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Crafting Your Way Through Cabin Fever

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Crafting Your Way Through Cabin Fever

Blogger and author Kathryn Vercillo shares tips for using knitting or crochet to relieve the restlessness of cabin fever this winter. Read her previous blog posts on the Lion Brand Notebook here

We’ve survived the Polar Vortex but winter is really just beginning. There are a lot of days ahead when we might be stuck in the house because of the weather. You might get gripped by cabin fever; that restless, anxious, irritable feeling that we all sometimes get when we’re stuck inside for too long. Crocheting or knitting can be the best way to alleviate that feeling.

What is Cabin Fever?


The first thing to do is recognize that you have cabin fever! Cabin fever, which typically happens when you’re inside for an extended period of time, often due to extreme outdoor weather conditions, is characterized by:

  • Extreme irritability
  • Extreme feelings of restlessness
  • A strong desire to get away from the people
    who are with you
  • Frustration, defensiveness and annoyance
    with those people
  • Extreme boredom; nothing feels like fun to do
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Feelings of depression

It helps to be aware that these feelings might be caused by cabin fever because then you can recognize what it is and do something about it!

How Crafting Helps

Your crochet and knitting can help you fight off these feelings when you’re stuck inside this winter. Here are some of the reasons these crafts help:

  • They channel your restlessness into the physical motion of the craft.
  • They provide you a way to “get away” from everyone else around you without actually leaving the space.
  • Crafting offers a productive, creative outlet for your negative feelings.
  • Focusing on the creative things you can do with your craft helps switch up the routine and re-routes boredom.
  • Hands-on crafting has been proven to ward off symptoms of depression for a number of reasons including that it helps break negative cycles of rumination, increases serotonin production and serves as meditation.

Tips for Crafting Away Cabin Fever

Any attention to your crafting during cabin fever will help make it go away but here are some special tips to help you make the most of being inside this winter:

  • Take on more challenging projects. This helps to entertain your mind.
  • Work with your favorite yarns. The tactile and visual pleasure of the work will help break the monotony of cabin fever.
  • Institute a “quiet crafting time” in your home. This gives everyone a break from each other even though you’re all stuck inside.
  • Crochet or knit something for someone you love. It reminds you to feel love and gratitude despite the cabin fever. Winter is a great time to make prayer shawls!
  • Join a CAL or KAL online. Any online crafting community can help you feel like you’re “getting outside” even though you’re still at home.
  • Bring nature into your craft space where possible. Move your chair close to a window, set up some indoor plants and do your crafting near those natural inspirations.
  • Crochet or knit yourself something really cozy. Embrace the cold darkness of winter and make it nicer for yourself in this way. Whether it’s a crochet mug cozy or a rich knit blanket, it can warm you through and through.

Have you ever experienced cabin fever? In what ways do you think knitting or crochet can help? Share your stories in the comments below as inspiration for others going through this tough experience!

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  • I knit my way through life, and was very disappointed to see that all 6 new afghan patterns were for crocheting. Please remember that afghans can be either knit or crocheted, and consider everyone when you post patterns in emails.

    • It’s very unusual to see that many crochet patterns at once – usually the overwhelming majority of patterns are for knitting with a couple of poor cousins thrown in for the crocheters among us.
      Did you know that there are literally hundreds of knit afghan patterns on There’s a search engine there that will find any kind of pattern you want. You can also go to the kind of wool and find patterns that way. It’s a pretty amazing site.
      (I don’t work there – I just worship there!!)

    • It’s ironic to see someone saying there are more crochet patterns than knit patterns. I’m just the opposite, grumbling from time to time about all the knitting patterns in the LB newsletter, especially when it comes to sweaters and other wearables. Sometimes there are more crochet patterns; other times, more knitting patterns. I’m sure it evens out in the long run.

    • It seems like usually on Lion Brand there are more crochet patterns for rectangles, scarves and afghans, than knit patterns, and more knit patterns for clothing, sweaters, hats, gloves, etc, which seems strange to me because it seems like it is easier to knit rectangles than things like gloves, and it seems like it ought to be easier to crochet fingers on gloves than to knit them. Does anyone know why there are not more crochet patterns for gloves?

  • Crochet brings a peace of mind not attainable thru any other medium I have tried: reading, writing, drawing, coloring… Crochet’s repetition and rhythms make it the perfect craft for “being here while being somewhere else” and that’s so necessary in a small home with a retired, very engaging husband. This is one of my first times to LBY website; off I go to explore. The commenter above me mentioned SIX crochet patterns for blankets. I would love to find them. (LyndaMOtvos at gmail dot com)

  • when I was still at home my mom taught all three of us girls how to crochet and during the foot ball season we all enjoyed watching the games with our dad while we crocheted with our mom. I have started the same tradition with my daughter and sons. I have also taught them to knit and watch the game or other programs. My success is not equal to moms but has been a fun and rewarding experience.

  • I learned to knit on a snowy weekend. I wasn’t feeling well and wanted to give myself something to do which would reduce the temptation to get out of the house even though the weather was unpleasant to be out in. I got some yarn and needles at Walmart, and some books at the library and I looked back and forth between the explanations and pictures in the different books, which of course all taught the knitting a lttle differently, and finally came up with my own version that was close to one of the books, and then just kept practicing so that I would not forget it. And I have been knitting ever since, close to six years now I think. At first I only knit garter stitch, for several weeks then eventually learned to purl, mostly so I could do ribbing. I still prefer straight knitting. In addition to knitting rectangles, scarves and lap robes mostly, I have knit hats, cowls, one sock, and one vest. I have now started on three sweaters. Once I get comfortable with sweaters I will retackle socks. Fortunately the vest fit beautifully, which gave me confidence to go on to sweaters. Unfortunately while the first sock was about the right size it was not the right shape, which was discouraging. But only temporarily. Okay, it has been two years since I made the vest and the sock, and I am just now venturing into sweaters. But it will be less than a year before I finish the three sweaters and get started on more socks. The main reason that I am more comfortable about doing more sweaters than socks is that I have found more information about shaping sweaters than about shaping socks. Most sock instructions seem to think that socks are just bigger or smaller but all the same shape, and that shape is all wrong for my foot and calf.

    Anybody know any good references for making socks fit unusual shaped feet? Big calfs, narrow ankle narrow heel, moderate arch, wide ball and very wide even length toes? Long foot, too.

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