Crochet Saved My Life is both a memoir of depression and anxiety, and also an exploration of crochet as therapy for dealing with both of these conditions. The book features interviews with about two dozen others who have dealt with a number of kinds of clinical depressions, as well as other issues both psychological (most prominently anxiety) and conditions with psychological features as well.
The personal stories are both powerful and moving, but when the author delves into neurochemical explanations, the book loses a bit of its steam. Luckily, the personal anecdotes are spread throughout the book, maximizing their use and emotional impact.
Some of the benefits of crochet that are explored by this book include: mindfulness, visualization, stress reduction, the setting of achievable goals & pride in accomplishment. Also explored are the benefits of the social component of the so-called crafts such as knit and crochet, in that the social component is optional, online, and low-stress.
The author repeatedly emphasizes that crochet is “one tool in the toolbox” and not a cure for anything — and something that some individuals may not even find helpful. She also emphasizes that she is a layman, not an expert in any of the fields explored by the book, and that such explorations are to be understood as an educated layman’s view of the subject matter, and not as an expert’s opinion.
The book could have benefited from having a good editor go through and trim down the prose. It is undeniably well-written, but it could have been trimmed down a bit, I think. Still, the tone was friendly and inviting, and the author clearly has spent a good deal of time thinking about her subject, in addition to researching and writing about it. I’d like to think that would be true of most books, but it somehow doesn’t seem that way to me. In my experience overall, and especially in an indie publication, this is a treat.
All in all, I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the benefits of crafting, or who are looking for some ways to self-help themselves into a better frame of mind, in addition to people who have a history of psychological issues who are open to alternative therapies.
Note: I purchased this book through the Kindle store and read it on my e-reader. It is available to the public.
P.S. I can’t wait until Vercillo’s newest project comes out — a book that, by the way, she is crowdsourcing through indiegogo. This book is designed as “a book of creativity exercises for crocheters. It will show how crochet can be used to achieve mindfulness, release artistic fear, push to the next level of creativity, celebrate life and more. Many topics of creativity will be explored in this book that challenge you to find new ways to craft yourself to wellness.”
If you’re like me — a crocheter and not a knitter — you approach the needlecrafts section of the bookstore with a feeling of impending disappointment, and just a touch of envy. After all, there are many more knitting books than there are crochet books, and the crochet stock never seems to rotate frequently enough. One of the most glaring needs in the crochet book universe is for a book of patterns that only takes one skein of yarn to complete. There has been a veritable parade of choices for knitters in this vein, but scant pickings for crocheters.
Well, the waiting is over! Crochet One-Skein Wonders offers 101 great patterns for crocheters to use in using up those odd balls of yarn that tend to collect at the end of projects. Sorted by yarn weight — a nice detail — crocheters can choose from patterns ranging from standard fare (such as baby booties), to the lacy (several toothsomely airy scarves in varying yarn weights make their appearances) to the outright adorable (the alligator featured on the cover). I was pleasantly surprised to find that Tunisian and bead crochet were also featured in this book.
The formatting in my e-copy was wonky to say the least, but that may be an artifact of the e-book format. The patterns appear sound, and varied enough to satisfy a wide range of crochet tastes. I’ll definitely be buying this book in print when it comes out! I would definitely recommend this book to my fellow crocheters.
Note: I received this book as a free Advanced E-Reader Copy from NetGalley. This book will be available for general purchase on March 12, 2013.