Crochet Saved My Life [Book Review]

A few weeks ago, a reader contacted me and asked me if I would like a copy of her book, “Crochet Saved My Life“.

Being that I love reading and I’m generally open to anything free, awesome, and dealing with psychology. I said, “Heck, yes!”

What Kathryn didn’t know is that in a small way, crochet also saved my life.

Shortly after I graduated college in 2009, I went through a break-up. This break-up was one that I did not see coming and one that my cerebral mind could not make sense of. Even worse, the economy was down and I was back home living with my parents. Things were rough. I was working at a preschool (not my field of study) and feeling like a world-class loser. I knew I wanted to to go to graduate school for counseling, but that was six months to a year away. My heartache bled through my house and my mother comforted me many times as I spontaneously sobbed to her in the kitchen. I felt completely unworthy of love and very confused about who I was as a person.

One night, I was sitting on the couch and my sister was crocheting her Christmas gifts for the family. {She does this notoriously, usually getting about one gift accomplished each season, maybe two. I’ve been lucky and loved enough to receive a crocheted gift two years in a row!} I was sitting on the couch about one glass (or three?) of wine in my system, allowing the thoughts to ruminate, feeling the salt burn my eyes as I held back my heartache. My sister piped up with, “Do you want to crochet? It produces serotonin!”

So, I began to crochet. I crocheted through the winter. I made some measly scarves and a beanie that looked mostly like a overgrown yarmulke. When the chill left and the spring came, I went to grad school and I crocheted until my life was so full and vibrant, I left the hook alone. I haven’t picked it up since, but I feel a warmth when I think about my time crocheting. Those memories don’t hurt.

This book written by Kathryn Vercillo is a labor of love and expertise. I feel a kindred spirit with Kathryn because she’s wrestled with deep depression and I feel even closer to her because she’s just brazen enough to talk about it, write about it, and be about it. She interviewed over 20 women who have found relief from other mental health and physical issues and got their stories about their relationship with the crochet hook. The memoirs of these women are raw and beautiful. From severe trauma to anxiety disorders, Kathryn covers the facts and narratives that truly flesh out what an amazing craft crochet is.

When reflecting back on my time crocheting, I see all the benefits of crochet Kathryn outlines in her book in my own experience:

  • Practicing mindfulness
  • Breaking the cycle of rumination (this one was huge for me!)
  • Serotonin release (I guess my sister is pretty smart, eh?)
  • Healing benefits of visualizing and completing a project
  • Building Self-Esteem
  • Developing a New Interest
  • Color and Mood – It’s difficult to stay globally depressed when you’re buried deep in beautiful colors and really just paying attention to details of the world like color. (Another example of mindfulness)
  • Sense of Touch – specifically in depression, touch can be very strange. Very often in the depressed, touch is desperately longed for, yet terrifying and uncomfortable. Having the opportunity to create a relationship with fabrics (that sounds weird, but you know what I mean) that ultimately allow you to grow and potentially create relationships through those efforts of crochet and touch (like giving your efforts as gifts) is desensitizing to the touch that can feel so overwhelming in depression.

Kathryn, I loved your book. I admire your courage, your resilience, and your fabulous writing skills. You kept me hooked. ;) {Bet no one has made that joke yet!}



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Posted on by Jen Bingaman, M.A. LMHCA Posted in Books, Mind, Sass
Jen Bingaman, M.A. LMHCA

About Jen Bingaman, M.A. LMHCA

Hi, I’m Jen. I’m a mental health counselor newly residing in Seattle, Washington. I strongly believe in the mind-body connection as the cornerstone of my professional ideology, along with the healing possibilities of puppies, a good glass of red wine, the smell of a new book, and the importance of travel.