Our grandmas were so right about taking time to craft

Photo by Dani Sisson Student Publications

When I think of crafting, I think of hunch-backed old ladies, knitting needles in hand. They’re sitting in front of a fire in a warmly lit room and making a homely sweater for an unsuspecting grandchild. The act of crafting is primarily reserved for elderly women who have nothing better to do in their free time or young children either at summer camp or school. Crafting is not a widely practiced activity, preventing many from discovering an additional way to channel their stress and untapped creativity.

Coming from an arts-based high school, I took an art class almost everyday. They gave me a way to express my feelings that I was uncomfortable talking about and gave me a way to unpack after stressful situations. 

Coming to Tech, I have had a very sudden adjustment with practically no designated creative writing or art classes. Even though I’ve enjoyed the various chemistry, math, etc. classes I’ve taken so far, they do not satisfy my need to express myself. At Tech, I don’t feel like I have that many creative outlets. I can’t take a credited class about glass blowing or impressionist painting like my friends at traditional liberal arts schools. 

The arts events that Tech does have are intermittently scheduled and not well advertised. While it would be ideal for Tech to make more of an effort to give students structured ways to express themselves creatively and emotionally rather than push that responsibility onto overworked students, that does not seem like a top priority to Tech at the moment. That being said, crafting is a generally inexpensive and accessible way to fill this need.

When I was taking classes this summer at Tech, my friends and I started having crafting days. We made an initial trip to Michael’s and had fun perusing through the isles of yarn reels, canvases, embroidery floss, fabric, beads and various other craft supplies. 

In terms of my personal favorites, I think embroidery floss or yarn reels give the most possibilities in the long term. Embroidery floss can be used to embroider fabric and clothing, in needlepoint or to make friendship bracelets. With yarn, crocheting or knitting are the two main methods for making things. For beginners, crocheting tends to be easier to learn, and projects are normally finished sooner. 

Once we got back to our dorm, goodies in hand, we turned on an episode of “The Great British Baking Off” and sat down and started working on our chosen craft. I think one of the big misconceptions about picking a craft to work on is that you have to be good at it. While that’s always a great plus, the whole point of crafting is to take pride in making something with your own hands. 

For my craft, I chose to needlepoint since I had already needlepointed a fair bit when I was younger with my mom. Despite my prior experience, I was practically starting as a novice since I didn’t remember any of the stitches. I had to undo many of my stitches because I accidentally skipped a stitch or threaded the floss through the wrong hole while watching Paul Hollywood give one of the bakers a handshake. 

I also realized partway through that I had accidentally been alternating the direction of my stitches, but I purposefully chose to leave them as they were. I chose to leave the stitches because I want to be able to clearly see how I’ve grown in my craft. 

Seeing my progress from inconsistent to consistent stitch directions and size is very rewarding because I have a tangible measure of what my time and effort have resulted in. 

Another major part of crafting is realizing that some level of mistakes are expected, considering it is a human process. 

Through crafting, I have learned to be more accepting of my mistakes. I know that no one will be inspecting each stitch to count the number of stitches

I have in different directions or even looking to see if stitches are in different directions. My obsession with doing things perfectly is something that crafting allows me to combat. 

Crafting is an activity I’m not allowed to be upset about, or else it defeats the purpose.