Margaret Kavanagh

Teacher By Day — Passionate Crocheter By Night

crochet heal

Rebecca Monroe is a middle school teacher who loves to crochet. She’s enjoyed the craft since childhood, but really discovered her value as a creative crocheter when she was diagnosed with a chronic illness that led to depression and a complete lifestyle change. Receiving positive responses to her work, she eventually started to sell her crocheted work both online and locally near her Texas home.
She finds that crochet not only heals her but provides her a positive perspective on her past, present, and future. Here is Rebecca’s story in her own words:

My Voyage

By day I am a passionate middle school teacher, but by night and on weekends I am a passionate, creative crocheter. Crochet and teaching are the two great passions in my life, and I have the great fortune of being able to employ both of these personal loves. Crochet has taken me on an interesting journey.
crochet healed rebeccaAt a very early age, my mother and grandmother encouraged me to play with hooks, yarn, buttons, cloth, needles, and thread. Yarn unwinding, or sewing machine whirring, I would sit by my grandmother’s side and clumsily experiment with her leftover materials.
She would encourage and guide my little hands while she masterfully turned yarn into blankets and fabric into clothes. Mentoring through creative expression was a way of life for me and my family.
Throughout the years I would revisit my crafting supplies, and I always gravitated towards yarn and crochet hooks. Every so often I would pick up a crochet project as a way to unwind.
I would gift the finished projects to my family and friends, giving very little thought to the value of the tangible item or the sentiment of these offerings. I enjoyed the activity of making the blanket or scarf, but it was not a developed art or passion.

And Then, It Happened

Crochet found a new and significant place in my life when I was in my late 20s. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Ulcerative Colitis. Suddenly and unexpectedly, I found myself trapped in a hospital bed, uncertainly waiting for a diagnosis.
crochet creator hat bootsOnce the doctors identified the problem, the trial and error of figuring out an effective treatment landed me back in the hospital a frustrating number of times. Tucked in my hospital bed among knotted sheets, IV tubes, and beeping equipment, I always kept a cross-stitch or a creative crocheter project. My family kept me in floss, fabric, and yarn to help pass the time.
Once we implemented a sustainable treatment plan, I started the daunting task of getting my life back on track. I realized that this chronic and invisible disease had caused a permanent and significant change in my life.
I now had to learn how to manage and function with new limits, which included managing pain, limited stamina, and scheduling around medication administration.

Had to Find Something

creative crocheter owl hatDepression’s icy fingers quickly grabbed ahold of me. They pulled me further down each time I passed on regular activities that were now impossible. I sadly remembered how my life used to be while I watched others doing what I thought I would do myself.
I was in desperate need of something—anything—to make me feel productive and creative again. This is when I really rediscovered my crocheting.
The repetitive motion of loops in loops allowed me to find a state of peace and meditation when before my mind could only focus on the negative. Yarn and patterns covered my bed as I began producing blankets, scarves, baby booties, and toys.

It Took On More Meaning

I posted pictures of my projects as a creative crocheter on social media. They gathered “oohs” and “awws” from acquaintances I had made over the years. I found joy in baby clothes for expectant mothers, and afghans for newlyweds, and watched friends sport my accessories.
Giving a handmade gift and receiving the love and appreciation from the recipient was my anti-depressant.
I was filling my life back up with creativity and beauty, sharing it with the world, and then drinking in the positive reactions my creations were inspiring. My crochet became a tool to help me feel whole again. I could start accepting my situation.creative crocheter fishing outfit

I Moved Forward

The better my crochet made me feel, the more elaborate and unique my projects became. Soon I had project requests and offers of payment, and suggestions from many family and friends that I start my own Etsy shop.
I realized that people had a genuine interest in my crochet skill and wanted unique handmade items. With the help and encouragement of my loved ones, I started my Etsy shop BabyByBecca in July 2013. (Editor's note – she is now on Facebook.)
Shortly after I started to sell online, I became an artisan at Bridges Artisan Studio & Boutique in McAllen, Texas. I also branched out and started to work with newborn photographer, Belinda Sol of Belinda Sol Photography.

Where I Am

Crochet connects me to my past, fills my present with joy, and gives me hope and excitement for my future. Continuing to live with a chronic illness is difficult. But through the process of making and sharing my crochet, I found the ability to heal and to accept the challenges of life.
I put my heart into every item I have for sale. I feel blessed to share it with the world.


A few words about us

This article is from Crochet Heals, by Kathryn Vercillo and was originally published in an issue of Happily Hooked Crochet Magazine. If you aren’t a subscriber, you’re missing out! Visit our main website to learn more! The support in our Facebook group is phenomenal! There’s nothing like it anywhere else.
And if you want to connect with some of us for a quick session, check out our YouTube wizard, Sam, on Thursdays at 11 am ET when she is LIVE. Visit regularly to see videos of crochet tips and tricks, yarn and product reviews, stitch tutorials, pattern help, and much more.


Margaret Kavanagh

I've been crocheting since my mother taught me as a little girl. I'm lucky to be working with Happily Hooked and I can't wait to share everything yarny and hooky with you! Yarn over, peeps! Yarn over!

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