Oh. My. Timelords.
It’s been longer than usual since my last blog post here at Two Hearts, and I apologize for that! As usual, life is kicking in to full gear for me, particularly with regards to my day job. Tomorrow marks the second busiest day of the year for me, so it’s going a roller coaster of a week so far trying to prepare for the chaos. I’m sure many of you can relate!
Earlier this week, I also had my womanly checkup (yuck).. Some of my readers may know from all of my past posts about dental work that I live with acute anxiety, which is usually triggered by the things in life that stress me out the most (driving, healthcare visits, unfamiliar social settings, etc.).
In an effort to calm myself before my appointment, I brought along a random crochet project from my WIP bin, arrived at the doctor’s office about 20 minutes earlier than needed, and got to work.
Crafters, it was the best (and least stressful!) doctors visit I have ever had.
And that, among other things, has prompted this particular blog post. I’ve been thinking a lot about just how much crochet has changed my life over the past six years. Seriously – you probably wouldn’t even recognize pre-crochet Alex. Even I don’t!
Today, I’m going to share with you six ways that crochet has changed my life, and how it could possibly change your life, too! I’m talking about making magic, helping your brain to be healthier, chasing your dreams, and so much more.
Ready? Let’s go!
#1) I’ve learned a new skill that others perceive as magic.
Okay, not everyone thinks it’s magic. But I still do! Sometimes I look at my finished products and think, “I seriously cannot believe I actually made that!”
I can’t tell you how many times my crochet work has been complimented by family, friends, crafters on the internet – and even by strangers at the grocery store! Most recently, I wore my Nerdy Cardi (coming soon, I promise!) to my eyebrow appointment, and it was met with so much wonder and appreciation from my brow gal and from everyone else within a 50-foot radius. She absolutely gushed over it, and when I told her I had made it, she didn’t believe me!
Compliments from strangers aside, it feels so great to make something with your own hands. And because so many people appreciate my “magical” skills, my crocheted gifts to family and friends are always well received. I love to give gifts, and giving handmade gifts is even better, because they bring pure joy to both the person receiving the gift and the person who made it.
How can crochet make your life better?
It can bring you a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment. It can help you take a pile of yarn and turn it into something amazing. It can make you a freaking wizard. (Okay, maybe not quite…)
#2) My brain is healthier. For real!
Research has shown that a healthy brain is one that engages in puzzles and problem solving. Now, I’m not a big Sudoku person. I don’t like puzzles. I don’t care for riddles. And honestly, I am not very good at math.
Now, I’m not saying that crochet will turn you into a mathematical Einstein (although that would be neat!). But what I am saying is this:
Crochet is made up of patterns – pun intended! The more you work with these crochet patterns and shapes, the more easily your brain will begin to recognize them. I first started to realize this when I began making amigurumi. If you’re familiar with the concept, you know that amigurumi is made up of lots of strategically placed increases and decreases, which help give your finished object a desired shape.
After making almost one hundred (!) mini amigurumi dolls, I can tell you that my ability to visualize shapes and patterns in crochet has helped me to become a better designer. I have a much easier time creating something from scratch, and I spend less time frogging my work due to trial and error.
In short, crochet works my brain in a way that it wasn’t being worked before. You know that feeling you get when you’re working on a math problem and you know how to get to the answer, but it takes a little bit of effort and work to get there? That’s what crochet does for me. It makes me think, and it “stretches” my brain and makes it work to figure things out. And that’s such a satisfying – and healthy – feeling!
How can crochet make your brain healthier?
It can help you to use a part of your brain that you may not have used much in the past. It can keep you sharp and help improve your focus. It might not make you a mathematical Einstein, but I can help you become a crochet Einstein!
#3) It helps me to manage my anxiety.
So what can you do with a stronger and healthier brain?
Well personally, I’ve realized what makes me strong, and then I remember – hey, I am strong! And that little bit of knowledge helps give me focus when my anxiety rears its ugly head.
My anxiety really started to take off about two years ago, even though nothing really big had changed in my life. It’s been there for a long time (at least a decade), but anxiety attacks were a rare thing for me. But, starting a couple of years ago, I began to notice that I wasn’t handling stressful situations as well as I had been. Anxiety attacks became more and more frequent, and as I wasn’t managing my stress very well, I noticed that it took less and less to trigger an anxiety attack.
But I have a not-so-secret secret: crochet has relaxing properties.
Like I said, it isn’t much of a secret, but crocheting can be incredibly relaxing. I began taking my crochet with me everywhere I go (and yes, I had to get a bigger purse!). I started to arrive at my healthcare appointments a little early, and after checking in, I made a point to just crochet.
