Maybe you know someone who crochets and has encouraged you also to do it. There are lots of reasons why you should start crocheting. It has loads of benefits that you can take advantage of.
Crocheting makes you productive, enhances your creativity, has health benefits, and more. To start crocheting, you will be needing these basic items: crochet hook, yarn, and scissors. All you need are these three, and you are good to go, along with motivation, of course. Crocheting is a fun hobby you can do or something that can generate income for you, as well. There are endless patterns you can try, and once you get the hang of it, you can even create your own. You can do scarves, socks, baby garments, sweaters, blankets and lots more.
First, let us discuss the benefits you will get from doing crochet.
Benefits of Crocheting
1. Crochet is Good for the Brain
While you’re having fun crocheting, you’re also helping your brain.
- Helps prevent dementia – Studies have been conducted on both crocheters and knitters and have found that these yarn craft hobbies decrease the risk of developing dementia by 40%, which is a significant amount if you ask me.
- The power of repetition – Croheting’s repetitive movements are likely to promote complete relaxation, which is comparable to meditation and yoga’s effects. It’s not only good for your brain, but it’s also good for your heart, as well.
- Improve learning skills – Repetition is also the key to this benefit. Repetitive and relevant tasks such as crocheting are essential for forming synapses, improving your capability to learn new things.
- Improves logic and imagination – With crochet, you use both imagination and logic. You need quick problem-solving skills and creativity when it comes to working on a crochet project. Figuring out a pattern takes logic and imagination for you to follow complicated instructions.
- Stimulates your reward center – That feeling that you have accomplished something when you hold your completed crochet project is priceless! When this happens, there is stimulation with the reward center of your brain, which promotes the release of endorphins. Endorphins have positive effects on your mood and self-confidence.
- Improves mathematical ability – Crocheting can sharpen your math skills because you are often using addition and multiplication when counting stitches and rows. Measuring is involved, as well.
- Helps with insomnia – When you find yourself tossing and turning in the middle of the night, get your crochet materials, and start crocheting. The repetitive movements will help you relax and be calm and will make you sleepy eventually.
- Improves memory – Crocheting exercises your brain, thus improving your memory. With crochet, it is crucial that you keep track of how many rows your project requires or which color should come next. Crocheting will force your brain to rely upon and use its memory centers while being enjoyable and not tedious. Think of your memory as a muscle; it will get stronger the more you use it.
2. Crochet Lowers Blood Pressure and Heart Rate
When you crochet, you will notice that you feel much more relaxed after a good session. When you are relaxed, your cortisol levels decrease. Cortisol is a chemical in your body that induces stress. High levels of cortisol can be dangerous to your circulatory system and your heart. It can also cause some unpleasant health problems, as well.
Having high blood pressure can be a dangerous condition. When left untreated, elevated blood pressure will lead to heart disease. The leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S. is heart disease. Any person who has high blood pressure must work to decrease their levels by all means. Research shows that crochet and other yarn crafts are effective in lowering blood pressure. The meditative benefits of crocheting mainly contribute to lowering blood pressure. It promotes a relaxation response that helps reduce blood pressure.
Heart rate is how many times your heart beats per minute. When you are working out or doing something tiring, a higher heart rate is normal. However, if your heart rate is higher while doing nothing or just doing what you would normally do every day, it’s a different story. Tachycardia is a medical condition where your heart beats over 100 beats per minute, and this can be fatal. Crocheting and other yarn crafts can help reduce the chances of having this condition.
Repetitive movements of crocheting have physiological effects in the body that can help lower your heart rate. Lowering your heart rate will reduce the strain on your heart.
3. Crochet is a Great Stress Reliever
All of us are affected by stress one way or another. Some may be affected more than others. When we are under stress, adrenaline is released in our body, which increases blood pressure and heart rate, as well. Increased adrenaline in our system is called the “fight and flight” response. This is where your body is being prepared for the worst-case scenario, which is the fight.
Those who have chronic stress always experience that fight or flight response, which can be detrimental to the heart. Crocheting brings you to a meditative state which can get rid of stress. Crocheting will help your mind unwind, put aside your worries, and ultimately make you feel good.
