To mark Mental Health Awareness Week we are taking part in the Circles of the Mind event at Forge Urban Revival on the 17th May 2018. There will be a range of activities including some colourful crafting in the form of circular crochet patterns and stitched circles.
In the crochet community the ‘mandala’ has become something of a emblem of the role that crochet and knitting can have in improving mental health and wellbeing. There are very many blogs, anecdotes and research about the positive effect that yarn crafts can have in reducing pain, reducing stress, lowering blood pressure and encouraging social interaction through knitting and crochet groups. Those of us who crochet will all know how the rhythm and the flow of the hook and yarn can sooth the spirit and relax the mind. I have always thought of it as ‘defragging’ for my brain, where I get all my thoughts back into line.
I will not attempt to give an in-depth study of the emergence and spiritual significance of the mandala but, in brief, their origins are ancient with evidence of them being used in Buddhist and Hindu meditation as far back as the 8th Century BC. The mandala has representations throughout our history including in Christian art and influencing contemporary popular culture. Whether you choose to call it a mandala and use it as part of meditative process of self-awareness is up to the individual. For us it is about creating an intricate, soothing and colourful circular pattern as a satisfying way of using crochet to relax, de-stress and improve well-being. The end result will be a piece of group work that is a lasting reminder of why we craft and why we craft together.
A quick ‘recipe’ for a Circle of the Mind…
This is not a pattern exactly, but a recipe that should help you to create a simple granny circle design. I made it up and I will on hand on the 17th May to help if you need it. This is in UK terms.
I used a dk acrylic yarn with a 4mm hook.
Start with a magic circle.
Row 1 (blue): Chain 3 (counts as first treble). Into the circle crochet 6 clusters of 2 trebles with 1 chain between the clusters. Join with a slip stitch and fasten off. Join next colour in a chain space.
Row 2 (purple): Chain 3 (counts as first treble). Crochet 12 clusters of 2 trebles with 1 chain between each cluster. Put two clusters into each chain space on the previous row. Join with a slip stitch etc…..
Row 3 (pink): 18 clusters of 2 trebles with 1 chain between each cluster. Put two clusters into the first chain space on the previous row, then one cluster in the next chain space. Repeat until the end of the row. Join with a slip stitch etc…
Row 4 (sky blue): Repeat the stitch pattern in row 3.
Row 5 (green): Chain 1. 2 doubles in each chain space with 1 chain in between. Join with a slip stitch etc….
Row 6 (blue): Repeat the stitch pattern in Row 5.
Then I just gave them a quick spritz with some spray starch so that it lies flat and gives it a bit of stiffness. Dah Daaaa!
This is now ready to become a part of the Circles of the Mind garland that will be displayed in the Forge cafe at the Wakes.
You could also just use of the one of the gazillion free crochet mandala patterns online. Here are a couple that I like the look of but please feel free to be as imaginative as you like.
I have used brights in my sample circles but if it is pastels or neutrals that bring you peace, please use them.
But we don’t all crochet, I hear you call….. In the next blog post I will show you some stitched circles that the non-crocheters amongst us can have a go at. And there will also be pom poms to make, plenty of pom poms!!!
Thanks for visiting and I hope you all enjoy making your crochet circles, or mandalas, or whatever you would like to call them. Mary x