-Written by Samira Payne

In the past 4 years, I have changed my state of residency 4 times, held 6 different jobs, and been an undergrad and grad student. Faced with all the changes and challenges of college and life post-college it’s simple to see how one could start unraveling at the seams. How do we keep it together when everything around us seems to be changing?

For me, the thing that has (helped) keep me together is yarn or more specifically, yarncrafting. As many Eta sisters know I am a yarn-a-holic. In college, and grad school, I crocheted in every one of my classes. At first, I got plenty of perplexed stares from professors and fellow students. I would explain that crocheting is my doodling. By keeping my hands busy, I was able to be a more focused learner. My grades actually got better when I started crocheting in class. On top of that, I finished about 3 projects a week, creating a great stash of handmades for my first craft fair. Crocheting allowed me to share something I loved with others, too. Once, our chapter did a sorority craft night and I taught the other actives to crochet red scarves for the American Heart Association. When our college collected blankets for Project Linus, I was able to donate 5 blankets for kids in need.

Crocheting has also helped me to craft a better version of myself. It has been a major stress reliever, allowing me time to think, organize my thoughts, and problem solve. I’ve learn to be more patient, to embrace mistakes and learn from them, and to keep going even if it seems like the end will never come. I spent most of our 54-hour round-trip drive to Convention 2010 in Vegas making a Navy Blue and Maroon blanket. When we returned, the blanket still was not complete. Four months later, I finally finished and proudly gifted it to our neo that fall. Crocheting helped me to come out of my shell  and learn more about other cultures as I created numerous “swap” packages for strangers from different corners of North America. In each package I would enclose a handmade gift and something representative of my culture. In exchange I would receive the same from my swap partner. Yarn connected me to people that I likely wouldn’t have met otherwise.

My old lady hobby, as Kaiea calls it, isn’t particularly spectacular, but it allows me to turn something I love into something that I can share with others. It’s still teaching me patience and persistence, (one day I’ll finish the 30+ half done projects in my stash closet) but I’m making progress. I know that crocheting or knitting isn’t for everyone, but for me it’s been the thing that keeps me going. If you’re reading this and you’re still in college, it doesn’t get easier from there. So, I hope that you have found something to help you through the challenges to come and if not, I encourage you to start looking. And if you just so happen to be interested in yarncrafting, email me. Or go to ravelry.com (it’s like Facebook for yarnies).

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