There's been a lot in the news this last week about knitting (and other crafty endeavours) being good for your health, but I think the craft community already knew that, didn't we?
I make stuff for a couple of reasons, although they're kind of the opposite sides of the same coin so you might call it one reason, or not. I make stuff because if I don't make stuff - if I'm forced to focus on non creative, non making for too long - I go a little bit crazy. And I make stuff because that creativity, that all consuming focus on yarn or fabric, takes me away from the stress and craziness in my life and stops me losing the plot all together.
To really calm me down, whatever I'm working on needs to be challenging enough to completely absorb me. The granny stripe blanket for my son that I work on in the evening whilst hubby and I watch Lucifer, although relaxing and useful for keeping warm on a chilly night, doesn't quite hit the spot.
The backpack I made myself at the weekend, with no pattern, no instructions and just a vague idea that I wanted lots of pockets, that's the kind of making I'm talking about. Working out the order in which each piece of fabric needed to be attached to the next piece of fabric, which pocket would go where, when to insert the zip, how the straps would work... for me, that required complete focus. I was astonished when I lifted my head from the sewing machine for the last time to realise that five hours had passed. I was very hungry; I forgot about lunch because it wasn't a pocket and therefore didn't need my attention. I was also much more relaxed than I had been at the start of the day and I had regained much needed perspective on all sorts of things, but especially the things that I was tying myself in knots about unnecessarily.
Designing is the same. Focusing on each individual stitch, row, round and element of a design takes all of my conscious thought.
For those times (and they are many) that I sit in waiting rooms at hospitals and clinics, keeping my hands busy with a simple, repetitive piece of crochet can be a godsend.
And remember, when challenged on the size of your stash or the amount of money spent on yarn, the appropriate reply is "It's yarn or madness and I choose yarn."