Crochet is an excellent way to deal with stress, whether from a job, or some family problem. The stress relief from crocheting comes from its very nature. You can come up with new ideas, or solve any problem while you are crocheting. When you are upset, anxious, or want to pass the time, crochet will always be there, and you can count on it to help you unwind while developing your creativity.
You can also maximize the stress-relieving benefits of crocheting by:
- Choosing a simple pattern – To get the full benefits of relieving stress with crocheting, you can pick a project that you don’t have to think too intensely about. You want to steer away from more complicated patterns and choose simple ones such as a beach bag or an afghan instead. Simple projects have repeating stitches and won’t require too much attention from you. While doing the project, you will get into a seamless rhythm with the stitches after a while, and you will feel your mind wander. That is good because it means that you are in a meditative state.
- Choose the right type of hook and yarn – Choose a yarn that is easy to work with. If your yarn is too bulky or too fine, it tends to slow you down, and you won’t get into that meditative state you need to relieve stress. Make sure that your hook is not too small or too big, as well.
- Making crocheting a daily habit – Set a time every day for your crochet sessions. After running errands, working, cleaning, and chasing after the kids, you will need some downtime for you to relax. Making this time every day for yourself will decrease your stress level, and you’ll find yourself looking forward to it. What’s also great about crochet is that you are able to make something useful that you can use for yourself or give as a gift.
4. Crochet Keeps Your Fingers Nimble
Crocheting will require several small and precise movements that are often executed rapidly. These repeated movements are excellent for keeping the joints of your fingers flexible, and your hand muscles steady and toned. Although it seems counterintuitive, keeping your fingers moving by crocheting will maintain mobility if you have arthritis.
Naturally, like with any activity, do not overdo it and be gentle. Make sure you take breaks to stretch and exercise your hands. It is important that you rest in between your crochet sessions.
You can do these exercises for your hands to prevent hand pain.
- Clasped Prayer Hands – Begin by interlacing your fingers as if you are about to pray, then draw your elbows close together. The exercise should already make itself obvious through your chest and the uppermost parts of your wrist. From that position, rotate the base of your hands clockwise, which will help loosen the wrist, palms, and the dorsal side of your hands.
You can also alternate the motion to a counterclockwise direction. This exercise will give you a greater range of motion and lessen the build-ups of inflammatory acids. The reduction of the inflammatory acid levels will contribute to healing the repetitive strain injuries. These inflammatory acids are moved out of the affected spot and back into the bloodstream.
- Finger Pulling – When your fingers are more affected than the other areas of your hand, simply pulling and rotating your fingers gently in a slow, circular motion will provide relief. This exercise will also restore your range of motion that was lost because of repetitive strain injury.
This is beneficial for people with arthritis because encouraging a fuller range of motion frequently can alleviate the tight sensations and grip in the fingers. It’s normal to hear a slight pop sound when doing a finger pull stretch. The sound comes from the release of gases in the joint. The amount of gas increases because of the repetitive strain.
- Thumb Rocking – Carpal tunnel syndrome affects the index finger and the thumb with burning and tight sensations from overuse. If you are affected by the condition, allow your arms to droop down your side with your hands and fingers outstretched. From there, gently clasp your thumb and support the side of your wrist using your available hand. This will allow you to stretch your median nerve with the use of gentle pulling motion. The range of motion for this exercise is very short; however, the relief is incredible if you have problematic pointers and thumbs.
It is always best to discuss with your physician first before you attempt to do thumb rocking. This is because other relief measures in place can be compromised with additional flexibility to the median nerve.
- Alternate Prayer Hands – Joining and clasping your fingers provide exceptional relief to your hands. Leaving your hands outstretched and your palms pushed together will target the wrist. When you drive your hands downward while they are pushed together will quickly open your supporting tendons and will allow your wrists to relax with a light stretch.
- The Stop Sign – To do the stop sign stretch, outstretch your arm with a clenched fist, and then open your fingers as if you are signaling someone to stop. Repeat the stretch several times. This makes an excellent cool-down stretch when it’s time to put your crochet hooks away for the night.
It opens the usual tight areas of your hands and wrists, which allows oxygenated, healthy blood to move in. This will clear any acidic accumulations built up throughout the session.
