The school year can be an incredibly stressful time in the life of the teacher. When I first taught myself how to crochet, it was at a time that I was dealing with some issues with parents that really stressed me out more than usual. At first, I thought crocheting was helping me relax, but after I made two coasters from the same pattern that were vastly different in size, I realized I was taking my stress out on the tension in my projects.
At first, I was really frustrated with what stress was doing to my crocheting. My tension was way too tight, I was making projects that were much smaller than they should have been, and some of my rectangular projects turned into trapezoids because I made the ends too tight. On top of that, I was also in pain because the amount of tension that I was using was hurting my wrist and hand, making it hard to keep crocheting.
After some research and trying out different methods, here are some tricks I have learned that have allowed me to keep crocheting while under stress:
Use In-Line Crochet Hooks
I had asked my husband for a set of crochet hooks for Christmas, so he put a lot of time into researching what hooks to get. When looking for solutions to too much tension, he discovered in-line crochet hooks which help to maintain stitch sizes even when you are pulling hard on the yarn. I use Susan Bates crochet hooks, and quite frankly I am never going back! I love them because they help me to have consistent stitch sizes and they also reduce wrist movement which has made my wrist and hand feel better.
Try Ergonomic Crochet Hooks
I have experimented with many different types of ergonomic hooks. Before discovering in-line hooks, I had purchased a large set of ergonomic hooks on Amazon that seemed to help with my wrist and hand pain. After using traditional in-line hooks for awhile, I realized I wanted to have some more padding under my hand, so I originally wrapped my hook with some foamy hair wrap and secured it with a bit of tape to get a squishy handle.
After realizing how silly that looked, I tried out the Susan Bates bamboo handle hooks, which helped make the grip larger. However, my absolute favorite hooks are the Susan Bates soft grip hooks. These not only have a padded grip, but they are also slightly longer which has helped me to reduce my tension as well.
Avoid Projects Where Gauge is Important
When you are stressed, that is not the right time to make a fitted sweater or a hat. When your tension is too tight or fluctuating, size is going to change quite a bit, which is really bad when you are trying to make something a specific size. I recommend trying to work on projects where size is not critical, or where you just work until it reaches a specific length.
One of my favorite projects to make during the school year when I am under stress is this Twisted Headband by Sierra’s Crafty Creations. It is not too wide, so it is easy to keep the width the same, you crochet until it is the correct length without having to count rows, and it is a quick pattern, so you can finish it in one evening.
Aim for Small Projects
Since your tension will change as your stress level changes, you want to try to avoid making progress on a large project while you are stressed and using a lot of tension. Try to stick with smaller projects that you can finish quickly so that your tension does not fluctuate too much.
Another bonus of working on small projects while you are stressed is that you get to see your finished project and feel some relief when you are done. Finishing a project is always a cathartic experience, so why not aim to reduce your stress by making something!
One project that would be perfect to work on while you are stressed is the Braided Chain Infinity Scarf that I shared earlier this month!
Forget the Hook and Grab a Needle
Weaving in ends can be a pain in the butt, but it is somewhat rewarding in the end because you see your final masterpiece. If you have pieces that just need ends weaved in, this is a great time to work on them. Tension is not really that important when you are finishing a project and weaving in the leftover ends, so use your high stress time to do that.
Watch Your Favorite Show or Listen to Soothing Music
It is helpful to try to get your mind off your stressors. Relax, sit in a comfy chair, get out your crocheting, and watch your favorite show or movie. If you don’t want to miss what’s on the screen, try listening to a positive podcast, your favorite playlist, or the radio.
I hope these tips help you to get some quality crocheting time in while you are stressed! Please let me know in the comments what tips were your favorites or if you have any other tips to share!
~ Candace 🙂