Recently I was privileged to get to sit down with Red Heart National Spokesperson Marly Bird to talk about yarn – the way it brings us joy and how it helps with health and wellness!
Up next, I’ve got Red Heart Joy Creator (and dear friend) Jessie Rayot, from Jessie At Home here, sharing more insights on how yarn can be an important part of any crocheter, knitter, or maker’s life.
While Jessie makes lots of tutorial videos for her free crochet and knit patterns on Jessie At Home, I’ve been lucky enough to be there in her studio myself, and see how well organized she is – and that she’s a bona fide yarn lover!
Jessie At Home is a fun blend of crochet and knit patterns, crafts for both kids and adults, and a look inside Jessie’s life. One of the things that Jessie has always been very open about is her own battle with depression and anxiety, so I was eager to hear how yarn has helped Jessie in her own life.
Jessie has been crafting with yarn for a very long time – and her love of yarn goes back generations. Jessie shared, “I was always very creative. My great grandmother taught me to crochet when I was 9, and it’s a skill that has traveled the country and the world with me. I guess what I first fell in love with was how transportable it was. That and the connection it gave me to my great grandmother.”
When I asked Jessie how yarn had impacted her life, she had a lot to say – much of which I could identify with myself! “So many ways!! At first, it was just something I enjoyed. It was a great way to create holiday gifts when I had time but very little money.” Something I know that first attracted me to this craft too!
Jessie continued, “Then I started meeting others like me online. It helped me join a community of people I could relate to. Eventually, it became my business. Then it brought my husband home from his second and third jobs so we could be a real family again. Yarning gave me real friends whom I love with all my heart. I get to travel the country with my yarn in tow as I go to trade shows and conferences and I get to see those friends. They are my family, and we would move mountains for each other. Yarning has given me so much.”
Jessie is also a big believer in yarn as a helper for mental health: “I live with depression and anxiety. I take a daily med and talk to a Doctor when needed. Being creative calms me. It doesn’t have to be yarn, but yarn is a great creative outlet that is easily mobile, doesn’t stain, and can be done on the couch or in bed.
When I’m having a bad day, I have to do something. If I do nothing, I start to believe that I am useless. I can create with yarn even when I don’t have a lot of energy or motivation. I make myself some coffee (caffeine fights depression) and I grab my yarn and a hook or some needles and I just go. I can feel productive even with the TV on. Plus, I can do something nice with my finished project.”
Of course, as relaxing as yarn crafting can be, it can lead to frustration when a project just isn’t working out. Jessie has her methods for dealing with those patterns too: “Sometimes when I hit a wall, I just put that project or design in the naughty corner and work on something else for a while. Sometimes I grab one of my kids and have some cuddle time or play a game.
If I don’t have the time to take a break, or if I’m just determined to make it work, then I will look at similar knit or crochet creations online to get some ideas on how to overcome whatever is causing the issue. Of course, I’m not afraid to just pull it all out and start over if I need to.”
Finally, I asked Jessie what she would tell someone considering yarn crafting as a hobby – and no surprise here, she recommends it!
“Just give it a try!! It’s very affordable to buy some yarn and hooks and then you can find lots of video or written tutorials for beginners online. If you prefer books, there are plenty of those too. You can find them at your craft store, order them online, or even check them out from your local library.
Don’t worry about making mistakes, it’s part of the learning process. Plus, see if there is a local yarn/knit/crochet group. The best places to ask are your library, your local yarn shop, your senior local senior center (another great thing about yarning is it’s a skill you can use through your entire life!) and your town Facebook page.”
What do you think? Do you agree with Jessie – do you find creativity calming too? Has crafting helped you find your community?