Today we've launched our Yarn Fowards campaign, and so I wanted to write a blog post about why we're doing it.
Yarn Forwards is our way of trying to support the mental health of our key workers throughout the coronavirus pandemic. At Ewe Felty Thing, we're really focused on the mental health benefits of crafting. We know from our own experiences the hugely positive impact that can be had from crafting during difficult times.
I (Nikki) started Ewe Felty Thing two years ago, but I have been crafting since I was a child, and knitting properly since I was 18. I can remember exactly how I got started and why. At the time, I had been very unwell for a few weeks with glandular fever. I had been very poorly, unable to keep down anything, and too weak to manage stairs, so my parents had turned the front room into a temporary bedroom for me.
My uncle and aunt were due to have their 2nd baby very soon, and so my mum suggested that I have a go at making something for the baby. It was something that I could do from bed as my health allowed, and something productive to show for my time. It wasn't perfect, but I made a pale blue fluffy snuggle suit for my new baby cousin, and I was very proud of it!
Since then, I have never stopped knitting. My glandular fever became ME, and I have been unwell to varying extents ever since then (now almost 20 years!). Throughout that time, I have been through a lot of things. Coming to terms with being very unwell, needing to use wheelchairs and being housebound, having difficult pregnancies, depression, getting divorced, being evicted, surviving through an abusive relationship, dealing with court proceedings, and various other fall-out. My life has not been straight forward, but I believe that life is never easy for anyone. Everyone has their own share of struggles, stresses and traumas.
I also know that my knitting and crochet (and now spinning) have helped me to deal with all of those things. Through all of those stages, I have been able to pick up my needles or hook, take a deep breath, and see past all those things. The crafting has helped me to put the difficult times, not out of my mind, but into perspective and to process them in a positive way, instead of letting them overflow and take over my existence.
This last while, when things have been scary because of the coronavirus pandemic, I have been able to choose simple projects, knowing that concentration is not going to be my strong suit and just create. I have enjoyed taking my spinning wheel outside and sitting in the sunshine spinning pretty coloured fluff into yarn. It doesn't take much concentration, it is more muscle memory. It is mindful and meditative and I feel very grounded and peaceful when I spin, knit or crochet.
Being able to look at what I have made afterwards is really nice too, seeing that my project has grown, especially if I am able to wear it or give it to someone else to wear.
I am not the only one who has experienced the positive effects of crafting. There have been many studies across the globe that have shown how beneficial knitting and other crafts are. The Telegraph even posted an article in 2018 about how knitting should be prescribed on the NHS!
This is the idea behind Yarn Forwards. To give the keyworkers who are going through stress and trauma due to the coronavirus pandemic a little bit of craft therapy. A bit of peace and mindfulness to help them cope with what is going on around and to them.
We know that we can't lessen the stress that is being put on them due to their jobs or the situation. What we hope to do is to give them the gift of downtime, of breathing deeply and grounding, so that they can cope more easily with the traumas that they are facing.
We are inviting nominations for key workers who you think would benefit from a wool craft gift, as well as donations to provide them. The full details can be found in the Yarn Forwards listing in our shop.
I really hope that you will support us in what we are trying to achieve and choose to either nominate a key worker or donate to the campaign.