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The benefits of crocheting...

As a young girl I wanted to learn how to crochet and I asked my grandmother to teach me. I was left handed she was right handed, we sat facing each other her slowly crocheting and explaining, me listening and trying to mimic her movement. As she was talking she began to crochet faster but I was still struggling. She was right handed, I was left. It was like looking into a mirror and trying to copy her process, backward. Do you remember the Groucho Marx and Lucy routine where she is trying to mimic his movement as if she was in front of a mirror. This must have looked similar. I was left handed, she was right. This went on for some time her saying "put your needle into the stitch, loop over and pull it back through..." and me trying but failing. After some time her patience ran thin and she took the needle out of my left hand, remember, I was left handed, and put it in my right, moved around behind me, took my hands in hers and taught me how to crochet. She loved to crochet and some of the pieces she made were intricate and beautiful. Some were a little questionable like the bathing suits she made us one summer. I remember her, her patience and her artistry every time I pick up a crochet needle.

This leads me to the first and most important benefit of crocheting, sharing, companionship and time spent with friends, old or new. Learning to crochet is a challenging process that is tough to teach yourself so you need a mentor, a friend, a teacher to show you how it is done. Someone to take your hands in theirs and walk you through the process of weaving yarn together to make something beautiful.

Crocheting relieves stress and anxiety. Well, maybe not when you are learning how but once you have the automated movements don and your process is instinctual, it is comforting to sit and create. It is the creativity and repetitive motion that helps you become more relaxed and ease the tension in your thoughts.

Crocheting builds your self-esteem. Anyone that is a master crocheter will tell you how fulfilling it is to be able to read a pattern, pick up a needle and some thread and make something that someone is going to love. When you put that last stitch in and tie your piece off you feel amazing, accomplished and astounded at the sheer process, your ability and the craftsmanship of your work of art. If that doesn't build your self-esteem I don't know what will.

Crocheting has been a part of my life since I can remember and it remains something that brings me joy. My grandmother, my mother, myself and my children (son included) all crochet. One of my fondest memories of my grandmother was placing an afghan that I had made on her lap. I went to see her one evening at the assisted living home and started to push her down the hall and the afghan on her lap was too long. She fussed and told me that I needed to make her a short afghan so it wouldn't get caught under the wheels. I left there, went straight to the store, bought some yarn and proceeded to crochet. When I placed the afghan on her lap she said, "I taught you well." That was her way of telling me she was proud of me, that she loved me and thank you all at the same time.

Stitches bind us together.

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