Unwinding With Fiber Arts
Long before I joined the crew at Steve Jackson Games, I had a brief stint at All Music Guide as a writer for their pop music department. It was a place that bubbled with creativity even on the slowest days, and many people who worked there performed in bands, created art, and otherwise let their muses run free. One of my co-workers wore bright, beautiful scarves that she made with a knitting loom, and she encouraged me to take up the hobby. I had some trepidation about trying it at first, but she assured me that the process was easy to learn. Her encouragement, combined with a punk rock DIY pep-talk from my boyfriend (now husband) convinced me to give it a go. I haven't looked back since.
My love of loom knitting eventually led me to try out crochet. It has become one of my favorite hobbies. At the risk of sounding twee, there's something magical about transforming yarn into a scarf, cowl, hat, or blanket. It's a tangible and practical achievement, and one that brings joy to both the creator and the recipient of the piece. Fiber arts are also a great way to unwind – even the frustrations of a confusing pattern or tangled yarn are far better for my mental state than idly doomscrolling on social media. And that's not just anecdotal! Numerous studies, including this one, have shown that participating in fiber arts such as knitting, quilting, crochet and needlework can have a positive effect on your overall mental health.
While I do enjoy making gifts for family and friends, people can only use so many hats and scarves. That's why most of my projects end up going to charities that work with low income or houseless individuals that need help staying warm during the winter months. I've sent scarves to groups assisting Ukrainian refugees in the past, and this year I hope to send items to East Kentucky Mutual Aid, Re-Member, and Knit The Rainbow. I like to hope that these handmade items can bring comfort to people who need it most.
-- Katie Duffy