5. Crochet Can Help You Cope with Depression and Anxiety
Researches were conducted that shows crochet and other yarn crafts do reduce depression and anxiety. The repetitive motion of crocheting has been proven to induce the release of serotonin, which is a natural anti-depressant. Crochet also helps
Crochet also helps with anxiety because it keeps your mind focused and your hands busy. It will bring your brain into a calmer state when you are coping with anxiety. There is truly a strong connection between crocheting and other yarn crafts to feelings of happiness and calmness. Several crocheters find benefit in the social nature of crocheting, as well. Whether they are in a local crochet group or an online crochet community.
6. Crochet Can Help with Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is experienced by several people around the world. For many, crocheting has been the key to alleviating their chronic pain. Crocheting has become an integral part of pain management for them. It offers both social support and physical relief, which greatly helps in reducing the effects and feelings of chronic pain.
Crochet is not just a hobby; it has become therapeutic for those who suffer chronic pain. It somehow provides them an escape from their pain. When you are crocheting and have gotten to a point where you’re doing smooth repetitive motions, you are already in a meditative state which helps alleviate pain. You are focused on your crochet piece and not on the pain you are feeling.
7. Crochet Can Boost Your Self Esteem and Confidence
While working on a project feels fulfilling, it is even better when you are able to complete one. It is something that you can be proud of. You can hold up your finished project and say, “I did this!” Crochet is a skill that you have learned and mastered over time, and it is something you can do. Finishing a project as small as baby hats to as big as blankets can provide you a sense of joy and effectiveness that can’t be underestimated.
8. Crochet Can Help Break Bad Habits
When you have a bad habit that you cannot seem to get rid of, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, or overeating, then maybe crochet is the answer to your dilemma. Doing something as productive as crocheting will keep your hands busy and will also keep your mind off the less healthy concerns you have. So, next time you feel the urge to open another can of beer, pick up your hook and yarn instead and start crocheting!
9. Crochet Somewhat Gives You a Sense of Purpose
Having a crochet project will give you a goal you can look forward to and a sense of purpose, as well. You want to achieve that goal, and as you get closer ad closer to your goal is a great and inspiring feeling. You can make your gifts for your friends and loved ones instead of buying them. You can also create necessities such as mittens and scarves for the needy. It is indeed deeply fulfilling when you are creating something for someone.
10. Crochet Can Be as Affordable as You Want it to Be
Crochet supplies vary in price, and you can make your project as affordable or as expensive as you want it to be. If you have a tight budget, you can crochet, and if you have money to splurge, you can crochet, as well. The sky is the limit when it comes to crocheting.
What You’ll Need to Start Crocheting
If you want to learn how to crochet, you have to learn the basics and start at the very beginning. There is a broad range of available yarns, hooks, stitches, and patterns you can use, and it can be overwhelming when you are new to the craft. What should you learn first? Which yarns and hooks should you use? With so many options, how do you start?
You won’t need lots of supplies to start crochet. The basic supplies include:
- Crochet hook
The hook size you’ll need depends on the yarn you’ll be using. You can check the yarn label to see the recommended hook size you can use. Most yarns will indicate a suggested hook size. The material the hook is made of should also be considered because it makes a huge difference with how it works with different kinds of yarns. You have to work with a number of hooks for you to find out what works best for you.
Crochet hooks can be made from metal (steel or aluminum), plastic, wood, bamboo, and sometimes glass, although glass hooks are rare. A yarn should easily slide off the hook but not to the extent that it would fall off when you don’t expecting it.
- Steel hooks – This type of hook is excellent to use for fine crochet thread. It is often used to make lace items such as doilies. Beginners are not recommended to start with this because it is more difficult to see the stitches with thinner yarns or threads.
- Plastic hooks – They are affordable and come in all sizes. They are comfortable and lightweight, as well. They also work well with most yarns. Plastic is a great choice for larger yarns.
- Aluminum hooks – They are an excellent choice for novice crocheters, and they are affordable, as well. They work well with most fibers and yarn glides nicely with it.
- Bamboo hooks – Bamboo is an excellent material when it comes to working with yarn. When your yarn tends to slide off too much with aluminum or plastic, you can try a bamboo hook. Bamboo hooks have more grip and will keep your yarn from sliding. However, it can also work against you when your yarn does not slide off easily enough.
