • Very interesting. I especially like the idea of crocheting for an hour at night to calm the mind.

    • What a luxury, too, to treat yourself to that hour of me-time for crochet each day!!

  • I used to crochet when taking classes all the time. It allowed me to focus better. I’d put it down when taking notes. Always checked with teachers first so they wouldn’t be insulted.

    • Similar to what mjtulips said above I definitely think that crocheting helps you focus better so that you can actually be more present in various situations. I think this can be true for a lot of people but is especially true if you are someone who deals with a condition like anxiety where your mind can get the best of you if you’re not on top of it! I do think that asking teachers first (or lecturers or whoever it is) is a nice courtesy because it helps them understand that you’re doing this to be more present, not less present!

    • I do the same thing in meetings. I think I hear better when my hands are occupied. I have yet to have a presider object.

  • I’ve thought this for a long time. Through either knitting or crocheting it’s possible to get in to a peaceful zone. So relaxing and at the same time you feel your time well spent in what you’re creating.

    • Yes, great point here (and from Robin below as well) that crafting is a great avenue towards relaxation that ALSO helps you feel productive! This is something that I’ve heard a lot of people talk about in reference to how they crochet through chronic illness … there’s sometimes not a lot they can do to feel useful because they are ill and this really leads to depression and low self-esteem but then they find that they can do their crochet or other crafting and this helps rebuild that self-esteem.

  • I so understand this! I have depression and when I try to sit to mediate I feel like I’m being lazy. But when I sit and knit I know I’m making something so I feel productive. I’ve made prayer shawls and that makes me happy knowing its going to a good use. Thank you for this article. It means a lot to those of use with mental Heath issues thank you

    • I’m glad you mentioned the point about laziness because I forgot to include that point in the main article and it’s definitely something that a lot of people, especially with depression, will understand. Many times we feel unproductive if we are just sitting there, which can cause us further stress and an inability to calm down and “do nothing” but if we’re crafting then we feel productive and it facilitates the relaxation. Terrific point!

      • I use crafts as my form of medication for depression. It allows me to relax and keep my mind focused on something other than the issues going on in my head. Glad to hear that this isn’t the case for only myself.

        • Before I started doing the research for Crochet Saved My Life I wondered if I was the only one who crocheted to get through depression. Once I started talking about it I found out that there are many, many, many of us!!

          • After having the first surrogate baby 7 years ago and the 2nd two years ago, I had post partum depression on top of my clinical depression. I didn’t know what to expect afterwards and really couldn’t do anything but cry for months. It was a little comfort to knit something, anything. I did so many dishcloths that I ran out of people to give them to. I did so many scarves that my holiday gift list was seriously reduced. Socks were flying off the needles… I still have clinical depression and have thought of teaching knitting or crochet as therapy because it helps me and sometimes I zone out so well that my daughter has to come over and touch my arm for me to realize that she said something to me πŸ™‚ I am also a Veteran and I believe that this could help with PTSD symptoms as well.

          • .I am also a Veteran with PTSD and depression and have found that knitting and crochet help me to relax and help to ease my symptoms. Keeping my hands busy and my eyes on my work certainly helps to avoid stressors such as traffic when riding.

    • God bless you. I always feel like I have to “be doing something” — almost to the point of thinking I’m hyper or something is wrong with me. I retired a month ago and I’m very energetic but sometimes I daydream of just going outside and sitting in the shade and do NOTHING — but I can’t. So, I take a simple pattern with me and you’d be surprised at the “sounds of nature” you can hear out there that you might otherwise overlook and miss totally.

  • Been crocheting since I was 17yrs old, self-taught. Started with basic squares and rectangles and in 6yrs gradutated to everything under the sun, unique patterns, creating my own…20yrs later it is still the best way to relax and gives such a sense of accomplishment when you create something beautiful and unique to gift to someone!~!!

    • Another terrific point … there is a positive feeling not only during the meditative and creative process of actually making the item but then again when you are able to gift it to someone. It’s a gift that you give to yourself and to someone else at the same time!!

  • My Fiance is a recovering drug addict. Knitting and crocheting have helped me clear my mind and find temporary peace through his active addiction as well as center myself on me and work through aspects of my own recovery. Of course lace projects aren’t overly suited!

    • Thanks so much for sharing this little bit of your story Kate. Crochet is actually used a lot in treating various kinds of addiction including substance abuse issues. (It helps keep the hands busy, provides a positive distraction, helps build self-esteem and provide a sense of accomplishment and even facilitates group therapy in substance abuse centers). But we don’t hear nearly as many people talk about being in a relationship with someone who has those issues (and the co-dependency feeling that can come along with that even if you are mentally healthy yourself) … crochet can definitely be an amazing tool for re-centering yourself, re-focusing on yourself and staying calm in the midst of someone else’s storm.

  • I just shared your blog on meditation with my customers on my facebook page, and I added one more tip and that is to pray for someone else while crocheting or knitting as a way to clear your mind of your own problems.

    • Thanks! I’ll make sure to pop over and take a look. I think you’ve made a great point about taking your mind off of your own problems through crafting and prayer for others!!!

