Monday 24 March 2014

Crafting For Comfort

Crafting for Comfort Craft Well Being

After feeling positively 'meh' the last couple of days, I resigned myself to bed with a hot water bottle and some catch-up TV. Everybody has their own routine when they're not feeling 100%, and this is mine. I am also, however, the kind of person who finds it hard to just watch TV. Whether it's a sudoku, a word puzzle or just doodling, I like to have something to do with my hands whilst watching TV. And that is how I found myself knitting quite possibly the chunkiest, snuggliest hat ever on the first day of Spring.

Crafting for Comfort Craft Well Being

Knitting and crochet is one of my favourite things to do whilst watching TV, as long as I'm not working on too complicated a pattern. I have to admit that I usually abandon my wool this time of the year, and start working on something for the warmer weather, however when it comes to comfort, nothing beats a soft, chunky yarn in happy variegated colours.

I used two yarns for this project - a standard cream Aran with natural coloured flecks, and a chunky wool in variegated pastels (I don't know the name or brand, sorry). I combined them both to work with a super chunky combo, which is mega soft and cosy. Because I wanted a project to watch TV with, I didn't use a pattern for this, simply casting on 50 odd stitches and then going with the flow. I didn't use any fiddly intarsia or any fancy stitching either, just a bit of ribbing before plain stocking stitch, which meant I could keep up with what was happening on Jonathan Creek.

The great thing about this project was that it seemed to work up very quickly - the size of the yarn and the variegated colours probably helped with this. It also meant that when I was feeling better, I had a brand new oversized beanie to my name. Yaay!

Crafting for Comfort Craft Well Being

Having a project to concentrate on definitely helped me recover quicker, and distracted me from feeling ill. Which got me thinking - is there a link between crafting and well being?

There is a charity group local to me, which helps people with a varying range of health problems through art. The Project Group encourages people with mental health issues to be creative, and gives them the tools and inspiration they need to get started. As well as being creative, members gather a variety of different skills that can help them gain confidence within themselves, and completing a project gives members a sense of achievement.

It only takes a quick Google search to see that there are many people writing their own blogs to document their mental health issues, and many of these have a link to art or craft. Craft For Health has an especially inspiring section, where readers talk about their own mental health issues, and how their art work is therapeutic for them.

Crafting groups are a great way of getting to know like minded people, and is therefore a good way of building up a network of people around you. Sometimes, it is quite easy to feel isolated if you suffer from an illness of some kind, and having positive, helpful faces around you can help you get through tougher periods and not feel so alone.

Mental Health still feels like a taboo topic, and yet it is something that is likely to affect most of us, in different ways, at some point in our lives. It is so inspiring to see people finding ways of fighting their mental health issues, and talking so openly about their experiences.

Do you have any remedies for sick days (mental or physical)?

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