My next Month of Love post comes in the form of a guest post from one of my oldest blog friends on the internet- Vicki who writes the always bright and inspiring, Owl and Accordion.
I love making for exactly the reasons she lists; making as meditation; making being good for the soul. I don’t get to craft in the way I did before Frankie came along, but making is still a big part of my life. My making these days is in other forms; its mixing and weighing and tasting, especially recipes with whole, nourishing foods. It’s in the form of experimenting with recipe’s and creating my own soups and stews. It’s creating a calm home that reflects us and encourages togetherness and creativity. It’s sewing stockings and bird costumes and capes for Frankie Rose. Or, more commonly, it’s in the form of making WITH her; getting lost in colouring in, making a mess in the kitchen, or making collaborative birthday/New Years/Valentines cards together. It calms me, as it always has, but I love how it connects us together too.
Over to Vicki.
When my son was born in 2008, I struggled afterwards; breastfeeding didn’t go well, my husband was made redundant and I found myself sinking more and more into a horrid fogginess. I was diagnosed with post-natal depression, and spent a good couple of months doing nothing more than the basics – Ben was a joy (even with his awful colic!), but I just felt like I didn’t have the energy or enthusiasm for anything. I’d always been an avid reader and crafter, but I couldn’t concentrate on anything; Ben’s nap times were filled with empty hours gazing at the television.
One evening, I threw yet another book down in frustration, and my Mum suggested I try learning a new craft. I’d struggled to learn to knit for my entire life, so she suggested crochet as an alternative; one hook instead of two needles, less to think about…. I half-heartedly decided to give it a go.
After a few false starts, I got the hang of it. Unlike knitting, the hook seemed to fly in and out of the work easily, and I found I actually understood the stitches – I knew where I needed to put the hook, why, and what would happen. Although I still had to concentrate, there was no frustrated confusion, no flared tempers and most importantly, no holes in the work once I’d finished – and the more I practised, the easier it got and the faster I worked.
There are a gazillion reports online that talk about craft being good for the soul and mental health, and I’d put money on them being right. There’s something wonderfully therapeutic about making something with your own hands, whether you’re shaping clay, embroidering fabric or sanding wood; when I’m crocheting, I can easily get lost in the stitches – I love the drag of the yarn in between my fingers, and watching as what I’m working on grows.
Seven years on, I have crochet to thank for a lot of things; the craft community online is absolutely huge, and I’ve met some wonderful people through our mutual love of yarn (it’s now a fully-fledged addiction…). I’ve been lucky enough to work as a knitwear designer, contribute to magazines and work on commissions for people – before I had Ben, I never even dreamed I’d be able to actually earn money doing something I loved, and I feel incredibly lucky.
See more of Vicki's work, including this gorgeous DIY Fringed Crochet shawl, on her wonderful blog, The Owl and The Accordian.
All the images in this post are either from Vicki's blog or her gorgeous Instagram feed. I hope to have a few more guest posts for you over the next few weeks, so watch this space!