zen and the art of crochet

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I'm rubbish at meditating, don't 'get' yoga, have a typical introverted whirlwind of a mind, am impatient, hate wasting time and chew the sides of my mouth when I'm stressed. Yes, much to my disappointment, I'm a bit type a and I'm always on the lookout for ways to calm my mind, de-stress my body and not think for a bit.

Then four years ago I discovered my very own path to zen in the unlikely form of some wool and a stick and I've been hooked (excuse the pun) on crochet ever since. It's a funny thing to be gripped by a creative outlet so late in life, a funny and bloody gorgeous thing. You see I had always bemoaned the fact that I felt creative in my soul, colourful even, but had no way of getting what was inside me out. I can't draw or paint, I can't sew, dance, play music (not even the recorder), I want to knit but find myself constantly baffled by it and I most definitely can't sing! Then a chance encounter with a crochet book found me intrigued, what was this magical art, how is it even possible to make such beautiful stuff with a hook and a ball of yarn.

Two weeks and approximately one hundred YouTube videos later and I could do it. I started on my first project and my new life, the one in which I'm a creative being, began with earnest. I've crocheted blankets and scarves, teddy bears and baby cardigans, gloves, hats and shawls, baby mobiles, birds and potholders. I have made my own designs, dozens of presents, sit surrounded by bags of yarn and am obsessed with vintage crochet books. It is quite literally my world. I can do it whilst watching telly, in the car, on a sun lounger (bit itchy) and with friends. It has happened in bed, in hospital, on the train and sometimes after a glass or two of red wine (not recommended).

I never thought a hobby could provide such a sense of instant wellbeing. I'm drawn to crocheting over and over again because it stills my mind. Completely. I can sit and crochet and almost immediately am in the soothing rhythm of the pattern, it is contemplative and inspiring, my thoughts only resting on the next stitch, over and over. Wonderfully easy mindfulness (I am lazy) and productive too, you know I've got some great crocheted shit in my house.

I think our creativity is magnetic, the more you use it the greater your strength. Ideas will come bounding in from everywhere, you will be flooded with inspiration and be glad of it. This is where the zen happens, you are attracting all that is colourful and creative and woolly from the universe, you are calling to it and it is answering you. I couldn't wish for a better connection, or a prettier one.

So if you fancy trying out something new and woolly get yourself some yarn, get a hook or some needles and start stitching your way to serenity. I guarantee you will love it, you'll feel like a nana but you will love it.

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This post first appeared as a guest post on Kate's blog One Small Life.