When I was a child, I used to think of crochet as a time-killing activity for bored grandmas nestled in a rocking chair on a lazy afternoon. You probably have had that image in mind too, right?
These days, crochet is slowly taking on a more trendy image with even youngsters becoming hooked as well. Pun intended.
For instance, the Japanese craft which involves the creation of Amigurumi or crochet dolls has become a sensation amongst millennial knitters and are fast becoming alternatives to your typical dolls. That’s thanks, in part, to their cute appearance — think colorful and huggable stuff toys made of yarn.
I personally enjoy crochet because it gives me something to do outside of my mommy duties, a means to connect with people.
While people delve into knitting for a variety of reasons -to generate extra income, to connect with others who enjoy the hobby, or simply to channel out some of inner creativity – those who engage in knitting can also reap significant health benefits that come with working with hooks, yarn and needles. Here are some of those benefits.
1) It helps relieve stress and anxiety.
Yarn crafting has been shown by research to reduce stress. In 2014, CNN detailed that the repetitive action done while crafting releases dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of well being. Moreover, the social bond created by people who share a common hobby has protective mechanisms against stress.
2) It can help alleviate physical pain.
Millions suffer from painful conditions such as fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Yarn crafts such as crochet and knitting help by refocusing the brain on the repetitive motion instead of the pain. It can also help to keep the hands dexterous to reduce pain in conditions like arthritis. A case study in 2009 showed that while knitting, the group participants reported no pain , suggesting that the repetitive movements may play a role in the release of serotonin, a natural pain killer.
Kathryn Vercillo, author of Crochet Saved My Life, shares how a woman suffering from fibromyalgia was able to cope with her illness through making projects for others and also selling some crafts on Etsy.
3) It can boost self-esteem.
When you finish a crochet project, you feel a sense of accomplishment. You also feel good when people compliment you on your handiwork and often times it inspires to do more or even start selling your creations.
4) It can postpone or reduce memory loss.
In a 2011 study of 1,321 people aged 70 to 89 by the Mayo Clinic & Wheaton University among others , it was found that craft activities such as crochet and knitting were associated with reduced odds of mild cognitive impairment.
So now, when I picture myself as an old lady still crocheting in a rocking chair, I see one sharp-witted happy woman enjoying my time with my gal pals over some yarn and hooks.