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A Stitch in Time for Stress Relief

My journey from quitting knitting to confident crocheting

As the leaves turn crimson and the crisp autumn air sweeps in, many of us find solace in cozy, indoor activities. Whether it’s picking up a new hobby or rekindling an old one, the fall season invites us to do things that warm our hearts and homes. 

One timeless art form stands out as a perfect companion to this season for me — crocheting.

Two years ago, in the midst of midterm season stress, I got into crocheting, and it’s been an annual fall tradition since. While I’ve always liked the idea of making clothes for myself and my loved ones, knitting, personally, is too difficult.

I’ve tried to learn on multiple occasions but something about it is just not conducive for me; maybe having to keep track of two needles is what’s so tough about it. When I tried crocheting, I was surprised at how forgiving the learning curve was. 

I began by buying a ball of yarn in my favourite colour, blue, and a cheap pack of crocheting needles and searching YouTube for the most in-depth tutorial I could find. From there, I worked on making granny squares, the basic shape for making clothes and blankets. 

My goal was to make a bucket hat for a friend for Christmas as a surprise. I wanted it to be lilac (one of her favourite colours) with white accents. I wanted to make sure that the brim wasn’t too wide but that it was big enough to cover her ears, to keep warm in the winter. However, I wasn’t experienced enough to adjust to these specific measurements; I was just following along with the tutorial.

I had a humbling start. I messed up maybe 10 to 12 granny squares because I didn’t fully grasp how to count the stitches. That added around two weeks to a month more of work for me. I decided then just to take my time and give her the hat when I was satisfied with the outcome. 

Eventually, I didn’t have to follow along with tutorials, I could work from what I knew. I could now watch TV or listen to lectures while crocheting, which had the added bonus of helping me retain information better. 

Being a newbie, it took me several months to finish the hat. However, the most challenging part lay ahead: tidying up the stitches. 

My impatience and perfectionism made the meticulous task of cutting and cleaning loose threads almost maddening.

Despite the initial struggle, I learned how to be more efficient. In the end, I was almost too attached to the hat because of how much work I’d poured into it, to give it away. 

But I did, and it felt really satisfying to finally surprise my friend (on a random day, not during Christmas).

Although the hat was a bit bigger than what I initially planned, I was still proud of myself for finishing it. Her reaction made all the work completely worth it, and it still makes me happy when she wears it out. 

Knowing what I know now, I wish I could’ve made it a better fit, so that it’s more snug against her ears, but I’m just glad it wasn’t too small; that would’ve been the real problem. So if you’re starting out, better oversized than too small (at least for hats)!

Crocheting still provides me with a sense of comfort and satisfaction. I cherish having tangible end products for my hard work and, while I’ve improved, I aspire to create my own patterns in the future.

This fall, I encourage you to give crocheting (or knitting) a chance. I’m currently working on a bigger project, a cardigan. I’m especially paying attention to getting the final sizing correct and budgeting the amount of yarn I use.

If you’re seeking a sense of community, consider joining Dalhousie’s Knitting Club to share the joys of this timeless craft with like-minded individuals. Beyond just being a hobby, crocheting is a way to warm both your heart and the hearts of those you gift your creations to.

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