Hello friends, how have you been? Well I hope and looking forward to the festive season.
Today I want to introduce a wonderful new book to you: Hook to Heal by Kathryn Vercillo. Many of you will know Kathryn from her beautiful stories and pattern sharing over on her blog at crochetconcupiscene, and some of you might have read her first book: Crochet saved my Life, which was published a few years ago.
Kathryn writes regular columns for Interweave Crochet print magazine and Happily Hooked digital magazine, as well as writing about crochet health for the Lion Brand blog. Kathryn was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona but fell in love with the city of San Francisco the moment she saw it and has been living there for over a decade. She thrives on the creativity and celebration of creative expression that this city nurtures. That said, she still has some of the whimsical desert spirit in her heart, and misses the sunsets and lightning storms of her Arizona home.
Kathryn is a freelance writer and indie author who has written across a diverse array of mediums and topic areas. She especially loves to write about the intersection between crafting/ creativity (with an emphasis on crochet) and the mental health/ wellness/ personal growth. Hook to Heal is an outgrowth of exactly this type of writing.
Most importantly, Kathryn believes in writing from the heart, allowing her work to radiate outward from the center and into the world, where she hopes it can improve lives and affect change. She believes that self-expression is the key to self-realization and also the key to connecting communities.
Hook to Heal is a creativity exercise book that offers suggestions for utilizing the medium of crochet to improve all aspects of life and develop your inner artist. It doesn’t have any crochet instruction but can be adapted for use by crocheters of any skill level including beginners. Wherever you are is a great place to begin!
Each chapter begins with Kathryn’s own thoughts about the topic, such as the topic of “facing fears” or the topic of “creating abundance”. She shares her own experiences and her research as a graduate student studying Integral Counseling Psychology to explain what the topic is all about. Then she shares exercises for using crochet to work through some of the issues related to the topic. For example, the “facing fears” chapter has an exercise for facing a fear of change by learning to work with felting; the felting process changes the end product and gives you a hands-on, symbolic exercise in working with change.
At the end of each chapter, you will find “Yarn for Thought” questions, which are a set of questions related to the topic that Kathryn encourages you to think about or journal upon. The entire book is designed to help you learn more about yourself and make strides in your own personal growth all through channeling your love of crochet into a variety of exercises.
It’s important to note that these are not crochet patterns or tutorials. You won’t find step-by-step photos in this text-rich book. These are exercises that challenge you to adapt the idea to your own process, skill level and crochet interests. It’s all about finding new ways to expand your own creativity to improve your health, well-being and quality of life.
These crochet exercises are derived from Kathryn’s own experience into using crochet to heal. In a previous book, Crochet Saved My Life, Kathryn wrote about how learning to crochet helped her through a debilitating battle with depression. Since then, she has done extensive research into the ways that crochet is helping people through myriad issues and life circumstances. She has applied this research to creating accessible exercises for people who want to improve their lives with crochet. Kathryn has used each and every one of these exercises herself and believes in the power of them. She genuinely hopes that others will find them helpful as well.
After receiving my copy last week I have dipped in and out of the book, trying various exercises along the way. Today, with Kathryn’s permission, I want to share one exercise with you that I find especially useful at the end of a very hectic day when my mind is in overdrive mode and I need to calm it all down. Here goes:
In this exercise, you will crochet a triangle and as you do so your breathing will get deeper and deeper.
First you’ll start your triangle. You can use any simple crochet triangle pattern of your choosing. Here is one example of making a basic crochet triangle: (American Terms)
- Chain 2, sc in second chain from hook, turn.
- Chain 1, turn, increase, chain 1, turn. NOTE: increase means that you crochet two stitches in the single stitch that is there.
- Now, for each subsequent row, you will increase in the first and last stitch and will just sc in all of the other stitches. NOTE: increase means that you will crochet two stitches in each of the first and last stitches of the row and one stitch in every other stitch across each row.
The breathing part is what brings you to meditation. For each odd numbered row, you will inhale throughout the row. For each even numbered row, you will exhale. So you’ll inhale as you start the triangle, then you will exhale on row two, inhale on row three, exhale on row four, etc. You want to start the breath on each turn and continue it all the way through to the end of the row. You will always be exhaling for a beat longer than you inhaled on the previous row. Eventually, you will reach a row where you can no longer exhale or inhale to the end of the row. That’s when the mindfulness exercise is complete. At this stage, you could frog the work. Alternatively, you could finish off and over time you’ll have a large set of triangle motifs that will remind you of your meditation progress. Turn them into a blanket or wall art display.
It works for me, so why not give it a try and see how you feel.
Further information about Kathryn and her writings can be found at www.crochetconcupiscene.com