In Praise of Fiber Arts

Knitting and crocheting and other fiber arts have made somewhat of a comeback in recent years, but they remain, in my estimation, underestimated.

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Baby shoes I made for the youngest.

As a process, yarn crafting and fiber arts offer meditative stillness and gentle momentum. The repetition of pulling through a loop or threading a stitch is natural and ancestral. It bears the rhythm of the elements, the ebb and flow of water and the current of wind. Fiber art pieces develop slowly, appearing in completion like a morning glory after days or weeks of winding upward. Yarn crafting is therapeutic, reducing depression, anxiety, insomnia and dementia, along with having other health benefits.

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Freehand toddler mitten. My son could never quite get his thumb in the right spot, though, so I never made the other side.

For some, now could be an ideal time to learn crocheting, knitting, cross-stitching or hand-sewing. While much thought can go into the colors and design, the bulk of the work is done in simple, repetitive steps. I sometimes tell myself that if I feed my brain good “food,” I won’t want to “snack” as much during the day with, say, endless social media scrolling. I consider crochet as part of the good food category, even though it isn’t as dense or chewy as some things.

Mood Mittens
Slip-stitch mittens

Lately I’ve mostly made a bit of progress on a sleeping mat I am making. This is a huge project I’ve already spent, I’d guess, over fifty hours on (including cutting up plastic bags into two-inch rings and looping them together to make plarn). This project is easier done in groups just because of the sheer size of the project, though I’ve also found it fulfilling to work on alone. When I’m done, we’ll bring it to our local homeless shelter. The mats are lightweight and easy to carry, easy to wash off, pretty durable, insulating, thick and cushy.

Plarnmat
This is about half of what I’ve got. I still have about two feet left to go.

Happy social distancing. Stay safe and sane!

 

6 thoughts on “In Praise of Fiber Arts”

  1. I learned to crochet when I was in my early twenties and went through various phases of getting into it or letting the needles rest. (I was also taught to knit, but it never took hold like crocheting.)

    When I moved abroad I brought my favorite set of crochet needles along, but at the end of 2017 when I thought we were moving back to the States, I gave mine away (???) or lost them somehow. So I’m needle-less!

    I really need to find one again and start up. I like to do it when the weather’s cold, which in SE Asia is like one day out of the year. Hahahahhaa. But you reminded me of what an excellent hobby it is esp during this time.

    I love your little projects!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lani! It is harder when the weather’s hot, for sure. And I definitely wax and wane–sometimes I get into it and othertimes I put it aside for long periods, which I think is fine. I love that it’s there for me when I need or want it, and sometimes I tell Michael that if I’m in a slump or not feeling well, he should ask me to make him a hat or something and crocheting will help me feel better, haha. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I recently took up punch needle. It is an incredibly satisfying craft because it is so fun and easy, and gives good results. It only takes a little bit to get good enough at it that your work looks decent, but obviously that’s not to say one can get actually GOOD at it in a week – that’s not the case for anything, really. I also kind of went in not at all knowing what on earth I was going to do, and I designed my project as I went along, so it has come out as a very odd, fantasy creature… I am not very proud of what it is… but it is my first project, so.

    I’ve also done a little embroidery. I made a logo for my D&D team, the Rainbow Tentacles (long story – don’t ask).

    I learned to knit when I was very young, maybe five or so, but I’ve forgotten since then. I’d love to learn again, or to learn to finger-knit or crochet. I don’t know, but there’s something about crocheting that really draws me in. Even though I don’t know anything at all about it besides maybe being able to tell if a stuffed animal was crocheted.

    I think they are a beautiful art and really should be praised more. In other words, I wish there were more blog posts like this. I also wish that I did them more often.

    Good for you for spending so much time crafting this thing you are going to donate. Honestly, I do not have very much patience for long projects, so I’d probably get bored of it after a few weeks and it would remain dusty in a random corner, me not knowing what to do with it. I hope you will post the results when you finish, I’d love to see!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hadn’t heard of punch needle before, I just looked it up and I love it! That’s amazing! My first projects are always a mess (and second and third and fourth…)

      I find crocheting more intuitive personally, but one of these days I’d love to get a handle on knitting. There are some gorgeous knit stitches and I’d love to make a sweater sometime, which I’ve read is much easier/practical with knitting.

      The sleeping mat has been in the works for a long time–I pull it out at times, and then it spends time in the closet for long stretches between. So it’s not like I’ve been doing it in one go. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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