And you know what? It has helped so much. My anxiety probably isn’t going anywhere. It’s something that I will likely have to struggle with for the rest of my life, but as long as I have my yarn and my hook, I stand a chance to manage it.
How can crochet help you manage anxiety (and other mental illnesses)?
It can be your happy place. It can help block out distractions of stressful triggers (such as healthcare visits) and keep your mind focused on the non-stressful task at hand. Crochet can relax your body and your mind, which will make you feel more in control of your surroundings. It is a great start to managing your anxiety. You may require more than just an emergency crochet WIP in your purse. The bottom line is that crochet can help calm your mind, like a zen ninja (or something to that effect…).
#4) It has introduced me to a kind, caring, and inclusive community.
Shortly after launching this website, I started my very own “crochet support group” on Facebook, called Two Hearts Crochet CALs. It started off as a group for anyone working on one of the crochet along projects I had hosted on my website, but it has definitely evolved. This group is now home to over 22,000 members who are incredibly kind, amazingly helpful, and so super talented. It is easily the best crochet group I’m a part of on Facebook, and I know many others have said the same.
I have also started a local “Sip & Stitch” group in my hometown. We have knitters and crocheters join up every week for an hour or so of crafting time – and it is amazing. It is so nice to be able to relax with other people who not only understand the difference between crocheting and knitting (!), but who can share in your joy about a recent fiber purchase or lament with you about losing your hooks in the couch cushions.
Why is it so great to be part of a crochet community?
I believe that it is so important to surround yourself with people who have similar interests. It is seriously so great to just talk about these things with other people, even if only for a little while, even if only online. It’s what brings all of us together, and in a world that is choosing polarization and seclusion, coming together to celebrate the hobbies we love is even more important now than it ever was. Crochet communities bring people together – like cookies at an office potluck.
#5) It’s allowed me to actually have a dream – and to pursue it.
When I was six years old, I wanted to be a professional singer when I grew up. (You’re welcome World for not following that path!)
Since then, I never really knew what I wanted to be. I went to college to become a Spanish translator. I graduated with my degree in English with a concentration on Creative Writing. Three weeks after graduating from college, I started working full-time in the finance office of that same college.
Clearly I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.
About a year ago, I began to realize that my “little” crochet blog was one of the most enjoyable things in my life. I also started looking into the idea of monetizing my blog (which kind of tanked, TBH).
And then I found three totally awesome bloggin’ biz babes: Melyssa Griffin of MelissaGriffin.com, and Abagail and Emylee of ThinkCreativeCollective. By listening to a few of their free webinars and courses, I’ve learned that I can realize the potential of this blog and turn it into something truly great and 10,000% me.
So I’m going for it. And if you’re a budding craft blogger wanting to do the same, join me!
I finally feel like I have a goal, a dream – some sort of “career” to pursue that is worth pursuing. I’ve been working extra hard day and night, before and after my day job (and during lunch hours in between!), and I am oh so tired. This is the first time I feel like I am putting all of myself into something, and that’s the most incredible feeling.
How can crochet help you to pursue your dream?
Well, if your dream isn’t to operate a major crochet web community for a living, that’s okay. Maybe you dream about opening an Etsy shop, or having your own booth at a local craft fair. Maybe you dream about finishing that blanket that’s been in your WIP basket for the last year. Crochet teaches us to take it one stitch at a time, but still keep an eye on the overall design. Apply those same principles to whatever dream you’re chasing and believe me, you’re going to do great things.
#6) It’s helped me to realize that I am a creative, powerful, bad-ass babe.
As a twenty-something-year-old, I’ve struggled with my idea of “self” for many years. I felt for a long time that I had to pretend to to be more like this or less like that in order to fit into the mold of what it meant to be a woman in her mid-twenties.
I can’t be the only person here who’s felt that way, right?
There are thousands of amazing crochet patterns out there in the online universe. But there were times early on when I just couldn’t find something that met all of my needs. So I became a designer, and I learned that it was possible for me to make the exact object I wanted. I actually can design that crochet item that I am visualizing in my mind. I can make ANYTHING.
And that’s a powerful realization.
After I came to that sudden conclusion, I felt strong, creative, and more like myself than I have ever felt. Through this website, I get to blog about the things I love, and I get to share great content with the best community of crafters.
I finally feel at home with myself. I’m a big ol’ nerd who obsesses over dye lots and ergonomic hooks – and I love that.
So how can crochet help you to be your best true self?
It can nurture your inner creative being and stir those crafty instincts of yours to the surface. Crochet can make you feel whole and at home with who you are as a crafter, as a designer, and as a human being. It can lift your spirits and help you to realize your crafty, powerful, bad-ass self. Own it.
How has crochet changed your life?
I’d love to know! Leave a comment in the discussion below and tell us how crochet has made your life better. <3
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