I have an obscene amount of yarn. I told someone about this the other day, and they said, “As long as it all fits into one tote, you don’t have too much.” I didn’t dare tell her that my yarn collection overflows two large plastic totes, two canvas bags, and a few grocery sacks.
I always have at least one project in progress, and a to-do list a mile long of things I am planning to make for others, for my kids, or for myself (though I almost never get to the things I’m making for myself). Most of the time when I am a passenger in the car, I’m crocheting something. I almost never sit still and do nothing. I crochet almost every night before bed. You might say I have a problem. I probably do.
So, why do I crochet? Why hoard all this yarn and all these crochet hooks? Why pile patterns in a box or on a Pinterest board ? To answer the question of why I spend so much time crocheting, I thought it would be fun to make a list. Here are just a few of the reasons I crochet (in no particular order).
1. Projects have a clear beginning and ending. In my life as a pastor, very few things have definitive beginnings and endings. Apart from “finishing” a sermon, which never totally feels finished anyway, most everything is always in some stage of progress or development. Most of my projects for work are continuous and never-ending. But when I make a loop and start the first chain of a crochet project, I have begun something new. Once I weave in the last end, my project is finished. I can hold up my finished work, admire it, and feel pleased that something has been accomplished.
2. Crocheting connects me to my past. My great grandma crocheted. I remember going to her house after school and making long chains with her yarn surplus. Quite often when I am crocheting, I think about my great grandma, I miss her, and I think about how proud she would be to see me carrying on something that was so important to her.
3. Crocheting is meditative. There is a rhythm and a flow with crochet. The yarn slips through your fingers just so, and the movement of the hook in and out of the stitches becomes instinctive over time. Crocheting requires just enough mental energy that I can’t stress out about anything else, but little enough that I relax. I’ve told my husband before that sometimes crochet feels like prayer.
4. Creating something brand new. I am a by-the-book kind of a person. I never used to deviate from a recipe when I was cooking. I always read the directions before doing something. But, once I began crocheting, my kids started asking me to make things that there were no patterns for. There is a thrill that accompanies dreaming up something that doesn’t exist, and then throwing yourself into making it. Some of the items I have crocheted have almost become yarn sculptures. That’s why I jokingly call myself a yarn artist.
5. The joy of giving things to others. Every year I look forward to making handmade Christmas gifts. When I make things for others, I feel like I’m giving them a bit of myself, and not just some random thing I picked up at a store. When I make something for someone else, I think about that person. I imagine them using what I’m making, and it brings me joy to think about giving someone something that has a personal meaning.
6. Making unique things for my kids. My kids might like a hat at the store, but it doesn’t come in any colors that they like to wear. I can customize something to suit their personalities. My kids are young enough that they love when people point out that they have unique hats and scarves. My kids have also asked for things that don’t seem to exist anywhere. I enjoy being able to make those things for them.
7. It saves money. I recently had someone comment on a pair of boot cuffs I crocheted for myself. She said, “Where did you get those?” When I told her I made them myself, she said, “You are so lucky. Something like that would sell for $30 in the store.” I made them for under $4. Not every crochet project saves money, but many do.
8. Expressing a personal sense of style. Crocheting allows me the freedom to make clothing and accessories that suit my personality. When scarves weren’t really in style or readily available in stores, I could make a scarf that I was unable to buy anywhere. I can make matching sets, or create a small accessory that gives a personal touch of style to any outfit.
9. Idle hands…keep ’em busy. The saying goes that “idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” Crocheting keeps my hands busy, and though I don’t think I’d get myself into heaps of trouble if I didn’t crochet, busy hands have made for a happier me. I’m not sure if it is the productivity, the creativity, or simply being busy, but whatever it is, keeping my hands busy has helped my mind be quieter, and my heart a little fuller.
10. I keep inheriting yarn. It’s true. It seems there are a lot of people who take up crocheting, buy a bunch of yarn, and then decide to get rid of all of it. Somehow I keep ending up with their yarn. And then I need to use it up.
11. People keep asking me to make them things. When I asked my kids why they thought mommy spent so much time crocheting, they both responded (independently of each other) that I crochet because people keep asking me to make things for them. While I would crochet even if people didn’t ask me to make things, it has certainly helped keep me crocheting all year round. And, sometimes I’m asked to make things I would never dream up myself. That’s a lot of fun for me.
Are you a knitter or crocheter? Are any of these reasons similar to your reasons for working with yarn? Did I leave any out? Feel free to add your own!
Patterns I’ve Made Recently (found on other websites)