  • I love this! I like to pick a nice repetitive pattern on stressful days. I get into a rhythm for each stitch, counting the motions rather than the stitches–no worrying about losing count then. It is very relaxing. Sometimes if I am having trouble sleeping at night, I will picture myself crocheting as a way to force racing thoughts out of my head.

    In general, though, I find crocheting helps me focus on other things more, as long as I don’t have to look up from my project. It takes just enough of my attention to keep me from wandering away from the point.

    • What I love about what you’ve said here is that it really highlights how the same person can use corhcet in different ways for various benefits … to get more relaxed, to help with insomnia, to increase focused attention … It’s amazing, isn’t it?! I think the more tuned in we are to ourselves and what we need, the more we can figure out how to use crafting to help us meet those needs!

  • I crochet for many years ago a nd a few years ago I worked
    a graveyard shift …so we (another lady taught) decided to make ear covers to fit the headsets that we wore ..and had to share for work…girls loved them and must have sold a hundred pairs! Had to quit as our boss got in trouble from a higher up!

    • It’s too bad that the boss’s bosses didn’t understand that there were actually some great positive benfeits for you as workers doing the crochet together. I’m sure you not only relaxed but also fostered a positive bond between all of you that was actually conducive to a more pleasant work environment!

  • You have hit on the reason that crochet works for me in controlling panic. i never would have thought of putting the term “meditation” on it, but that is what I tend to do. It’s also the reason i always choose basic patterns that require little concentration.
    Love the way it reduces stress calms my mind. Wonderful!!

    • Absolutely! Crochet is a terrific tool for dealing with anxiety including panic attacks. It’s even been known to help reduce the symptoms of asthma attacks when the cause is related to panic. I think it does help to think of it in terms of a form of meditation … not only is it useful for us but I’ve found that explaining it this way to others helps people have a little bit more respect for our need to take that time out to crochet. Very few people would say “what a waste of time to meditate” but might say “what a silly hobby to crochet …” so framing it in this new way helps people respect it more.

  • When I crochet, I consider every stitch a prayer for the recipient, including myself. I crochet at work. It helps me focus on my job and relaxes me. (Actually, I’ll crochet almost anywhere!)

    • I think it’s great that you’ll crochet in all different kinds of places! It can help us individually in so many different settings and seeing you do it might inspire others to try it as well!

  • I really like this article. I’ve been unemployed and because of that I’ve been rather down, so I’ve been crocheting to get my mind clear and stay calm. It’s allowed me to make items and I can sell them to help make ends meet.

    • I am so sorry to hear that you’re dealing with unemployment but so glad to hear that you are finding crochet to be a positive way to deal with the situation. I totally understand. I’ve had a surprising number of people share their story with me that is very similar. In fact, you might be inspired to read the story of Em in my book Crochet Saved My Life. (Don’t mean to give a shameless plug there – you can get the gist of her story from a page on the site: Basically, Em was in her 50s and dealing with unemployment and really fell into a deep depression as more and more time went on without her getting a job … but she used crochet to help her out of the depression and ultimately to make a modest income through her Etsy store. True story.

  • […] Edited the title when I found this article:)Crochet as Meditation. […]

  • I like the idea of crochet/ knitting as mediation. I have also tried meditation. I find guided meditation or walking meditation more effective for me. I need & crave motion. No wonder I fell- in-love w both knitting & crocheting.

    Since, I was little I’ve been the kind of person who would do something & then move on to the next thing, hardly slowing down until my head hit the pillow. That is very taxing on a body after 40 years. Now, I use it as a way of making myself sit down & rest w/o feeling like I am wasting time. Sitting down for a while & then (eventually) having a finished product is just so satisfying. Not to mention, when I finally get something resembling the sample picture! Woo-hoo. I can rest, relax & satisfy my sense of accomplishment. As a SHM it’s sometimes hard to feel accomplished when your home duties are never really “done.”

    Crochet & knitting as meditation sounds great, however, I like having the TV on or sometimes I listen to books on my Kindle or my favorite podcasts while I work w yarn. It really depends on what I have going on w my projects. If it’s too complicated then it’s just music or the kind of thing I work on at Starbucks. I actually end up doing the finishing of many projects while waiting at doctor’s offices. Then I don’t have to carry lots of stuff, just hide those ends.

    Maybe by the time my crochet or knitting gets to be the kinda thing I can w/o looking, maybe I can turn into a mediation.

    • I can really relate to your 2nd paragraph. Only after 55 years I found crocheting and every year thereafter, I enjoy so much when I have crocheting and/or knitting to help me “sit down and rest.” When I was younger I just used to go, go, go. But now I have to give in sooner to a rest. I love this whole article. I was never able to sit and meditate either. But I can sit and I just love these crafts and I am so proud of the finished products.

      I remember my grandmother used to crochet, but I never thought to ask her to teach me. So now when I crochet I feel as though she’s with me smiling that after all these years we share this pleasure.

