Self-Care Crafting

Laura Rowe

Time to try a new hobby?

Not only does crochet look beautiful, but what better way to help relieve stress?

Now, I’m fairly new to the crochet scene, only really getting into it a little over a year ago. Exam stress was starting to get on top of me and I needed some way to relax that wasn’t just doom scrolling on TikTok. I’d always wanted to learn, and so I thought what better way to procrastinate my exams than by learning a new skill?

Fast-forward a year, and I can confidently say that this was the best decision I’ve ever made. If I’m feeling stressed, all I need to do is put a film on in the background and start crocheting. Of course, as any crafters will know, the stress of tangled yarn is unmatched so maybe it’s not the perfect solution. But either way, it’s definitely fun!

Speaking with Isobel Allen, the President of the UoY Craft Society, she shares a similar opinion: “for many people, crafting is an essential part of stress relief. It is an opportunity to enter deep focus, challenge your skill set, and create something beautiful.

So much of the work we produce in university is solely intellectual – based on words, formulas or concepts. Going back to basics, making something with your hands (which only takes an hour!) is a great dopamine hit and break from school”.

With so much pressure on grades, Isobel notes that “crafting is a chance to celebrate other skills”.

Crafts like crochet are so important for us to creatively express ourselves. As Isobel says “crochet is a fantastic opportunity to make something which is both beautiful and practical: the crux of crafting. Exploring different yarns and patterns allows for self-expression and contributes to a sense of identity and style”.

“Making something with your hands… is a great dopamine hit and break from school”
(Image: Tanaphong Toochinda)

As well as allowing for personal expression, crafting helps you connect with people and become a part of a community. Isobel introduced me to Kathleen’s Legacy, a volunteering group here at the Uni. Kathleen’s Legacy knits and crochets blankets for “palliative and End of Life patients across York and the UK”. They believe that “nobody should die in a blue blanket, a KL’s blanket will provide warmth and love one last time”. I found this incredibly touching: it shows us how important handmade things are!

Crafts Society was highly commended for the YUSU Community Award and even won the Special Interest Society award!

Isobel tells me that this year Crafts Society has aimed to “incorporate as many members of the community as possible” by running accessible crafting sessions. They have collaborated with other societies like EnviroSoc where they upcycled clothing, and Mental Health Soc where they made positivity posters to hang up during exam week.

For Isobel, her favourite achievement is the collaboration with the charity Changing Lives. “Changing Lives is a homeless charity that works in drug rehabilitation and harm reduction. Every week we host sessions at their shelters to provide the residents with the chance to express themselves and develop healthy coping mechanisms. It has been lovely to create bonds between students and other residents in the community.”

“Crafting is an unintimidating way to try your best, laugh, and share an experience with the people around you. I feel that winning the Special Interest Society of the Year Award and being highly commended for the Community Award demonstrates how a hobby which is considered niche can actually be something lots of people want to engage with.”

I’m quite confidently in my granny era and like to call crochet self-care. I am, however, not alone in this. “Crafting can definitely be a form of self-care”, Isobel told Vision, “If you craft to relieve stress or to develop yourself: that’s self-care! There’s a sense of fulfilment and achievement that comes with completing a project and knowing it’s an expression of your own creativity”.

I couldn’t have said it better myself!