I once attended a knitters’ guild meeting where a long-time member, during the program’s show-and-tell segment, pulled out project after project exclusively made in feather and fan stitch. At the time, she had just finished chemo, and the repetition of this soothing stitch brought her comfort. The number of finished objects was impressive, but what was more so is how this act of making illustrated how crafting during times of crisis can help to heal us.
Many studies have shown that crafting can be the antidote for the stressors in our lives. Personally, I have heard from many friends during the past few weeks, and each has turned to crafting in their own personal way.
Crafting to Reduce Stress
Taking needles and yarn in hand or sitting at our spinning wheel calms frayed nerves. Groups of fiber lovers are logging in and connecting with each other through Zoom and other social-media platforms. And others relish a few quiet moments of crafting solo, away from constant news updates or taking care of loved ones.
Donating to Our Community
Many sewists have heard the call to make facemasks for their communities, family members, and friends. Function is key, but embellishing and personalizing demonstrate our crafty individualism. Crafting during times of crisis has a long history, reminding us we are in good company, and we are all in this together.
Giving Ourselves Permission to Not Make
Grief expresses itself in each of us in different ways. I have heard from some fiber artists that they are unable to make. This, too, is healthy. If you’re not up to spinning, sewing, weaving, or knitting, embrace that. Personally, I have found my most comforting moments during this COVID-19 pandemic right here at my keyboard, writing. I know my wheel and needles will be there when I am ready.
As my friend, who is a medical professional, keeps reminding me—this is a marathon. Let’s pace ourselves and continue to create, connect, and hold space for each other and ourselves.
Elizabeth Prose is the associate editor of Spin Off and PieceWork magazines.