Handmade: Simply hooked on knitting and crocheting

Jocelynn Brown
The Detroit News

Last Sunday, close to midnight, as I struggled to stay awake, I kept telling myself: “OK, one more row, then it’s lights out.” But, it wasn’t until three hours later that I stopped working on the crocheting project I’d started earlier that evening. The larger the lavender cowl got, the more excited I became, and the more I imagined it with items in my wardrobe. (By the way — I’m just as passionate about knitting!)

What is it about knitting and crocheting that has so many of us hooked? Why do we partake in these age-old needlearts year after year? What makes them so addicting and satisfying?

After giving it some thought, I realized I enjoy creating something unique, the feel of the yarn, the steady rhythmic motion, and the fact that it’s so soothing to the mind, allowing me to think more clearly. I also love that it takes me back to my teens and early 20s, when my mother and I often crocheted and knitted together on the back porch while admiring our vegetable garden filled with strawberries, potatoes, leafy collard greens, etc.

I recently asked several other fiber enthusiasts, “Why do you knit and/or crochet?” Here are their responses.

Knit and crochet

■Barb Caddy, 60, Royal Oak: “I like to knit/crochet for many reasons. On my own (by myself) I knit for the enjoyment, to keep my hands busy, it calms/relaxes me, and I get a nice project to give away or wear when I am done.”

■Leigh Mosley, 45, Rosedale Park: “It allows me to express my creativity and individuality, and even if you’re following a pattern, there are so many choices you have. You can pick your own color, yarn, add things, or leave things off.”

■Wendy Shepherd, 64, Clawson: “It’s an instant gratification. I get to see what I’m making as I’m making it, and I get to work with beautiful material. I love the touch of it, I love the rhythm, I love the stress management and calming.”

■Tanya Thomann, 47, Berkley, “I actually design patterns, so there’s some stimulus there as far as problem solving. I like to see how things are put together — the shape and structure, how they work with the pattern, and how colors work together.”


■Gregg Burrell, 50, Highland Park: “Crocheting is therapy for me. It’s calming and soothing, and although it can be challenging — to meet and beat the challenge is exciting. I enjoy all the variables to crocheting — from the different types of yarn to use (even plastic bags), the variety of things you can make — from a simple dishcloth, to an extravagant garment, and everything in between.”

■Mike Brunck, 51, Ferndale: “I enjoy taking a ball of yarn and making it into something.”

■Jennifer Coronaeo, 30, Hazel Park: “I enjoy being able to create something out of nothing. It’s kind of like my alone time. It’s very meditative.”

■Verlinda Rankin, 56, St. Clair Shores: “For me, it’s a stress reliever. It gives me something to do with my hands.”


■Valerie Koyl, 61, Rochester Hills: “It takes me back to my early years. Knitting helps me to feel connected to my mom, who passed away six years ago. She had dementia for about 15 years before dying. I think knitting helps me remember the way she was before having dementia. Knitting also reminds me of the carefree life of growing up on a small farm in the country.”

■Sam Gill, 55, Ferndale: I knit for stress relief. Initially, because it looked like it was fun and a creative outlet. Now, it’s to keep my mental capacity going. With all the new research about how knitting and crocheting keeps the mind active, it’s suppose to help ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s.”

■Karen Kalish, 64, West Bloomfield: “Its very relaxing — body and mind. And, I like to see the outcome, and you can actually watch it take shape. I have rheumatoid arthritis in my hands, and my doctor said to keep them busy, and that knitting is an excellent therapy.”

Detroit News Columnist Jocelynn Brown is a longtime Metro Detroit crafter. You can reach her at (313) 222-2150, or