  • Not just crochet. I am recovering from a traumatic brain injury. Part of my rehab at the beginning was to knit simply so that I would sit still and allow my brain to heal. While I am left with a multitude of permanent injuries, the one constant is my knitting. I knit for women undergoing chemo…a minimum of one hour per day…prayer shawls, afghans, chemo caps. My friends and family all have new scarves and hats. I know that I have improved tremendously with this activity and I KNOW that to give it up now will set me back…significantly. My motto is that every stitch includes an ounce of love. Wrap yourself into your gift and enjoy. It helped me and it will help you!

    • I am beginning to be able to knit again after a concussion and find that it is a way of celebrating progress in my recovery. It’s up and down, but also helps to calm the frustration of the brain fog.

  • I am a member of a payer shawl ministry in my church…group is 5 years old. We pray for the person who will receie the item, be it knitted or crocheted…a prayer of our choice that asks God to be present to the receiver of the gift and for them to experience peace, healing or whatever they need…many are given to parishioners or to whom someone requests…At our monthly meeting, we all say a prayer over each gift before it goes on it’s way…we ake prayer shawls, prayer laprobes, prayer baby blankets, prayer squares….which also are given to local hospital and other places of need. We believe that God answers prayers and prayer touches all….We are humbled by the responses we receive….love is the answer….God loves us and we do in our simple way a sign of that love to others….an ironed on label is attached to each gift as a reminder of prayer coming to them….we are all blesed. thank you for letting me share with you this most rewardin ministry.

  • I have a large granny square project at my desk at work that I work on at lunch. It helps me to de-stress from the morning and become refreshed for the afternoon. I also crochet to help lose weight as it keeps my head and hands busy when I’m watching TV – therefore i don’t eat out of boredom.

  • I saw this blog and thought wow I can relate!! Crocheting has been an escape for me. When loved ones or someone special has passed away in my life, I crochet alot. I am ADHD and it does help center my mind, while I figure out problems. When I get angry or am hurt I crochet alot. What I really enjoy is crocheting as we wait for a new ne to come into this world. It really keeps me from going crazy! I crochet almost everywhere. I have not taken it to church yet not sure how that would be received. It does go everywhere else with me. Crocheting helps!!

  • I am among a growing group of women who crochet (and knit) in our church during services. It occupies a part of my mind and allows the rest of me to relax. I have one favorite blanket ‘recipe’ from the Linus Project that repeats the same 3 stiches. I also do the same at live music concerts. I imagine all the music and good thoughts being captured by the yarn to become part of the blanket.

    • Hi, I’d LOVE to have that 3-stitch repeat recipe ! ! ! I have thought “What would they think if I crocheted during the sermon?” and haven’t done it yet. Perhaps I’ll take a seat in the back and try it out. I just hope some wandering 3 year old doesn’t walk up to me and say loudly, “What are ya’ doin’?” LOL…

  • So agree with the idea of crochet as meditation, the chance of creating something that is so satisfying, choosing the colours that sit just right, sometime my mind just flies away with amazing thoughts. Always been a big fan of crochet, but recently much more so. I suppose since I read Crochet Saved my Life!!!


  • Knitting can also be very helpful as you want to meditate.

  • Crochet is definitely my therapy. There are times when the ‘mojo’ is gone but I love it when it returns. I find colors help in the healing process. There are some colors that will bring harsh energy and others that will bring light energy.

    If you use crochet as mediation then choosing colors that make your spirit sing will help you take advantage of the healing aspects of repetitive action aka counting stitches.

  • Totalmente de acuerdo, a mi me pasa lo mismo, no logro relajarme y sentirme comoda con la meditacion, no asi cuando comienzo un proyecto logro abstraerme y dsifrutar la experiencia

  • I started graduate school recently and the constant struggle between needing to read and wanting to crochet has grown into a full scale battle. In an attempt to quell this battle I decided one day to alternate…I read for a chapter and then crocheted for a awhile…then read…then crocheted. It started as a way to balance work and play, but I found that I retained more of what I was reading because I was giving my mind the space to really digest it and then come to a peaceful state before I started attempting to cram more knowlege into it.

  • I love your description “my monkey brain” – can I borrow it?? I go in so many different directions sometime my left brain much more active than my right brain – that the monkey bars were my favorite recess place and the slide! Sewing is my favorite “hobby” – but anything with materials, yarns, cloth smoothness, weaves and the variety of textures can settle me down. I have not really been into meditation, as such, but I do know, getting a good hook and yarn together can be no greater joy and relaxation of the mind. Now, to put this into practice more often!


  • I love to crochet, it is relaxing and not only do I get to meditate I also help myself from rading the refrigerator. I have depression, OCD, anxiety, and I find it rewarding to crochet especially when I conquer a new difficult pattern. It helps the self-esteem like no one knows.

  • Funny! I literally had a conversation last night with some people about how I found crocheting or knitting to be my form of meditation. The slow movements, counting and thought put into each item was much like meditation for me and you have something to show for it when you’re done!

  • I always tell people that crocheting is my stress reliever. The more stressed I am, the more projects I complete! I was getting my car serviced and it took 4 hours. Fortunately, I had enough yarn to complete an entire poncho.