There are many types of yarn you can choose from when you start a crochet project. You have to know what is the right yarn for the project you will make. Most patterns will indicate a list of yarn types and sizes you will need to complete a project. If you wish to explore more yarn options, there are things that you need to know before you decide.
Yarns have different weights. Weight refers to the thickness of the yarn, and they are categorized into seven types:
- Lace (0) – Threads and light fingering
- Super Fine (1) – Fingering, Baby
- Fine (2) – Baby, Sport
- Light (3) – Light Worsted, Double Knit (DK)
- Medium (4) – Aran, Afghan, Worsted-Weight
- Bulky (5) – Chunky, Rug Yarn, Craft Yarns
- Super Bulky (6) – Super Chunky, Super Bulky, Roving
- Jumbo (7) – Roving, Jumbo
As you can see, the yarn gets thicker as the number increases. With jumbo being the thickest and lace being the lightest. You have to think about your project when picking the right size of yarn.
- Lace yarns are great for lace-work and doilies.
- Super fine yarns are great for light baby items and socks.
- Fine yarns are great for light garments or sweaters, and baby items.
- Light yarns are great for sweaters/garments, light accessories, light afghans, bags/totes.
- Medium yarns are great for afghans, sweaters, scarves, hats, bags, mittens, home decors, and more.
- Bulky yarns are great for outwear, rugs, thick scarves, and thick blankets.
- Super bulky yarns are great for rugs, heavy blankets, thick sweaters, chunky and thick scarves.
- Jumbo yarns are great for rugs, thick sweaters, heavy blankets, thick and chunky scarves.
The projects are not limited to these projects; they’re just suggestions and starting points as to what can be created with those yarn weights.
Now let’s proceed to the types of yarn fibers. They can be made with all synthetic fibers, all-natural fibers, or a blend of both.
- Linen – from the flax plant.
- Cotton (America, Pima, Egyptian) – from the cotton plant.
- Bamboo – from the bamboo plant.
- Wool (Icelandic, Merino, Shetland, etc.) – made from the fleece of sheep.
- Mohair – made from angora goat hair.
- Alpaca – made from the fleece of alpaca
- Cashmere – made from cashmere goat’s hair.
- Angora – made from the angora rabbit’s fur.
- Silk – made from the silkworm’s larvae cocoons.
There are also other yarns that are not traditional. There’s boucle, chenille, t-shirt yarn, and more.
These fibers are different from each other when it comes to durability and softness. Some can be machine washed, while others are hand-washed. Some are inexpensive like acrylic, while some are expensive, like cashmere and silk.
Learning How to Hold a Crochet Hook
Try holding your crochet hooks in different ways to see which you’re most comfortable with. There is no right or wrong way to hold a crochet hook.
Making a Slip Knot
A slip knot is the very first step to doing a crochet project. You may already know how to do this because it is a pretty common knot.
Crocheting a Chain Stitch
Novice crocheters typically begin by learning how to do the chain stitch first. It is one of the most essential basic stitches in crochet that you have to know. A chain stitch forms the foundation of most crochet projects.
Learning How to do Single Crochet Stitch and Double Crochet Stitch
After learning the chain stitch, you have to learn other basic stitches, as well. Single crochet stitch and double crochet stitch are the most essential stitches you have to know.
Learning How to Make a Slip Stitch
A slip stitch is easy to learn and has several purposes.
- Slip stitch is used when you crochet in the rounds. It joins the beginning and the end of the round.
- You can use the slip stitch as a design element for your crochet project. If you find your single crochet stitch too tall, what you probably need is a slip stitch.
- You can also use them as decorative elements on the surface of your piece.
- You can also work them in rows or rounds like you would with other crochet stitches.
Can you crochet if you have arthritis?
Yes, you can. Crocheting can help alleviate arthritis pain. Crochet will give your hands the exercise they need through repetitive movements. However, do not overdo it and rest if needed. Another tip is, don’t try to crochet very late at night or very early in the morning, because the stiffness and pain are more severe at these times.
Crochet is pretty easy to learn. You can do it any time you want. You can do it as a hobby, and you can make money out of it as well, by selling your finished crocheted items.