Amanda Woodbury

Crochet saves lives (A true story)

My experience as a crochet instructor has been one of my favorite life events. I decided to become an instructor because I wanted to share the craft, but do it effectively, accurately, and make it way more fun than any other learning experience. Along the way, I realized that crochet saves lives!

crochet mindset coach amanda woodbury

Picture courtesy of the author

Not only has it been life-changing for me, but it has also been life-changing for those who have learned from me. Now, I can’t take any credit for their results, as I just teach the skills. But how they apply those skills to their lives is always unexpected and amazing.

My unanticipated evolution

While teaching, I stumbled upon designing patterns. A past student requested projects she could do to relax her and help her “get” the stitch she was learning. So, I started writing my first patterns.

I found that not only did those early patterns help her “get” that stitch, but it helped her to relieve stress and feel the amazing, freeing emotions that stem from accomplishment. I had no idea that this was possible, my eyes were opened to a whole new possibility of helping women to love themselves one stitch at a time.

In my experience, learning and applying these professional aspects have done a lot for my own mindset. I’ve been able to let go of limiting beliefs that have held me back, I’ve gained a lot of confidence, and I’ve been able to show up as the best parent — I never expected that was possible.

crochet saves lives yarn hook

Picture courtesy of the author

I have recently noticed that my positive outlook and a more open mindset have been rubbing off on my children. Seeing their confidence rise and how they treat themselves is an unexpected result. I am giving them the skills they need to show up in the world in a way that was meant for them. That’s amazing.

Depression and anxiety were ruling my life

I didn’t expect anything more than “ending boredom” when I first picked up the hook. Oh, how much crochet has helped me! And now, I have the privilege of sharing this craft with those who need it the most.

Crochet brings out so much self-honesty, and it doesn’t apologize for that. That in itself can be life-saving. I wanted to share this story with you because I think this kind of experience needs to be heard and shared within the crochet community.

My breakthrough review

I was working toward my crochet instructor certification when I needed test subjects … ah-hem, students. Beth agreed, and I had no clue why until I asked for feedback on the most significant emotional shift she had during this process. Following is her review:

“I worked with Amanda in 2018 when I was in the middle of the biggest funk of my life. OCD, depression, and anxiety were ruling my life, and I was struggling with dark thoughts. I decided to give crochet a go, and it was my saving grace. When I was in my darkest moments I would just tell myself ‘I might be struggling to get through the day, but I can get through this row.’ And then I’d get through the next row. Then the next. I crafted more than I had my entire life. And one day, I woke up and didn’t need to crochet to get through the day. I could just crochet to decompress, or to gift to those I love, or to clear my mind. One thing for sure, I would not be where I am right now if I hadn’t hired Amanda.” — Beth G.

crochet saves lives like beth g

Crochet saved Beth G. and changed the author's life, too. (Picture courtesy of the author)

Hearing her review brought tears to my eyes. I knew I had felt the mindset shifts that crochet offers personally, but I had no idea how life-saving this craft would actually be. Beth is one of my closest friends, and I cherish her deeply. So, the fact that crochet had been one of the things that kept her here was astonishing. Crochet saves lives.

This result also led me to become a Mindset Coach and directly resulted in how and why I teach crochet.

How I approach mental illness with crochet

There are many reasons why someone wants to learn how to crochet. It could be as simple as boredom, or there’s a baby on the way, or wanting to connect with loved ones. Some want to learn for stress relief, anxiety relief, or because they struggle with a mental illness.

Teaching crochet takes a special kind of patience, especially to those who need extra kindness and compassion. You must be more of a support than a technical teacher. Give more praise on the little wins than you might expect. I’m not talking about talking down to someone, being patronizing, or treating them like a child. When you’re teaching with the mindset in mind, you have to come at it differently.