  • I am 25 weeks pregnant with my first baby. I crochet all sorts of little things for her and use crochet as a way to relax and connect with her. Feeling her movements and concentrating on the pattern, it’s so simple but very rewarding. Every stitch brings me closer to her and relaxes me in the most peaceful ways. I look forward to passing on such a rewarding skill.

  • Great comments and I agree with them

  • I love crocheting. I like doing simple stitches when watching TV and complicated ones to keep my mind busy. I HATE meditation and prayer. It makes me want to leap out and choke the instructor saying “clear your mind”. Thank you for putting your thoughts out there.

  • I definitely have found crochet meditative…more so than knitting although I love to knit. When I am worried, anxious, angry or sad, I can turn to crochet for comfort.

  • I couldn’t agree more! Though I’ve never been to a formal meditation session, I know that I would be the disrupting person in the room, too. I love crocheting (and cross-stitching) and have always thought it was very relaxing. I am currently crocheting a blanket for my husband. I’m not sure if it’s the softness of the yarn, the rhythmic motion, the coziness of the blanket as it gets larger or a combination of all three, but I get so relaxed while I’m working on it that, sometimes, I start to fall asleep! πŸ™‚

  • I crochet for an hour before I start my work day and during meetings so I focus on what is being said and the items are donated to make a wish thru a friend. It is a great way to gain composure when you need to let the mind rest and the body.

  • I am so glad to hear so many say they crochet or knit in church. I asked our pastor for permission before doing so and he had no objections. I also find it helps me pay attention to his sermons. I also crochet or knit in long meetings for the same reason. I’ve had a few objections but they are put to rest when the presider sees me take notes and participate with comments, etc. Working with fiber has always left me with a peaceful, calm feeling of wellbeing.

    My mother recently passed away after a stroke. While in the palliative care unit before her death, the staff gave her a small afghan crocheted by a volunteer and I believe it had a soothing effect for Mom. Her burial request was that she be dressed comfortably and covered with an afghan that I had crocheted for her many years ago. I was honored that she wanted to spend eternity snuggled in that blanket that was infused with so much love!
    So our knitting and crocheting isn’t just “busy work” – it has profound effects on us as we create and profound effects on those who receive our work. πŸ™‚

  • I learned to crochet at the age of eight when I pestered my Grandmother to teach me until she gave in. I have crocheted in high school in order to make gifts for teachers, made wedding presents, afgans as presents for my grandchildren, table scarfs for my self and others. I have made so many baby blankets, hats and other baby items that I cannot remember how many. It has been a delight to make each and every one. Sometimes I think that is the only way I have kept from going out of my mind during my childrens growing up years. I miss my Grandmother every day but thank the Lord every day that I pestered her to teach my all those years ago.

  • Thank you, I always feel like there is something wrong with me when I am listening to groups of women talking about meditation, same with yoga. Tried them, hated them.
    I love crochet, it keeps me sane and I love that there is no limit to what I can create.

  • I just moved to the Spokane Valley. So meditating is something I do all the time. I love to knit and
    crochet. I too suffer from anxeity and depression, I’m going to mediknit and crochet like mad. πŸ™‚

  • I knit dishcloths and washclothes as Christmas presents and hostess gifts with the same calming meditation intent. The simple repitition and stitch counting certainly relieves stress. And the small size of the project ensures portability when I have to be in a “waiting room” situation.

  • I knit and crochet in the presence of my husband who is an anxious individual. He tells me that just watching me knit or crochet calms him. So now I know that both of us receive benefits from this activity.

  • I love crocheting and have for many decades – fashionable or not. You’re so right, it is relaxing and really settles the brain after a busy day. Since there are only so many crochet gifts you can make for friends, I crochet scarves and give them away to homeless shelters, a local elementary school and women’s shelters. They are always appreciated and I don’t know if those receiving them realize that they also keep me sane…

  • I wrote a blog post about this very thing 5 years ago.

  • Hi all! Crochet saved my life too. I had an aneurysm last year that was located where a very small percentage survive. Also an even smaller percentage of the survivors have minor complications and injuries, I was blessed that way. After several weeks in the ICU I was stepped down to a more normal hospital stay. I began to get restless as I healed and had a friend bring me yarn and hook. I foulme some yarn and a book. I couldn’t remember how at first but kept trying

  • I was just saying last evening to my church’s knitting/crochet group that I find knitting and crocheting simple patterns to be similar to praying the rosary. There is something soothing and mind clearing about it. This is so important in this times when everything is so fast paced. It helps you to focus on what is important in life. Five years ago I developed inflammatory arthritis and couldn’t do a lot, but I could use my hands. I picked up a half done afghan and finished crocheting it. I hadn’t crocheted or knitted regularly for years. It has been beneficial in dealing with the pain and frustration of my illness. Many of the things I make are gifts or charity items. It really lifts you up to have something you can do well and share with others.

  • I live near an Air Force Base and we have been making small prayer afghans that the USO ladies pass out to the troops deploying from here to the dessert countries . The planes are very cold and the dessert gets very cold at night. They tell the ladies that they are so great full to have them because they can use them as pillows on the flight over and roll them up in their packs to keep them with them. One young man was even glad to take the last one the USO had that was bright pink. It’s very comforting to me to make these prayer blankets. Good way to relieve stress

  • Sitting and watching my favorite TV show while crocheting is a most productive way to “veg out”. I have produce well over 100 watch hats, numerous scarfs and a multitude of afghans over the last 3 plus decades of crocheting.

