Amidst uncertainties of life, here's how crocheting healed me

Here's how the art of crochet helped a breast cancer survivor foster a global community united by creativity and connection.

Amidst uncertainties of life, here's how crocheting healed me

As I settle into my chair with my crochet hook in hand, encircled by skeins of yarn in vibrant hues sourced from around the globe, I find myself contemplating the path that led me to this very moment. It's been a year since I emerged from my breast cancer treatment, and during this time, I've discovered solace, purpose, and a newfound ardour for the craft of crochet.

Crocheting wasn't a skill I inherited from my upbringing, though I vividly recall observing my mother, Shyamlata Sihare, deftly manoeuvring her crochet hook to craft intricate pieces during the summer months, transitioning to knitting in the winter. Despite her patient attempts to impart the art to me, like any dutiful child, I failed to grasp the technique. Nevertheless, a subtle yearning lingered within me, a desire to express my creativity with my own hands, much like my mother did.

After undergoing treatment for cancer, this yearning intensified, almost as if it were a calling from deep within my soul. I sought an outlet, something to occupy my thoughts and hands as I navigated the uncertainties that followed my illness. Thus, I turned to online resources and YouTube tutorials, eagerly absorbing every nugget of crochet wisdom I could find, and reminiscing about my mother even more.

From the very first stitch, I sensed that I had stumbled upon something extraordinary. There was a meditative quality to the repetitive motions of hook and yarn, a rhythm that allowed me to quiet the cacophony of my mind and find tranquillity in the present moment. With each completed stitch, I felt a sense of achievement, a tangible affirmation of my capacity to create beauty even in the face of adversity.


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I also learned the importance of counting, both stitches and blessings, as I progressed in life. Over the past ten months, crochet has evolved beyond a mere pastime; it has become a lifeline, infusing my days with boundless joy and fulfilment. I dedicate countless hours to my craft, fashioning everything from delicate flowers and cosy afghans to trendy handbags, necklaces, scrunchies, "amigurumi" toys, and much more. Each creation bears a piece of my heart, a testament to the resilience that carried me through my cancer journey.

Yet, perhaps the most beautiful aspect of crochet lies not in the finished product itself, but in the community it has woven into my life. No longer is crochet confined to a select few; today, it thrives as a vibrant and inclusive community that transcends boundaries of age, gender, and geography. Through online forums and social media groups, I've forged connections with fellow crocheters worldwide, exchanging tips, patterns, and tales of our respective journeys. In a world often fragmented, crochet has bestowed upon me a sense of belonging, a reminder of our interconnectedness through our shared passion for this timeless craft.


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Whether I'm traversing the streets of Mumbai, Bangkok, Istanbul, Munich, or Norway, I always carry a larger bag to accommodate yarn purchases, each city offering its own unique selection, tailored to its climate. I've come to realize the vast network of crocheters and knitters spanning across countries. Crochet and yarn circles are forming, bringing together individuals of diverse backgrounds and ages. At a recent yarn circle gathering in Bangalore, I marvelled at the diverse assembly united by their love for crochet and a collective eagerness to learn and grow. From seasoned veterans to enthusiastic novices, each person had a story to share and a passion to explore.

This sense of camaraderie extends far beyond local gatherings; platforms like Instagram facilitate connections with crocheters worldwide, each one contributing their unique perspective and creativity. From Korea to Turkey, from Bangkok to Germany, crochet transcends borders, bridging cultures and generations with each handmade creation.


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One particularly inspiring example I encountered is a nine-year-old child from the United States, who maintains a thriving Instagram channel dedicated to crochet. Their talent and enthusiasm serve as a testament to the boundless nature of creativity, demonstrating that anyone, regardless of age, can derive joy and fulfilment from this timeless craft. Similarly, a gentleman from Korea regularly hosts crochet tutorials on his YouTube channel, crafting handbags inspired by popular designs. In Bangkok, I've witnessed a burgeoning community of crochet enthusiasts, comprising both men and women, who converge at malls to celebrate their love for yarn and creativity. And let's not overlook Turkey, a veritable haven for yarn enthusiasts, where the art of crochet has been passed down through generations, seamlessly integrating into daily life.

As I continue my crochet journey, I am filled with gratitude for the healing power of creativity. What began as a simple desire to occupy my hands has blossomed into a passion that infuses each day with joy. While my cancer journey may be in the past, I know that crochet will remain a steadfast companion, guiding me through whatever challenges lie ahead.

To those facing their own struggles, I encourage you to seek out your own outlet, your own source of solace and strength. Whether it's crochet, painting, gardening, or any other form of creative expression, never underestimate the power of art to heal, inspire, and illuminate even the darkest of days. And remember, no matter where you find yourself in the world, there's always yarn waiting to be transformed into something beautiful. So pick up your hook, gather some yarn, and join us on this extraordinary journey of creativity and connection. Together, one stitch at a time, we can weave a brighter, more colourful world.

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