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Author Archives: Kathryn Vercillo

  • How "Craft As Therapy" Grew Into a Thriving Community

    Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo is an expert in the area of using crafting to heal, having researched the topic extensively for her book Crochet Saved My Life. In this post she introduces us to the Craft As Therapy community on Instagram, which is a daily visual celebration of the healing capacities of crafting. Read Kathryn’s previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.

    When Mandy of the RedAgape Style & Design blog started using the hashtag #craftastherapy on her own Instagram account, it was just a personal thing. She had always loved crafting but after her mother was diagnosed with brain cancer and the diagnosis worsened Mandy’s own illness, she realized just how important crafting was for her health. She began to intentionally turn to crafting as a way to distract herself from the anxiety of this period, and she began to tag her photos accordingly.

    #CraftAsTherapy

    yarnsPeople immediately took notice. Others started using the hashtag widely. Mandy says, “It became apparent to me how important craft is as a form of therapy, not just for me, but for many other crafters. Many have shared their stories about why they craft for therapy. Some are suffering with mental illness, infertility issues, chronic illness, physical illness … and some craft simply because it is cheaper than (traditional) therapy and keeps them smiling!”

    Mandy was surprised by how much people loved this hashtag, although looking back she says she’s surprised that she was so surprised. She says, “I’m not sure why I thought I was the only one. I mean; there is a reason that coloring books for adults are so popular right now. Everyone is looking for some time out for their minds and crafting is perfect.”

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  • Pocket Prayer Shawls Provide Portable Comfort

    Pocket Prayer ShawlsBlogger and author Kathryn Vercillo is an expert in the area of using crafting to heal, having researched the topic extensively for her book Crochet Saved My Life. In this post she tells us about pocket prayer shawls, which are fun to craft and healing for recipients. Read Kathryn’s previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.

    Photo credit: Southern Belle Crochet -- Free pattern available.

    *****

    Prayer shawls provide comfort to those who make them as well as to the recipients of these special gifts. However, it can take a long time to knit or crochet a shawl and some people, although they appreciate the gift of one, don’t ever wear shawls. Pocket prayer shawls address both of those issues, allowing crafters to quickly work up comforting handmade squares that any recipient can carry at any time for constant comfort.

    Learn about the benefits of prayer shawls.

    What is a pocket prayer shawl?

    As the name suggests, this is a miniature version of a prayer shawl that is small enough to fit inside of a pocket. As with all prayer shawls, the crafter infuses each stitch with a prayer or loving intention to provide love and goodwill to the person who will receive the small item. Pocket prayer shawls, also called prayer squares and prayer cloths, are small enough to be tucked into pockets, purses and even inside helmets. They can also be carried into surgery and taken on vacations.

    Who needs pocket prayer shawls?

    Who might receive a pocket prayer shawl? Anyone who needs the comfort of a handmade item! You might craft an individual pocket shawl for a specific person you know who has had a recent loss or who is going through an illness. Alternatively, you might knit or crochet many of these and make them available to people to take them when they feel that need that comfort. A basket of these shawls, each with a prayer or note attached, can be placed so that those who are seeking extra support can feel comfortable taking one.

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  • 4 Ways Knitting and Crocheting for an Animal Can Be Healing for Yourself

    Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo is an expert in the area of using crafting to heal, having researched the topic extensively for her book Crochet Saved My Life. In this post she explores the benefits of having pets and other animals in our lives and how we can craft for them as a way to heal ourselves. Read Kathryn’s previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here.

    pet_05262015
    Pattern: Barkley Loves His Blanket
    Every week I pick up a friend’s Golden Retriever and together we volunteer through the SPCA doing animal-assisted emotional support therapy. We visit hospitals, schools, housing shelters, community organizations, transitional living residences … and no matter where we visit, the energy of the room changes as soon as the puppy walks through the door. People relax. People smile. People play.

    One of the most underlooked ways that animals can help us is through our knitting and crochet. Whether or not you have a pet of your own, you can find ways to crochet for animals that help to benefit them as well as yourself.

    1) Crafting for Pets That Are Ill

    It can be so difficult on us when our pets get ill, especially with a chronic illness. Animals with long-term illnesses require a lot of care and support. People sometimes reduce their hours at work or change their social schedules for years at a time in order to accommodate the special needs of a sick animal. We do this because we love them but we shouldn’t underestimate how stressful it can be for us.

    Having a pet that is chronically ill can lead to the same kind of caregiver stress experienced by people who are taking care of elderly parents or special needs children. Knitting and crochet help to relieve depression in caregivers. Making items for your own pet in need can be a way that you give to them while sustaining yourself. It can feel especially healing to make something that will comfort the animal - a soft new pet bed, a cuddly new pet toy - because it really feels like the time that you’re taking for yourself is also giving to the animal.

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