  • I’m so with you! I took a yoga class and all I could think about is what I could be doing if I wasn’t staring at the ceiling. I often crave the rhythm of crochet. It’s not always about the project but just the doing, the calming rhythm. I find this is a good time to crochet simple scarves to give away to local shelters making this time not only a calming experience but also a “feel good” experience.

  • Dear Kathryn,
    I am grateful to discover that other people feel like me about meditation and crocheting. I could never meditate sitting in a room with other people concentrating on my breath, I just feel ridiculous. But crocheting in a silent room or with soft music balance and relax my mind, and help me to enter a magic world.
    Thank you very much for sharing your experience and for your advices

  • Thank you. This is a sensitive, well-thought-out, and articulate expression of what crochet can do. I find that my mind is thinking all the time, sometimes racing, but crocheting helps to calm and soothe me, especially when I making something for a loved one or for a charity.

  • I too am involved in a prayer shawl ministry and I spend one hour in the morning before I get out of bed (my bag is beside my bed) and often another hour before bed at night if I couldn’t put in the hour in the morning. The accompanying prayer might be Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Pray for them (or me or us). It is a repetition of 3 to match the stitches as in the original prayer shawl books. Lately I have also joined a world wide group making square for aids orphans in South Africa (called Knit-a-Square) and it generally takes me one hour to make a square. This is also a prayerful, calming time that sets me up for the day. For whatever reason we do it, knitting and crocheting helps calm our inner spaces and creates a wonderful outcome for someone too.

  • This conversation is wonderful! I learned to knit in my high school home ec class. A friend of my teacher sat in the classroom nearly every day knitting. Come to find out, her husband and son had been killed in a car accident. She said knitting kept her sane. I think of her often, as I’ve been calmed through my knitting also. I crochet, too, and both work the same magic. I haven’t knitted or crocheted during church, but I’ve often wished I felt free to do so. My husband would be embarrassed. Maybe we could just not sit toghter. πŸ™‚

  • I agree that for me crocheting is both relaxing and calming. I can let the world around me disappear when I pick up my crochet hook to make something special for someone in mind and my mind only concentrates on the project at hand and I can sit for hours crocheting and I’m quite relaxed when I take a break. My family can’t believe that I can sit so long but to me it’s relaxing – far better than TV. I can also listen to a tv program with my husband glancing up occasionally and keep crocheting without missing a stitch. It calms me enough that if I crochet after supper it will make me more relaxed and ready for sleep.

    • I always keep several projects going at once with different degrees of difficulty so that I have just the right one to work on for my mood or needs at the time. At least one of my projects is usually a baby afghan which I donate to a charity that gives layettes to new mothers who are needy. I feel better about watching TV or sitting thru meetings if I’m also do something productive. And I agree that it’s calming. People always say “Oh, I wouldn’t have the patience to do that,” but if only they’d try they’d find out how relaxing it is.

  • Thank you for such a wonderful article. I started making chemo hats a few months ago that I am donating. It is a wonderful way for me to relax and clear my head as I under go treatment for multiply myeloma with the possibility of going into City of Hope for a stem cell transplant. Crocheting has been such a terrific ‘tranquilizer’ and it is addictive in a very nice healthy creative way.

  • I haven’t learned to crochet yet but I have been knitting for several years and find it really helpful in times of stress. Prayer shawls are a sweet way to show love for someone and deal with your angst at the same time. A double gift.

  • I crochet while watching the Rosary & Divine Mercy on EWTN. I make afghans for friends & family members while saying my prayers.

  • Thank you and bless you for this message. I too did not succeed using the formal methods of meditation. However I have often found that I settle best if I am crocheting something and do feel more relaxed when it is done as I know it can go to someone else if needed. I can even crochet myself or sometimes knit myself to sleep if need be. Thank you again for this post and have a magnificent day.

  • For several years now I’ve been practicing Christian meditation, that is, meditating on a small portion of scripture often in silence. Being still and listening in this way has helped me to quieten down inside, and helped me cope with some health issues, I’ve recently started crotcheting again in my 50’s after learning as a child from my mother. It’s been a wonderful discovery and very relaxing. I’m making squares of different patterns (current doing some tunisian crochet squares) to make an afghan eventually. I am concurrently making another small blanket with a very simple stitch pattern, which is very relaxing to do. I never thought of linking crochet and meditation, but I can combine both now! .

  • Crocheting actually lowers my blood pressure! If I have a particularly bad day, I can pick up my yarn and crochet hook, and relax away! I never make a project with someone in mind, but inevitably, when I finish a project, there’s always someone to give it to.

  • I have been going through a stressful time lately. A friend gave me some yarn and a hook and I started making a granny square. It has grown and grown and helped me to focus. The colours, the softness, the warmth, the repetition, and the love that my friend showed for me has helped SOOOO much! I call it my “stress relief blanket”.

