This is not going to turn into a craft expert blog, basically because I’m no expert. But that’s not important, because that’s not why I do it.
Making something with your own hands is extremely therapeutic. We live in a world where everything is pre-made, pre-packaged, and just handed to us. While I am as much a lover of technology as the next person (can’t live without my internet), there’s something very soothing in putting together an item with your own hands, whether it be baking, carpentry, crochet (my personal favourite), drawing, or writing (my other favourite).
When you are planning, you use your imagination. You picture your ideal product, and what it should look like. With something like crochet, you choose the colours you want, and the yarn. What texture are you after? I think how a crocheted item feels will be as important as how it is going to look.
Are you creating for yourself or as a gift for someone? What do they need? What would they want? What colour suits them? I love giving gifts anyway, and there’s something about designing the gift that is very exciting.
The act of creation can be soothing, sometimes challenging, but always fun. For example, my current project included a (crochet) stitch that I had not previously heard of and did not know how to do. Google gave me a website with the appropriate instructions, and I was able to proceed. This also means I have learned something new to add to my knowledge on the subject, which is always fun. Once I have what I need to proceed, then it’s time to do the work. As the project grows, you start to get more of a picture of how it’s going to be, and you can start to anticipate how the recipient is going to respond. I am making a shawl for my mother who is constantly complaining about being cold, and I am already very excited about how much she is going to like it. The act of making in itself can be very healthy, especially if (like me) you are prone to stress and anxiety. While I am working, I am focused on the project, and there is no room for other concerns. Mindfulness has become a bit of a catch-phrase these days, but it is very true of this kind of exercise. While I work, I am in the moment. Nothing else matters.
But maybe, what you have made has not worked out. You might see a picture of the proposed end product, and what you have done doesn’t look anything like it. Isn’t this a recipe for stress and unhappiness? Well, only if you allow it to be. It can be disappointing, but really, it can also be good for a laugh. And as we are always being told, a failure can be a stepping stone to success.
When you have finished, you have something that has come from you, your heart, your soul, your hands. You have taken raw materials and moulded them into something new, something useful, or beautiful, or both. If it is a gift, it is a gift that is given with work and with love. You have nothing to lose by trying, and the benefits are enormous.