Book Review: Crochet Saved My Life by Kathryn Vercillo

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of finding the CrochetConcupiscence blog. Kathryn’s work on that blog, rounding up the best of crochet from around the web, is to be lauded. Not only does CrochetConcupiscence cover the best in patterns and projects, but also the best in what crochet can do FOR crafters.

Her book, Crochet Saved My Life, is a thorough summary of the benefits of crochet. Through a combination of interviews, article research, and her own personal experience, Kathryn explains the benefits of crochet for mental conditions including depression, anxiety, OCD and addiction, PTSD, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, Alzheimer’s, and dementia, for physical conditions such as chronic pain, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, Lyme disease, restless leg syndrome, and Menière’s disease, and as a tool in occupational therapy.

The book isn’t “light reading,” but Kathryn keeps the writing interesting and direct. The stories around her own experience as well as the two dozen other people she interviewed are presented matter-of-factly – as a way to demonstrate how crochet has benefited their particular situations. And the benefits are many: calmness, focus, relaxation, creativity, productivity, generosity, and increased self-esteem just to name a few.

a crochet hook heartAlthough the book focuses on crochet, as a needlepointer and cross stitcher, I know that I definitely experience the same benefits as Kathryn’s crocheters. Fortunately, I do not suffer from any of mental or physical conditions mentioned in the book, but I still benefit from my craft. Indeed, I tend to think of my needlework as a bit of preventive medicine! I can easily see how many of the same benefits apply toward other crafts – knitting, scrapbooking, woodworking, gardening, pottery, beading, weaving, jewelry making, quilting, just to name a few.

Polymer Clay Crochet Hook HandlesI would recommend this book to anyone dealing with any of the mental or physical conditions listed above either with yourself or with a loved one. I would also go as far as to say that psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, counselors, gerontologists, life coaches, and other professionals in mental and physical health would find this book a very valuable resource in their toolkits.

One final, rather curious, comment about this book. In her chapter on depression, one of the topics Kathryn covers is the sense of touch. She mentions that “a fuzzy pet can be a great comfort,” and that “the feel of working with yarn can be one of those healing touch options” as well. Well, I found the book itself to have a similar beneficial effect! To be specific, the feel of the edge of the book and quickly flipping the pages with my thumb had a very calming effect. In fact, I found myself thumbing the pages almost unconsciously while I was reading. Fascinating!

Visit CrochetConcupiscence for the latest in crochet trends and benefits. And visit CrochetSavedMyLife.com for more about the book and Kathryn’s work.

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