  • I have had a love affair with my hooks, my sticks, and the fibers I choose. For me it is not only calming and meditative but it connects me to my grandmothers in a tangible way now that they have both gone to be with Jesus. As a child I would sit and watch my Granny make magic with a few scraps of yarn and a hook or set of sticks. That “magic” was later lost to me for a great number of years. When I regained this most amazing skill, I vowed to never stray for long. Now, approaching my 40’s, I find that this craft also helps me to feel young, as I am able to conjure up memories from my early youth – each time I feel the varied texture of fibers I have at my disposal to create that same kind of magic my Granny made. Recently I have also used this skill as a way of getting to know others in the neighborhood I just moved into- hoping to create “community” centered on teaching and sharing this love of mine. Crochet and knitting are truly my lifeline!

  • I couldn’t survive without crocheting. A half hour before bed helps me sleep. Crocheting while watching tv keeps me from eating too much. I truly believe that crocheting has helped keep me sane and helped me lose the 70 pounds that I’ve lost. And I expect to continue crocheting to finish losing the last 40 pounds to reach my weight loss goal. I make baby blankets for my pregnant coworkers. It’s gotten to where when someone finds out a baby is coming in their family, they come find me and put in a request. I’ve been putting scarves up for sale on ETSY. Added emotional boost when something sales!

  • THIS combined with new medication has finally quieted the OCD of my mind. I cant tell you how much crochet helps me!

  • I teach crochet these days and all having fun and the ladies are finding it really relaxing. They say its their meditation time..we are .in New Zealand

  • My knitting has helped me deal with my son’s mental illness. When he was having serious problems, he felt comforted by having me in the room. It was torture for me to sit there watching him in pain, and knitting kept me calm enough to give him what he needed, a calm reassuring presence to help him keep hold on reality.

  • I knit prayer shawls and I find that a fairly simple pattern done in a pleasing color that I like is very relaxing.

  • […] to @lionbrandyarn for allowing me to do a guest post on the topic of crochet as meditation. Pop over to see my tips and share your thoughts about the healing benefits of crochet. And thanks […]

  • Whenever I am told to be aware of my breathing I panic and feel like I can’t breath. This causes me to take quick and shallow breaths. It is NOT relaxing. Crochet is my relaxing. Even a complicated piece is calming because of the sense of accomplishment. Sure did help with raising children.

  • I’ve read and agree with every comment here. I too am self-taught. Decided 45 years ago, when I was newly married, that if I wanted to sit and be with my new husband on the couch in evenings, while he watched his favorite college sports team I HAD to do something! His wonderful Mother showed me an “Irish Rose” pattern, and even made a sample square for me look at, so I could get the “hang” of it. To date I’ve made many, many doilies (from old 1940’s pattern books), and almost 100 afghans and include with each one an article called I found in an old Southern Living magazine called “The threads of Love.” I have found crocheting a wonderful stress reliever, during many family crisis. It also helps me sleep.

    And meditation, and prayer for the person receiving the afghan are a must. “A prayer for every stitch”. My hooks and my yarn stash is my place of comfort and solitude. After all these years, my hands are starting to show some serious signs of arthritis, and crocheting hurts sometimes, especially when I’ve been away from crocheting for awhile. Thank you Kathryn for your most comforting article, and thanks too to everyone who commented with their thoughts.

  • I love the concept of crochet as a form of mediation. I am just completing radiation treatments for breast cancer.I have made crocheting part of my therapy. It both distracts and calms me

  • I crochet 10 inch granny squares in varying shades of pink. These are sewn together into rugs to be given to women having chemo for breast cancer. Here in Australia pink is the colour for fundraising by the McGrath Foundation which was formed in memory of Jane McGrath the wife of a well known cricketer. Money raised goes to have special nurses who stay with a patient during the length of her treatment.

  • I lost my dad in 2001 to pancreatic cancer. I was so devastated that the Lord lead me into crocheting again. I really hadn’t crocheted since I was a child. As I began to crochet, all of the pain an toxicity came out of me through the crocheting process. I must admit, the first blanket I crocheted looked like a spider’s web, but as I continued, the process helped me to get happy and celebrate my father’s life and remember that I would see him again. Thank you for reminding me the power of prayer and crocheting.

  • In 2011 I used simple knitting to recover from viruses and a mini stroke. The level of concentration required was enormous. It took 90 minutes to do what now takes me 20 minutes. As I recovered I returned to crocheting and used the meditative aspect to make chemo rugs for some friends. I am currently recovering from shoulder surgery and am using simple crocheting to calm my mind. It is great for insomnia and much better than counting sheep

  • Thank you for these tips. I also crochet prayer shawls, but I find myself wanting to try new stitches and other complicated things that draw me away from the meditative aspect of these crochet projects. I need to remember that it is the prayers offered that are more important that intricate stitches.

