Six Great Reasons to Take Up a Craft
Knitting, said Dorothy Day, “is very conducive to thought. It is nice to knit a while, put down the needles, write a while, then take up the sock again”.
Dorothy Day (1897-1980) was an American journalist, social activist, and Catholic convert.
She initially lived a bohemian lifestyle before gaining fame as a social activist after her conversion. Day later became a key figure in the Catholic Worker Movement and earned a national reputation as a political radical, perhaps the most famous radical in US Catholic history.
I find it interesting that a woman, so accomplished in politics and social activism, found some benefit in a simple craft like knitting, so much so that the activity became the subject of one of her famous quotes.
I cannot agree more with Dorothy Day that knitting is “nice” — and not just knitting, but any craft.
Why is it nice to do a craft? Maybe it’s because creating things with your hands is a time-old tradition which will never vanish. Maybe it’s because crafting is a wonderful distraction from some of the worries in life. Whether you’re making pottery or jewellery, crocheting, sewing, painting, knitting, woodworking, beading, or any of the many other forms of creative crafts and arts, it’s possible to gain a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.
Recently I got back into the craft of crocheting which I had learned as a young girl many moons ago.
I purchased some wool, took out my hook and decided to crochet myself a pair of wrist warmers. I went online, found a pattern I liked and began crocheting. It was so rewarding, because the eventual result looked exactly like the ones in the online pattern.
As I was crocheting, I felt so peaceful, centred and calm.
Crocheting reminds me of a simple time in my life as a young girl, a time with no adult challenges. Besides calming and centring me, I also love that when I am done I’ll have something pretty to wear (or to give away).
I would like to share six reasons why crafting is so beneficial for us, especially in today’s world where we are faced with many challenging socio-economic factors, just as Dorothy Day was:
- Fun: The best reason I can think of is that arts & crafts are plain old fun. From picking colours to choosing patterns, from visualising to creating, it is fun to make something with your own hands. And it seems that we could all use a little more fun in our lives.
- Economical: It is often (but not always) less expensive to make things yourself. I made a pair of wrist warmers for under R10 in material, plus an hour of my time. So, when done with a budget in mind, making your own crafts can be most economical.
- Meditative: As I mentioned before, I always feel so much more calm and peaceful when I am crocheting. It helps me focus and be more centred. It really is like a good session of meditation for me.
- Diversion: It’s nice to have a hobby that allows you to express your inner artist and design something beautiful and/or useful. Hobbies are a great way to take your mind off work or challenges you might be having in your life. They are a wonderful distraction if you need one.
- Empowerment: When I’m done with a project I feel really good about what I have made and about myself. I feel empowered. I know that I can start something and finish it. I know I can be more self-sufficient and I have the ability to make things for myself.
- Community: Often you can find a group in your area that shares similar crafting interests. And if there are none, what better reason for you than to start one in your neighbourhood or parish.
It really brings people together. I find it a lovely way of meeting people with similar interests, and even make new friends.
So, let our hearts not be troubled by all the challenges we face in our society today. Let’s take a lesson from Dorothy Day and face those challenges, but also balance it with arts and craft to keep motivated and energised.
Have fun and create a little something for yourself or a gift for someone else!