Saturday, 11 November 2017

Wool and me

My hand holding small balls of yarn
For many of us, November equals Wovember, a celebration of all things wool online during the month of November. The theme of this year's Wovember is 'woolness - where wool meets wellness' - a subject close to my heart.

I wanted to share some thoughts today about what wool means to me...

I live with chronic pain and mobility issues; some days you wouldn't know I had a problem beyond a limp and then others it's a real challenge to physically get out of bed and stand up. Stress is a trigger for physical pain and a real issue for someone managing chronic pain. I knit or crochet everyday, it's my hobby, my pastime but also my therapy.

Working with yarn, whether it be knitting or crochet, is calming and meditative; focusing on the feel of the yarn running through my fingers, the repetitive sequence of movements to create stitch after stitch is a powerful and effective form of mindfulness. For me, working with yarn eases the physical and mental effects of stress in my body and doing so helps me manage my pain everyday.

A critical and not very easy thing to learn about chronic pain is the importance of managing or pacing your effort - self-care and rest is as vital as any medicine. I must admit that as a busy working mum this is not easy, but yarn does help. I can't sit and do nothing, like my grandmother, I can't have idle hands. But I get such pleasure and benefits from crochet and knitting that it feels ‘ok’ to take some time out and work on a project. The rest that I get from these times helps me enormously to manage the rest of my day. 

Finding my yarn-loving ‘ tribe’ online - particularly on Instagram - has been a revelation and a delight. My disability doesn't stop me connecting with like minded crafters online in a way that it stops me joining local knit groups or going to a yarn festival and unless I particularly talk about my health, I am to all intents ‘normal’ - whatever that is - just another passionate yarn-lover, and that feels so good. I feel so privileged to have found such a supportive community, many of whom, like me, find crochet or knitting vital to their wellbeing. 

If you haven't already, do visit the Wovember website to read a range of interesting blog posts about what woolness - wellness means to other people.

p.s. On a completely unrelated subject: We have one week left of the Back to School Sweater CAL so do make sure you pop photographs of your finished objects into the Finished Object thread in the Crochet Circle Ravelry group. 


  1. Hi Helen,
    Thank you for sharing your story. I have read so much about how Crochet and Knitting help those suffering with chronic pain. It also helps those with emotional pain as well. I am a caregiver to my husband who has MS. I don’t know what I’d do without my yarn time every day!! I hope more people discover it’s therapeutic effects. I think our world would be such a better place if everyone did!! Hope you have a great day! I am hoping to complete 2 more sweaters to enter into the CAL. 😊 heather_hearts_crochet on IG

    1. Hi Heather, thank you so much for your message. I'm so pleased to read that yarn gives you comfort too. I completely agree - I want everyone to know the therapeutic benefits. Thank you so much too for taking part in our CAL - I'm just bowled over by the response x

  2. It's good to hear that yarn is such a help to you and I love being part of your online tribe Helen. Thank you for the link to the Wovember website. I shall check it out. Have a wonderful week! Can't believe our CAL is drawing to a close!!

    1. I'm going to feel lost without the CAL - it's been so much fun putting it together with you! xx