  • This is without a doubt, the loveliest, most positive thing I have ever read in a very, very, long time. It’s makes me feel so good to know there are such beautiful souls out there giving of their time and talent and doing it quietly and one stitch at a time. Not because they are looking for recognition or reward or some kind, but because it is a good thing to do. Keep up the good work. I started knitting stocking caps this last year for a charity that distributes them to chemo patients across the U.S. and every time I complete one, I feel like I am the one that is being helped. I think it’s true that in giving, we receive. I always thought I needed to have a “formal” prayer but I like the idea that a short mantra is a form of prayer as well. I am going to download this article and keep it with my project so I can look at it from time to time when I’m not having a good day or when I am feeling sorry for myself.

  • Some time ago I began spontaneously to meditate while crocheting. Because of my belief system I am calmed by prayer; so I recite a prayer mentally in rhythm with my stitches. This practice provides a wonderful exercise in focus on the NOW. I highly recommend it. I’m really glad this aspect of crochet is being publicized!

  • I feel blessed to have this passion for crochet! Have been wanting to start a prayer shawl and I have put it off….will start one now…glad you mentioned it…Happy Hooking

  • I to think of crocheting as a relaxing thing to do. It is one of my “therapies” to wind down and not think of all the things I should be doing Making things for friends and family brings me great joy and pleasure. I hope I will always be able to crochet.

  • A lovely article! I have been crocheting since college, about 40 years ago. Not only is it theraputic for the rheumatoid arthritis in my hands, but I used it to stress down after a busy day/week in the mortgage business. You are right. You sit and count and then repeat and count and repeat and the gentle flow lets you breathe and blank your mind. Sometimes I would watch a movie I had seen before or listened to music or an audio book. Sometimes just quiet. I am the oldest of 7 and have 9 nieces and 2 great nieces and 1 great nephew. They all have afghans and there were plenty of gifts too. I even made one for me after awhile.

  • I crochet as I ‘watch’ tv. It is better for my peace of mind and for my tendency to munch.

  • Crochet and knitting both help me to relax and focus. Not only that but when I craft regularly my general mood is much better. But when I don’t give myself the time to sit with my projects I get anxious, irritable and panicky.

    There’s nothing better than a simple pattern to help sooth a worried mind.

  • This is so amazing….it is as if I’m reading my own words here…I have always said this to people that have admired my crochet as to how calming and relaxing this craft is….it is as if one were meditating without having to sit still in one place with eyes closed. I started crocheting when I was pregnant which fall of 2011 and since then every chance I got I would pick up my hook. It was seriously therapeutic during pregnancy and kept my mind off the discomforts…plus I made cute stuff for my baby when she came…and other little ones as gifts…
    For sometime Recently due a lot of personal turmoil i had given up crocheting…it was almost as if I could not touch the yarn and the hook. But now after about 6 months I am back to my meditation and prayers with crochet….making premie beanies to donate…I love it and always thank the craft….

    Happy Crocheting!!!!!!

  • This is a wonderful article to which i can relate and tried an eastern meditation almost forty yrs ago and it only increased my stress and anxiety. When Christ came into my life, I left the meditation behind me and learned to find peace in prayer and the bible. God has used crochet and knitting in a huge way to gain calmness and healing. It helps me focus and quiet a busy mind or break the cycle of worry. If the pattern is too difficult, I try something easier so I don’t get too frustrated. Everyone in my immediate family and some older living family now has an afghan, so I’m finally making one for me and my husband. Often it makes me feel closer to my mom gone now 7 yrs. She was an inspiration as she could crochet or knit almost anything.

  • For sometime I have used crocheting as a means to relax. Then I discovered a group that made prayer shawls and turned my crocheting efforts into prayer and instead of counting I would include a brief prayer with each group of stitches I would make and offer it up for the person who would be wearing the shawl. Quite comforting!

  • […] Brand Yarn posted a piece about Crochet as Meditation on their blog. It was an interesting and article and gave tips about how to purposefully approach […]

  • Thank you for this article. I love to crochet to take my mind off things. Like many others I make prayer shawls for my church, hats for homeless veterans, and too many gifts for others to count. I just love the idea that I can take a simple piece of yarn and make something useful and beautiful.

  • I also feel that crocheting is a form of meditation. I read a newsletter from a conservative Christian writer that she felt that simply meditating would leave the heart and mind vulnerable to attacks from Satan. But to keep the hands occupied can prevent bad things from creeping into us. Prayer shawls are a good thing and I have made a commitment to making afghans this year and find it very refreshing to crochet. It renews my spirit and opens my heart to God.

  • I feel like was written just for me. I realized a long time ago when I am getting overwhelmed, I can sit and crochet a special, simple, double-stranded slipper pattern and my thoughts get organized within a few rounds. I never thought to appreciate it until I read this. I am one that cringes at the thought of lying still during meditation or a massage. Thank you so very much for enlightening me.
    Paula, a psych nurse in a very busy ER. Many crafty people do have a touch of OCD or else nothing but the basic necessities would get done. We are a rare supportive breed.

  • Making big blankets…. especially one I just finished. It’s a wave pattern with vintage-y blue, ivory, and navy blue stripes, made with very soft, plush yarn. Plus it kept me warm while I worked on it πŸ™‚

  • Oh my I have felt like that for years. My husband doesn’t understand. Thanks for showing him I am not the only who feels like this………Crochet on ………………. Margie

  • I love this so much! I didn’t really realize other people saw it as meditating too. It has calmed my anxiety a lot. it doesn’t fix it, but I can sit silently and make squares and feel so at peace with my self. Every time I try to meditate my brain fills with nonsense. I honestly don’t know how to shut my mind up lol. Crocheting does that.
    Great article!

