The art of mindful crochet

crochet mindfulness

Mindful Crochet

This week is Mental Health Awareness week in the UK, we thought it would be good to share some tips for using crochet as a way to improve mental wellbeing and as a tool for dealing with stress and anxiety.

What is mindfulness?

You might have heard people talking about mindfulness in your office, on the news or even in your weekly crochet group – but what exactly does it mean? Well, its pretty simple, mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing on the present moment. You don’t need to be spiritual or religious to practise mindfulness and reap its benefits. Its all about you and how you manage yourself, your thoughts and feelings. It’s often seen as a therapeutic device and can improve your mental health and wellbeing.

Why is mindfulness important?

Practising mindfulness has many health benefits including becoming more self-aware and in tune with your emotions, body and surroundings. Providing a greater level of clarity to situations that might get lost in the humdrum of everyday life, mindfulness has been proven to help reduce mental health issues including anxiety and depression. This can impact your personal and professional life, allowing you to develop concentration at work and improve relationships at home. There are many ways to achieve mindfulness, but of course, we’re most interested in how crochet can be used to reach this state of mind.

crochet and mindfulness folded crochet project

How can crochet help me achieve mindfulness?

In 2016, a study at Otago University, New Zealand asked 658 students to keep diaries of their emotional state over 13 days. During this period, students demonstrated an increased level of enthusiasm and activity on days when they took part in creative activities such as crochet, knitting, writing and painting. But why? What was it about crafting that caused an uplift in their wellbeing?

When crocheting, both your mind and body are focused on completing a single activity. This focus draws you into the present, the here and now. We’re all prone to allowing our minds to wander – it may be just before you fall asleep, or when taking a shower, you might remember something you forgot at the shop or you need to do at work – the deep level of focus crochet brings allows you to clear these wandering thoughts from your mind, developing a state of inner calm. Repetitive motion in crochet is key to helping us block out troubling thoughts, allowing us to switch to auto-pilot mode and enter an enhanced state of calm, the effects of which are comparative to other wellbeing activities such as yoga.

learn to crochet

Take a look at our ‘Why Crochet is Good for you infographic‘ for more ways in which crochet can improve your sense of wellbeing.

Where do I start with Mindful Crochet?

Watch all of my beginner crochet video tutorials to hep get you started – it won’t take long before you are able to relax and enjoy the experience of mindful crocheting.

If you’re not sure where to start on your mindfulness journey, here are 5 top tips for giving this therapeutic technique a go:

  1. Find somewhere comfortable to work – there’s nothing more distracting than being in a state of physical discomfort. A cosy, quiet space to snuggle down and work is vital.
  2. Make time – we’re all guilty of letting time run away with us. Whether its 10 minutes or an hour, set yourself a regular time to crochet, otherwise you won’t feel the benefit.
  3. Be aware of your body – Sit, kneel, stand or lie however you like, but make sure you can stay in a stable position for as long as your session will last to eliminate any distractions.
  4. Take it slow – There’s no rush. Take your time and focus your attention on each stitch. Start your crochet with a long foundation and count each chain slowly as you go.
  5. Keep your mind in check – your mind is bound to wander, but don’t let it go to far. If you feel your focus drifting, undo your last couple of stitches and re-focus by re-doing.

Leave a comment and let us know if you find crochet mindful.

the art of mindful crochet

26 Comments on “The art of mindful crochet

  1. Sarah Mercer Reply

    May 14, 2019 at 1:23

    I find crochet extremely mindful. It was especially helpful after I lost my partner 2 years ago. It relaxes and de stresses me in a way I find easier than other ways. Plus I have something beautiful, mostly lol, at the end. I would recommend everyone tries crochet xxx

  2. Mrs Mary Houghton Reply

    May 15, 2019 at 1:19

    I have found that crocheting has completely distracted me from on-going pain after an operation. Friends have commented that I haven’t become depressed with the problems, but I can only say it’s due to the mindfulness of doing crochet, but also finding friends on websites in similar predicaments do I don’t feel isolated! It’s an amazing craft!

  3. Michelle P. Reply

    May 19, 2019 at 1:10

    I start almost every day with crocheting..the days I dont just are not the same. I have a demanding job and find my morning routine benefits me to putting thoughts in order.

  4. Avvy Reply

    August 26, 2019 at 6:49

    I find crochet relaxing, especially when I don’t have to think too much about stitches. I actually forget some of my problems and anxieties when knitting or crocheting. It’s amazing how the simple things in life can be so beneficial. We mustn’t forget that.

  5. Ruthie Reply

    September 19, 2019 at 9:34

    Mindfulness is a Buddhist practice, I am a Buddhist and practice mindfulness regularly.

    • Betty Marquis Reply

      May 22, 2021 at 10:58

      Hello Ruthie,

      I am also a Buddhist and practice daily. I have been crocheting and knitting for about 5 years now. I find both are wonderful mindful and healing practices.

      Betty

  6. Jennifer D. Reply

    January 31, 2021 at 11:16

    I knew crocheting made me feel good but couldn’t say why for sure. Sometimes I wake up thinking of the project I’m working on or planning a new one. It has helped tremendously during this pandemic. And I usually donate what I make and that is satisfying.

  7. Kim Martin Reply

    February 1, 2021 at 1:00

    I do find crocheting very relaxing. If I am not doing daily have to dos. I am crocheting, Each time that I create something, I feel the satisfaction of knowing someone special in my life will be receiving this. The art of crocheting is very mindful and satisfying.

