Staying creative during stressful times is important and finding the right project for the situation is essential. I’m sharing my recent experiences, how crafting through the crud helped, and how you can do the same.
Boy howdy, September has been one cruddy month. Just so we are all on the same page here’s the technical and highly refined definition of this slang term…
One of the most useful words used for ‘Crap’. Kids use it so the high-strung parents won’t throw a fit.The Urban Dictionary
“CRUD! My gerbil just ate my term paper!”
“What the crud is going on?”
“This is just crudtacular.”
Crudtacular is now my favorite word ever.
Crafting in the Emergency Room
The first week of September was a super unpleasant one for my poor mother. She has degenerative disc disease in her lower back and it was causing severe pain to radiate down her right hip. I’ve never seen my mother in so much pain and frankly it scared me. She ended up having to go to the emergency room twice in one week and thankfully she is so so much better.
I found that I needed something that would truly occupy my mind while we were there. I started a new pig pattern from Little Cotton Rabbits. My four-year-old nephew has asked for one for Christmas and I am excited to make it for him. These patterns take my full attention and it was just what I needed. While my mother laid in the ER bed I was able to be right by her side the whole time.
I felt that focusing on the pattern actually helped me stay calm for her. Being in a hospital for any reason produces anxiety and seeing my mother in so much pain was truly horrible. Being able to be there for her while keeping myself relatively calm was not just beneficial for me but more importantly for her. Crafting through the crud was just what the doctor ordered, at least for me, that is.
Crafting While Cruddy
The old adage “When it rains, it pours” has never been truer for our family. During the midst of all of my poor momma’s issues, I was having one of my own. During a routine dental visit my dentist accidentally caused some pretty serious damage. It caused a domino effect that left me with a nasty infection, pain, and lots of medication. It led to a traumatic endodontic procedure that ultimately failed. And finally to have surgery to correct it all on September 16th.
During this time I haven’t been able to knit at all. I have felt so poorly that the thought of having to concentrate on a pattern was just too much. But my need for creativity was still there. I was able to crochet one little granny square and that felt like a great accomplishment.
One of my favorite things to do, besides playing with yarn, is doodling, sketching, and watercoloring. I’m not very good at it but I find the process extremely soothing and untaxing to my beleaguered brain.
I absolutely adore Shayda Campbell’s tutorials on YouTube. She has so many wonderful videos that are perfect for beginners. Her style and friendly demeanor make her so pleasant to watch. I decided to play around with her Back to School Bullet Journal Setup and Every Watercolor Leaf You’ll Ever Need AUTUMN EDITION. Oh I have had so much fun with these.
Doodling, drawing, and painting are such calming activities for me. They don’t require the same type of focus and concentration that knitting and crocheting do for some reason. My brain feels flowy and soft rather than focused and sharp. This has been exactly what I needed while I’ve felt so darn cruddy.
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How to Choose a Project for the Crud
One important criteria to consider when choosing a project for a stressful and cruddy situation is whether or not it is mobile. A watercolor project might not be a good option if you need to be somewhere like an emergency room. You will have little room to spread out and it could get in the way of the medical professionals. But a small sketchpad and a tin of pencils will easily fit into a purse or backpack.
In my humble opinion, this is one of the reasons I love crocheting and knitting so much. It’s (typically) portable and doesn’t need a lot of tools and equipment. I keep my projects in my adorable project bag (from the Buttonjar Studio) at all times so I can pick it up and go at a moment’s notice. Also some projects like the Harmony Blanket pattern from Attic 24 is something I could work on when I need a less focused activity.
You can read more about my Harmony Blanket and a little about the history of the humble granny square here.
The Right Project for the Crud
Finding the right project for times when you are stressed, ill, filled with anxiety, or recovering from surgery is important. I am a firm believer that keeping the hands busy helps the mind to rest. For that reason, I truly think that crafting through the crud helps my body to heal. I subscribe to the belief that our bodies are not disconnected pieces but truly one perfectly designed highly connected organism. If I can distract myself, even if just for a little while, and create something beautiful, I know I’m doing some good for myself.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Do you need a project that will require intense concentration? Will focusing on something like a challenging pattern help you get through whatever situation you find yourself in? If yes, what types of projects would that be? Knitting? Crocheting? Embroidery?
- Are you in need of a creative project that requires less focus? Do you need something that you can simply do without needing to concentrate? What types of projects do you enjoy that allow your brain to rest?
- Will your cruddy situation cause you to have to be mobile and leave your home? Are the supplies for this project easily portable?