Benefits of Crochet and a Look at Havana

When I first started to crochet it was a way to keep my hands and mind busy while I was recovering from spinal surgery last winter. Little did I know how profoundly it would change my life. I crochet nearly every day with only a random day missed and usually for at least an hour or two per day. Over time I’ve found that crochet is so much more than a hobby. There are numerous benefits to crochet and my clients from my day job – 75% are physicians, therapists, and psychologists – agree, even going so far as to say that they have recommended it to their patients.

Mindfulness has been one of the biggest rewards to crochet for me. I have to slow down. I have to pay attention to what I am doing. The colors make me happy. Enjoying the feel of the yarn running across my hand and hook. Listening to the subtle sounds that are made that you can hear when there are no distractions. When I make mistakes, they are almost inevitably due to allowing my mind to wander. When I get into a good rhythm and just focus on the the work at hand, it allows my brain to work subconsciously on whatever problem or stress or worry is bothering me. I usually come away from my crochet session with an idea of how to handle whatever was on my mind or with some new creative idea. Even without a profound epiphany, I still end up with a lovely finished blanket. Crochet has become my meditation.

Here are some other benefits of crochet and knitting according to counseling.org:

– Relieves depression
– Reduces anxiety
– Builds self-esteem
– Potentially reduce or postpone dementia
– Work through insomnia
– Reduces irritability and restlessness
– Builds community
– Helps with grief processing
– Reduces stress

I can attest to personally seeing the benefit in several of the categories and will happily work to reduce my risk of dementia!

Another benefit is that crochet can be a way to give back to your community. If you aren’t sure what to do with your creations, animal shelters and homeless shelters can always use more blankets! They don’t care if your work isn’t perfect – it is warm and comforting. Anyone with pets that crochet or knit can tell you that your current work in progress is the single best place to be in the house!

Getting back to mindfulness, I have officially succumbed to the Havana CAL which I talked about in this post! I had started a small section to make a couple of tutorials for friends who were just getting started and then set it aside but a friend sent me this fun yarn and I instantly knew it needed to be a Havana!

This could not have been better timed. I have had a few different stressors in my life including my husband being sick for the last week (one of the main reasons I still don’t have anymore video tutorials ready yet – sorry!) and our furnace decided to stop working Saturday morning – just in time for one of our coldest weekends. I haven’t been feeling 100% myself either so I have set my Ubuntu aside for a bit because I really need to focus and don’t want to make mistakes I have to frog later.

Havana has a lovely repetitive pattern that repeats a few times before changing to a new pattern which means I can get the hang of it and just let my hands do the work while giving my brain a chance to decompress. The color changing cakes allow me to add variety to my blanket without my having to think too much about what is coming next. I can just let the colors and work flow. This is exactly what I need right now.

I read a tip in the Facebook group for the CAL that suggested working two rows as a time. I’ve tried this and found two benefits:

1) It is a faster
2) I’m less likely to miss my double crochet (or 2… or 3) by getting into a single crochet trance!

I work the bottom row until about 3 stitches past the double crochet and pull up a loop so I don’t lose my place and then work the top row to 1 stitch past the double crochet and repeat. Once I have gotten some of the basic stitch tutorials together, I have permission from Tinna, the creator of the Havana pattern, to create tutorials so I’ll be able to help you get started! Yay!!!

For this project, I am using my Furls Alpha hook in size H/5mm.

The colors in my Havana are Premier Yarns Caron Big Cakes in Pistachio Macaron, Plum Pudding and Blueberry Torte. My friend said that she found the cakes at Michael’s.

The contrast color is Premier Yarns Sweet Roll in Black Pepper Swirl which I had in my stash from a previous moss stitch blanket I made out of several color ways:

By the way, you will be able to make this after I finish two tutorials! It is just two different stitches: Chain and single crochet! I can’t wait to teach you!!!

As for my Havana, I plan to switch yarn cakes with with each repeat and just let the colors flow. I’m loving the hues with a vintage/retro vibe. The colors definitely make me happy and it lifts my mood – just one of the many benefits to crochet.

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