  • […] pains. As we stitch together our connection to this other person through intentional prayer, the meditative action calms us. Our hearts open up through the work of our hands and we feel safe and loved […]

  • I crochet and knit shawls – just the basic rectangular ones for prayer shawls. I personally don’t care for a point that I have to contend with when I sit so I figure others may feel the same. I love the comfort feel of Homespun. The shawls I have given away have brought comfort and warmth to their recipients. I get a sense of peace when I work on a shawl.

  • Thank you for talking about this! I have depression & anxiety, and also MS – it never occurred to me that these conditions could contribute to my complete failure at meditating. I knit prayer shawls, and I certainly do experience a prayerful quietness while doing so. I also belong to a prayer-shawl group; the friendships I am developing there are becoming a wonderful support system.

  • Thanks everyone for all that you’ve said. I had crocheted for many years in good and bad times but when my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer I found it difficult to crochet. I started many projects and then put them away as I couldn’t get to the centering stage. I tried on and off for years to get back into it but couldn’t seem to get the simplest stitch right. Just after the 11th anniversary of his death I spoke to my Doctor and she confirmed I was suffering from depression. Since then I’ve been on medication and had counselling. It all lead me back into being able to crochet again oh what joy. I’m now able to sit for hours crocheting, I don’t even need to count the stitches now I go into my self and not aware of what is going on around me. This used to happen before my husband got sick and he too used to have to touch my arm to get my attention. I’m so blessed to have got this pressure gift back again. Happy crafting to you all.

  • […] Crochet as Meditation […]

  • I crochet primarily for other people including baskets donated to raffles with baby stuff & blanket, or a collection of brightly colored scarves. I suffer from anxiety & depression and concentration on a project definitely relaxes my brain and things don’t bother me as much. I suffer from chronic pain also & the less I think about it, the Better! Great article!

  • I am bipolar and through the years I have found that crocheting is a great release of stress and works to keep my mind focused on something positive and you get a nice little gift in the end its a double reward!!

  • […] this time to meditate. This greatly relieves holiday […]

  • Meditation and mindfulness are very helpful for people with mental health issues.

  • […] Opportunity for mindfulness crochet […]

  • I crochet for premmie and newborn babies. While I’m crocheting I pray for the child who will wear the garment and for their families. This to me is a form of meditation. It takes me to another level of relaxation. It makes me forget all of my problems as I focus on the rhythm and the counting of the stitches. It keeps me focused on the here and now. The movement of the crochet hook, the counting, the satisfaction that I get as the garment takes shape and of course the completion. Knowing I have made something for someone I will never meet but that I have blessed with my time, patience and love.
    For the past 8 years my daughter has suffered from a severe mental illness and I have spent many long hours, days and nights sitting on a chair waiting for her to be treated or to come out of a coma. This has helped me worry less about the situation as I sit there crocheting instead of letting my mind focus on the medical interventions going on around me. Of course while I’m crocheting I’m praying that she recovers from the situation and of her illness. These are prayers that otherwise may not have been prayed if not for the calmness that crocheting has provided.
    I thank God every day for blessing me with the talent of crocheting. No pattern needed. Just a hook and some wool.
    Every morning I start my day with at least an hour of crocheting and more often than not it is the last thing I do before I go to sleep.

  • Choose yarn that feels good in your hands. I often knit with my eyes closed. I am not yet good enough to crochet with my eyes closed but someday I will be. Then the texture and softness of the yarn is doubly important. Nothing to see. Just the feel of your hands on the yarn and the hook or the needles. You may even find that a hook of a nice wood like birch or a bamboo hook feels particularly good in your hands or you may prefer the smooth feel of a good metal hook.

  • By the way, once you are comfortable with the motions of knitting or crochet, it is not that hard to transition to doing it with your eyes closed at least part of the time. Start by closing your eyes very briefly for the easiest movement then look to see if it went right. Practice just this momentary eye closing until this part is almost mistake free, and you 100 percent recognize by feel when it was not quite right. Open your eyes to check out the mistake when you make one, and then fix it. Only close your eyes for a little longer when you are ready in your own comfort zone to close them longer. One day you will notice that you almost never make mistakes with your eyes closed even for fifteen or more minutes at a stretch. Fantastic feeling. Yes I knit faster with my eyes open, but I get the best stress relief with them gently closed.

  • I asked my minister if he minded if I knit during the church service. He felt that knitting or crocheting during the service was entirely appropriate, recognizing that it is a meditation for many people, and that I make much of my knitting to give away, especially the pieces that I used to bring to church when I was able bodied enough to attend, which I am not at the moment but hope to be again in the not too distant future. That way, I pray through the service with the appropriate prayer for each part, so there is no need for me to have special prayers for that part of my knitting. It helps me focus on the service too.

  • I use crocheting to keep me patient when waiting for something. My mind relaxes and the rhyme is soothing.

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