  8. Shirley Reply

    February 1, 2021 at 10:48

    I love to crochet…I can do it all day every day… I work from charts so much easier than written instructions…

    • Dee Reply

      February 24, 2021 at 7:19

      I do just the other way its so fun

  9. Jàsmin French Reply

    February 1, 2021 at 11:12

    Perhaps that’s why some people sit over ‘puzzles’ for hours, hunting for the right colour piece to put in place, in a way this is what we stitchers are doing too.

  10. Sonia Edwards Reply

    February 1, 2021 at 5:11

    I prefer knitting, there is no comparison, when you knit a long line cable and lace cardigan, with bubbles. I did, and it took me age. I thoroughly enjoyed the creation of such a masterpiece of loveliness.

  11. Kathy langley Reply

    February 3, 2021 at 12:54

    I practice yoga regularly but crocheting takes me to a different place. I have a son currently in addiction recovery and keep trying to get him to learn to crochet. It should be part of rehabs!!

    • Paula Hooks Reply

      May 12, 2021 at 12:09

      I’m about to qualify as an occupational therapist and we advocate the use of crochet as a therapeutic, meaningful occupation that has so many health benefits. I wish your son well on his rehab journey.

  12. MRS SUSAN PURNELL Reply

    February 3, 2021 at 3:33

    I find 2 ( or is it 3?) things,walking my small dog in country park, & crochet while listening to Chopin piano music help me to be mindful. I make every step of my walk, & every stitch of my crochet into a good wish for someone who needs it. Not a conscious “I wish for this, or a wish for that” just “may every stitch bring comfort & goodwill” before I start. This works for me, others will have their own routines & rhythms. It’s about what works for each individual, isn’t it?

  13. Amanda Green Reply

    February 4, 2021 at 5:02

    I have suffered with chronic pain for almost 30yrs now & i dont know what i wouldve done without my crochet & crafting in general.Stress makes my pain worse so its important that i keep relaxed.
    I also like to design my own patterns or change an existing one as the process of having to think about numbers of stitches & pattern repeats etc really makes you focus on the job in hand & stops your mind wandering.Its been a lifesaver & more people should try it.

  14. Nika64 Reply

    February 5, 2021 at 11:45

    I crochet something that’s one-row repeat and has a very simple pattern and easy stitches while I listen to lecturers. I have ADHD and crochet helps me to concentrate on what’s being said. Before, I used to eat constantly during zoom class and even in the real classroom! Since starting my school, even I though I am a slow newbie, I have so far made 5 double blankets and started on my 6th one… At this rate, I will have made blankets for my whole family! And I have lost some weight: my mind is occupied with other thing instead of food and my hands are too busy to showel it into my mouth.

  15. Emma Mitchell Reply

    March 4, 2021 at 8:02

    I find crochet very therapeutic. Especially calming and fills in the times being disabled with significant injury/illness.
    It has really added a great deal of value to my time and especially during lockdown. Also I have made some lovely items.

  16. Elise Mann Reply

    May 12, 2021 at 11:59

    Without crochet I would have quite literally gone insane over lockdown, as I have had to sit silently in a very small room while my husband works from home in contact with colleagues. I could not move about much or have any TV, music etc. and although I like to read I also like to keep moving a bit! So I’ve made tons of things, and have raised money for Macmillan selling them.

  17. Paula Hooks Reply

    May 12, 2021 at 12:06

    Ive just submitted my dissertation that is a research proposal relating to the impact of creative craft as a self-care strategy for mental health professionals. I personally find crochet to be meditative, creative and mindful

  18. Catherine Pritchard Reply

    May 12, 2021 at 1:20

    Crochet is my go to relaxing activity. I used to knit, but found my arms ached. I took crochet up to have something to occupy my hands, in place of the smart phone. Sewing is my preferred mindful activity as it takes my full concentration.

  19. Nikki Reply

    May 12, 2021 at 1:53

    I love to crochet and find it improves my mood. If only I had more time to do it (I have two young children)! P.S would love to know the pattern of the top the lady is wearing in the photo on this page (if there is one).

  20. Shelley Rairden Reply

    May 12, 2021 at 4:30

    Finding mindful crocheting was a wonderful gift to myself. It has brought me comfort, awareness, concentration, and such great happiness to my world. I have been through some difficult years and to mindfully crochet has brought me a new way of living life slowly, intentionally and much more aware. I am grateful to all the persons who have studied this and brought it forward for to help others find my own happy little sanctuary. God bless you!

  21. Schelly Wilkins Reply

    May 12, 2021 at 9:12

    As someone who has just finished CBT my therapist actually encouraged me to make time for me and set a time to do things for me. I actually look forward to my time whether it be crochet, knitting or diamond painting and it has helped with my mental health!

  22. Emma Ashman Reply

    May 13, 2021 at 6:14

    I find crocheting very good for my mental health as I am just learning that my health problems are getting worse and with that I can not get out and about much. With crocheting it helps me to relax and forget my worries for awhile and it keeps my hands active. So thank you for helping me to relax and forget about everything for a few hours.

  23. Tracy W Reply

    July 30, 2021 at 5:25

    I have only learnt to crochet this year. At first I found it hard to relax as I was concentrating so hard, but now I find I can settle and focus into “the zone” and crochet happily for long or short bursts and I feel refreshed afterwards.
    I find learning by watching/crocheting along to tutorials the easiest way to take in the information and achieve a mindful state.

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