One of best moments in life is when you suddenly bump into a long forgotten friend, a ‘langotia yaar‘ or distant relative that you have spent fun moments with.
I had the fortune of one such sweet experience as I routinely walked into our neighborhood saloon and saw a lady working furiously with a pair of knitting needles and pink colored yarn. Her hair was piled up after applying hair dye, her feet soaking in pedicure bath and her fingers flew. From that moment on, I was hooked and reunited after about three decades with my old love – crochet.
Call me impatient or an ‘instant gratification nut’ but I somehow got attracted to crochet over knitting as Crochet patterns grow faster and the immediate reward is what is probably what hooks one to crochet. The project literally grows like Jack’s beanstalk within a few rows of work. Its also the Relaxed, repetitive motions that help calm down the body and the brain.
I often think Crochet is a lot like life. You never know whats going to turn out. One can follow the rules as in life or pattern details as in crochet but there is an X factor that can throw you off your feet or simply sweep you off them.
Harvard University’s world-renowned mind/body expert, Herbert Benson, MD, says that repetitive and rhythmic crafts such as knitting has been scientifically proven to enhance health and reduce the risk of heart disease, anxiety, and depression. “You can induce the relaxation response through any type of repetition, whether it’s repeating a word, prayer, or action, such as knitting or sewing,” he notes. “The act of doing a task over and over again breaks the train of everyday thought, and that’s what releases stress.”
The clicking of my mothers knitting needles over three decades ago are still fresh in my ears – a happy sound blending as a background drone in whatever was going on in the house. Come to think of it our lives were so calmed by it. If one analyses it years later, it said “dinner ready, home base secured and work in progress as happiness hormones are being churned out of a creative pastime.”
Crocheting and knitting are often done in groups, either formally or informally. Whether you take a class, have a regular monthly guild meeting, or just get together with your friends every once in a while to chat and work on projects, chances are you have first-hand experience with how well knitting and crocheting go together with social activities. Being among friends can help combat loneliness and isolation, which can contribute to health problems.
Benefits of crocheting and knitting include
- Reduced stress
- Better ability to cope with illness (physical or mental)
- Decreased risk of cognitive impairment as you age
Crafting is a multi billion-dollar business in America, and although Indonesia has a much smaller crafters community but its growing fast. Products on Tokopedia and websites of the like have several crafters selling their handiwork.
They need the organisation of bringing them together in this age of hi tech social media.The crochet business grew tremendously during the 1990s as more and more people came to the craft. Since that time, the Internet has exploded as a way to get access to not only crochet education, but also yarn, needles and books that might not be available to crocheters locally.
Online communities connects with knitters and the community by participating in charity events and doing all the teaching, helping and hand holding that many newer knitters require. A favourite site is Ravelry.com where having fun while crafting is serious business.
Unfortunately, many people push crafting and creativity to the bottom of their “to do” list. The time spent on Facebook and other social media as well as on watching unreal, superficial serials on TV has replaced that quiet time of creative pursuit.
The Guilt Trip
The amount of yarn one amasses is certainly something the non crochet lover will not understand. Its my biggest secret whats in my bags when I travel anywhere in the world. No branded handbags or fashion clothes for me as the priority is buying different colors of yarns hoping to make amazing stuff of my dreams. In reality, just as a squirrel hides away his acorns I stash my yarn away in remote corners of the loft.
Then there is guilt for the amount of time one spends crocheting. I think every crocheter is a master at feigning nods and short injectures into the family conversation showing just enough interest. Actually the mind is focused on following the pattern accurately and to finish the project as soon as possible.
the third guilt is the ‘Venus complex’. A friend said she felt guilty for doing something for ourselves-women, of course, are taught that everyone else’s needs should come first-or maybe we feel that even when we’re relaxing, we should be doing something productive (that old multitasking thing). She felt too self indulgent!
However, now that research is showing that creative arts are good for our health, we no longer need to view leisure pursuits as self-indulgences. We can recast them in a new light: crafts aren’t just enjoyable, they’re downright therapeutic!
I am saving your doctor bills I tell my husband with a wise nod!
by Pavan Kapoor
Images: All photographs courtesy of Pavan Kapoor