Thursday, 10 December 2015

healing crafts



Apologies in advance for the length of this post, but I have finally had to make the admission to myself (which you may have already gathered yourself from my previous sporadic posting!) that I am a blogger of very good intentions but a lack of time to actually dedicate to posting! I don’t want to make excuses, but since my last post, added to all the regular work and life stuff, there have been other reasons for my lack of presence.

Looking back at my last post, all the way back in March, it feels like such a short time ago, but in that few months so much has changed for us. I don’t usually talk about personal things on this blog. I try to keep to the yarny stuff. I find that comes more easily to me. But recently there seem to be a lot of stories on the web about craft as a powerful healer and I have found crafting (and talking) has helped me through a hard time this year.

Recently I had a lovely chat with the gorgeous sisters behind the yarn company Millamia, which is experiencing its own transitional year in many ways and it made me think once more about my experiences this year and was the motivation for writing them down here. When I wrote that last post in March I was in the middle of writing a new book (due out next year) and I was making a soft, pretty granny blanket for it using the gorgeously squishy Millamia Aran weight.  When I began making the blanket it was a daily reminder of the impending exciting, positive changes I had to look forward to this year. I enjoyed working on that blanket so much, the yarn is a pleasure to work with and the colours are so calming. As anyone who follows me on Pinterest or Instagram will know, the greyscale and pop of warm ochre is one of my all time favourite colourways!

In the week following that last March post, two things happened – I got very ill and we moved home. Not just to a new house, but a new county. I have always lived in and around London, but this confirmed big city gal has overcome her vertigo and moved (slightly) north! Away from friends and family for a new adventure. Despite my initial worries, I am finding that I enjoy the slower pace of life, the serenity of the surrounding countryside and the large network of families who surround us. The most joyous thing is seeing my daughter play in our street with her new friends, which she never did in the city.


The blanket, meanwhile, became something different – it was a symbol of the hopefulness I had felt before that fateful week and a soothing project I needed to work through to help myself heal. I needed to finish that project before anything else. It needed ‘closure’. As I worked, I posted a picture on Instagram, my little reach out to the world. I mused about how many different, conflicting emotions could be captured in a project, entwined in the rhythmical knotting of one long piece of thread. I thought I was being cryptic enough to protect my own privacy, but a good friend insisted that we meet to talk. I was moved to tears. The healing had begun. I am now looking forward to hopefully having that blanket returned to me once the book is published as a tangible reminder of all I have been through this year, in the hope I will never forget the myriad of important emotions I experienced. Much like a Crochet Mood Blanket, it is more powerful than even a diary from the time could have been, when I couldn’t phrase all the things I needed to say, pick out the important stuff from all the thoughts rushing through my head.

I know that the way I have used crafting in my life to work through problems is not unique. I have heard many similar stories to mine over my years working with yarn, especially when I worked in Loop. Our ancestors knew all about yarn, crafts and their healing, commemorative properties, about the love that can be shared through one piece of fabric. I have discovered, from my own experiences teaching textiles, that groups of people crafting talk about things they would not usually share with strangers, a phenomenon that I have read people have utilised in therapeutic ways. I feel almost like an online crafting, creative community has also aided my own healing and I want to say thank you to all the people who have generously shared their own stories directly with me, or indirectly through sharing with the Internet at large. You have been a great help.

Normal service will continue shortly. Hopefully with a new-look blog and a rejuvenated approach. In my time away I have been planning more tutorials, free patterns and content that I hope you will find useful. I am now starting the process of teaching my little one to knit, which I shall also share here to aid you with teaching your own little ones. I am hoping she will enjoy it and use it as a tool for relaxation, creativity, healing – whatever she wishes. Perhaps she will even think fondly of the craft as a link to me, in the way that I feel I have a link to my own mother, and even my great grandmother and the generations further back that I have no knowledge of who passed down these skills. These are the things I love about yarn crafts. The things I am endlessly interested in. I hope you are too. I will never tire of talking about them, and want to encourage this talking, crafting and perhaps even healing.

6 comments:

Alessandra Poggiagliolmi said...

.... a big hug, take care of yourself!
I knit and crochet, too, and these crafts help me a lot through hard times, as the expat life is not always easy!
xxxxxx Ale

Heldasland said...

What a beautiful post . I agree with everything you have written . My story is similar I don't want to sound dramatic but crochet has saved me on many occasions from deep despair. It soothes ,heals and it helps me have hope . Hugs

vicarno's mama said...

What a precious intimate post ! Thank you for sharing it with us. I wish you all the the best for today, tomorrow and the future in 2016.

claire montgomerie said...

Thank you so much my lovelies for taking the time to comment. It is so nice to hear that others heal through their craft too - it is like we are linked by our craft, such a lovely thought :)
lots of love
Claire x

Ali Campbell said...

A lovely read Claire. I have found Crochet very healing too. It's taken me through massive amounts of pain since my leg injury in 2004 Tsunami and 3 operations since then. It really does heal. I have just been privileged enough to write some patterns for an upcoming book of the same ilk, so I hope that this message is spread wider & more people take up crafting of any kind.
Sending you big Crochet Cuddles and thanking you for ALL your support in 2015.
Ali xxx

claire montgomerie said...

ooo Ali that sounds exciting - can't wait to hear more! Thank you for your lovely comments, and I have really enjoyed working with you this year!!
Claire x