Instead, show a student that each accomplishment matters and authentically celebrate that with them. There are days when all you can do is teach them one stitch instead of an entire project. Then, help them with what’s holding them back by just being there to listen like a good friend. Or let them know that you are there for them. Being a Crochet + Mindset Coach is not something everyone can do. It takes a lot of energy and holding space for their emotions. It’s not about what you can teach them; sometimes, it’s about what they can teach you.

Each crochet student I take on is different. I spend time with them to get to know what teaching techniques will best fit. That way, I can make sure they are successful crocheters by the end of the lessons.

How you can utilize it

crochet yarn hook hands

Photo by Imani on Unsplash

If you crochet, and you would like to use your craft as a coping tool for some mental illnesses, there are healthy ways to go about it. Depending on your skill level, there are a lot of projects that can help. If you are a beginner, stick with projects that allow your thoughts to roam free, and you can start to focus on what makes you happy. If you are a beginner to intermediate, try projects that include your favorite stitches. Do those projects that help you to feel accomplished and proud of your skills.

If you are a more advanced crocheter, keep learning new things. Revisit easier projects that bring you joy or that inspired you to crochet in the first place. Any project at any skill level that helps you release tension and focus on the work will distract you from what is holding you back, even if you have to take it one row at a time. Adding journaling can help you too!

Ask for help without shame or guilt

I want to take the time and mention here that there is no shame in having a mental illness. There is nothing wrong with you. You can continue to thrive and use creativity to share your experience.

Even if you suffer from chronic stress, OCD, PTSD, or anything else, utilizing crochet to help you, along with professional help, is not something that should cause you embarrassment. You should celebrate it.

Each project is unique in its creation for what it brings you — peace, self-care, relief, gift-sharing, and so much more. If you get anything out of this blog post, I hope you feel how important you are, and I hope that crochet helps you bring joy into your life.

We need more awareness and projects that help

In this industry, tons of designers create patterns that would be amazing to utilize for self-care. Even if they don’t realize it. Often, we spend hours creating the project, writing the pattern, testing the pattern (thanks to you amazing testers out there!), and publishing it, without even knowing who or why you were drawn to it. We hope that you enjoy the project.

As a designer, I specialize in creating projects to amplify the forced meditation benefit that crochet offers. And at the end of the day, I know that I’ve done my best to bring a ray of hope into the crocheter’s life. Crochet saves lives; I wholeheartedly believe that.

My call to crochet designers

I want to call other designers in the crochet community to come together and create patterns that help others crochet items that they will love and help them see tangible results of their worth. When we show crocheters that we care for them and their well-being, it will spread like creamy butter on a warm piece of bread. Crochet saves lives.

Even though we may never know the depth of help our patterns reach, or what a student carries with them from learning how to crochet from us, we hang onto the hope that what we put out in the world will ripple with empathy and kindness for years to come. Continuing to support other designers and instructors to believe in themselves and that their knowledge is essential and needed in this world is something that I cherish. Businesses like Happily Hooked Magazine are doing just that, and I support them in this effort.

So, let’s grab our hooks and crochet another row for self-love and leveling up to a better version of ourselves!


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Amanda Woodbury is a Happily Hooked Blog Columnist! We love working with her and sharing her thoughts with you! If YOU are interested in sharing your crochet-related thoughts with our blog readers and think you have what it takes to communicate clearly and concisely with other crocheters, we'd like to know! Contact Margaret, your friendly blog editor, here for more information.

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Amanda Woodbury

Hi! I am Amanda Woodbury at Unravel Your Stress. I am a mom of 2 boys and have an amazing husband (who doesn't mind the yarn stash!). I learned how to crochet back in 2014 when I was at my lowest point. After a couple of years of self-teaching, I began to feel the mindset effects of crocheting. So, I shared that experience and also received two Crochet Instructor Certifications through the Craft Yarn Council and the American Crochet Association. I added Mindset Coaching to crochet instruction when I found that all my students were also feeling the same benefits as myself. My goal in life is to teach crochet so that you can reignite your mindset and live the life you deserve!

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