When I was 9 years old, Grandma Westwood taught me how to crochet a chain. That was the beginning of a lifelong passion for creating and making. I chain stitched an entire ball of yarn: before school, on the school bus, at recess, in the classroom until I got caught, after supper, any chance I could get. Other kids thought I was a bit strange, adults thought it was cute! But I didn’t care; I was in control of making something with my own hands.
I soon graduated to the granny square. Now, there was no stopping me; I was dreaming up projects and working on them just like my two lovely grandmothers. The thrill of receiving a case full of crochet hooks of all different sizes for Christmas – and don’t get me started on the yarn!
I’m still stitching all these years later. It makes me happy that my home is warmed by homemade items made by my grandmothers and by me. That I have been able to give my special people something stitched with love to keep them warm, cared for and supported. I have also come to realize that it isn’t just about the making.
I have learned that:
- Stitching is good for my mental health. It is meditative. It is calming; it lowers anxiety and stress while it gives me the satisfaction of having created something. Relaxation with purpose.
- Stitching helps me to focus. As someone who thinks in pictures, I think best when my hands are busy. And as an added bonus, busy hands means less mindless snacking.
- Stitching helps to keep my aging brain sharp and reduces mental decline. It can help ease the pain of arthritis. There is much scientific research on this.
- Stitching can be social. But for me, more importantly, it has always been a comfort to my introverted self.
When Grandma Beever was in her 90’s she embarked on a project to knit a blanket for each of us in the family- 8 of us. Her fingers were stiff and her eye sight was fading. But, she did it. Each blanket in a different pattern and favourite colour. Even though I am a long way from being 90, I will do the same and I’m starting now!
I’ve made five so far. Simple double crochet blankets using a size 10 mm crochet hook and Bernat chenille blanket yarn. They have a modern look that appeals to a younger generation that hasn’t quite learned the joy of the granny square – just yet. They are fun and easy to make.
If you are like me, you have more than one project on the go and several that likely will not be completed in this lifetime. But that’s ok. There is great joy and comfort in the making. Happy stitching!