By K W Warburton, The Reluctant Spoonie

I realised when I was reviewing my blog a few weeks ago, I realised that I created a crafts section without stating the importance of the connection between crafts and healing from chronic illness. I’d always enjoyed sewing and crochet as hobbies. However, when I was well, they were not the main things that I chose to do in my spare time. In my teens and early 20’s, I favoured music, socialising and reading.

When I became bedridden and housebound due to my chronic illness, I was no longer able to a lot of the things that I used to. At the start of my illness, before I started any kind of treatment, I wasn’t even able to read let alone do anything else. I became bored of watching Netflix all day and grieved for my old life where I could do a full day of work and still have the energy to go out in the evening.

bunch of crochet hooks
Crochet hooks ©2020 The Reluctant Spoonie

This is when I picked up my crochet hook for the first time in years. I had taught myself to crochet for an Art Textiles project when I was 15. I had made a few things since then, but I rarely had the patience to sit still for very long, so a lot of my projects had remained unfinished. The Totoro you may have seen my post on Instagram in the past, actually took me several summers to complete when I was a student (I lived a very typical student lifestyle up until I was 22).

Get a custom crochet character from my Etsy shop here

The repetitive motion of crocheting was calming and familiar. It gave me something to focus on whilst I waited for my next doctor’s appointment. In the first few months, I made baby clothes as several people in my family were expecting. Making useful things gave me a purpose and the sense of fulfilment that I was lacking in other aspects of my life.

crochet Totoro
My crochet Totoro ©2020 The Reluctant Spoonie

Crochet has been shown to help with insomnia, reduce stress and can even help build your self esteem. Check out this post by All Free Crochet for more health benefits of crochet here. Personally, the main reason that I class crochet as my main hobby today, is because I can do it anywhere, even lying in bed. It doesn’t take a huge amount of mental capacity either which means that it is an activity that I can enjoy, even on a high symptom day.

Read more:  Did My Poor Judgement Cause My PCOS?

Like many other people with chronic illness, I have felt the pressure to turn my hobby into a business. However, I have no desire to be a full-time crochet artist. I much prefer to donate my creations to charities like Spoonie Survival Kits. I set up my Etsy shop as a way to fund my blog and advocacy projects, not as a way to pay my bills. My free ‘Send a Sunflower‘ scheme is a way for me to give back to the chronic illness community and share my crochet with a wider audience.

Find out more about our Send a Sunflower letter writing service here

Have you revisited an old hobby or learnt a new one since becoming chronically ill?

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