There is a new crochet book out, and it’s totally different from what you’d expect a crochet book to be!
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 instructions 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.
Know that this is NOT a pattern book. These are exercises that challenge you to adapt the idea to your own process, skill level and crochet interests. There aren’t even any photos in the book! Crazy, huh? Kathryn explains why:
Q: Why aren’t there any photos in this book?
A: Great question! I originally intended to have photos throughout the book, but through a long editing process decided not to include them after all. This book is not intended to teach crochet (although it shares a list of resources for that) and it is not a book of crochet patterns. It’s a creativity book; and all of my own personal favorite creativity books are text-only or text-rich books. (There is a list of these recommended books in Hook to Heal, one example is The Artist’s Way series by Julia Cameron.) I came to feel, in part, that including my own photos of the process could actually discourage some people from really delving deeper with their own process. Whether or not we want to, we tend to compare ourselves to others, and I didn’t want people to look at my examples and see them as a “right” way to do this work, because the only right way is the way that you’re inspired to approach it.
Read on for a book excerpt, or…
Hook to Heal is authored by Kathryn Vercillo, the blogger behind Crochet Concupiscence and the author of Crochet Saved My Life. She writes regular columns for Interweave Crochet print magazine and Happily Hooked digital magazine. She also writes regularly about crochet health for Lion Brand blog, does tutorials for Red Heart Yarn and is a Craftsy crochet blogger.
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.
Follow Kathryn on any or all of her platforms:
Kathryn’s primary blog is Crochet Concupiscence, but you can also find her writing at Diary of a Smart Chick (http://diaryofasmartchick.com) and you can learn more about her at www.kathrynvercillo.com.
She is active across social media; some of those links are:
Here is an excerpt Kathryn has generously allowed sharing of, so that you see what you can expect from this book.
Balance Exercise #12: Crochet a Stone Paperweight
The exercise: Crochet over stones to create paperweights.
The purpose: Paperweights give physical weight to our world.
In depth: A paperweight is physically heavy. Crochet is naturally light so when we crochet over a heavy object to create a paperweight, we are automatically creating an item of balance. The paperweight itself can be used to weight down lighter objects in the home, such as stacks of papers, or even to flatten out crochet projects in the works. Paperweights can also be distributed decoratively around a home to balance out the lighter-weight decor in your space.
1. Go on a nature walk to select stones. Leave your phone off, go on this walk alone, experience peacefulness in searching for the right stones.
2. Select a round crochet motif that is approximately the same diameter as your first stone.
3. Crochet two of the same motif.
4. Sew the motifs together with the rock in between them. Nature isn’t perfect so rocks aren’t perfectly round; feel free to freeform and make creative adjustments so it fits.
5. Repeat with all of your other rocks.
● Look at patterns for flowers, snowflakes, and mandalas to find the right round motif.
● Play with different sizes and colors of stones to find the right balance for you.
● Explore the use of color vs. neutrals when selecting thread / yarn for this exercise. Which option feels more balanced with the stones that you select?
● Try this technique with other materials from nature as well, such as seashells and large leaves. See crochet artist Susanna Bauer’s leaves for amazing examples.
Taking it further: Crochet a set of stone paperweights and practice the art of rock balancing. This is where you meditatively select one rock after another and stack them into towers. This can be done for an indoor display in your home or outdoors in your yard. You must practice great balance to grow the tower of stones taller and taller.