A Knit Life... from Coping to Helping

Margaret Crawford is a knitter, a crocheter, and a newly graduated Social Worker. She was taught to crochet by her grandmother. It helped her to cope,  following the death of her own mother. "My grandmother taught me to crochet in 2001, and that began my healing. That began my healing. The rhythm is what I found kept me calm and distracted me from my grief."

After a decade of tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome developed and she had to discontinue the crocheting. The "yearn for yarn", however, did not cease and a chance encounter with an instructor at a knit store encouraged her to try her hand at knitting.  A tutorial on YouTube got her going and from that came a fascination and passion for the craft, as well as  beautiful yarns.  Quickly she left behind the beginning acrylic yarns and discovered brands such as Malabrigo, Madeline Tosh and Zealana.  Sound familiar?

In 2014, Margaret entered a graduate program at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College. She decided to incorporate the coping mechanism that had aided her recovery from grief into her developing practice. As she describes it,  "I wanted everyone to know that knitting could be used to change the way we interpret traumatic life experiences and to build resiliency. I wished for them to receive the same therapeutic benefits that I did."

It was because of  this initial profound experience that she decided to base her graduate thesis on the value of "Knitting As an Effective Intervention".  She had discovered something that enhanced her capability as a facilitator of recovery after trauma:  "I understood how the rhythmic movements of the needles drove the relaxation response and created a distraction to stress. Traditional trauma therapy uses dialogue, but after life altering events not everyone wants to talk. Integrating knitting within therapy sessions can be the catalyst needed to facilitate the release of harbored emotions. It can also provide an alternate language with which to communicate."

Now a graduate and certified Social Worker, Margaret has initiated a knit and crochet club at her present workplace to address the stress felt by many of her colleagues. "Eventually, my goal is to teach at-risk children how to knit. Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders; knitting supports a healthier society by diminishing negative patterns and establishing meaningful relationships. Teaching young people supports their creativity, and individuality. It also provides purpose."

Along the way her love of the craft has led her to create some designs of her own which she shares and sells on Ravelry. You can find "Hira"  there.

We thought this final comment from her summed it up rather well:  "I am a big proponent of self-care and wellness. Often, not enough time is taken to care for oneself.  With knitting, you can still manage to take care, but also give and care for others."  

In addition to Ravelry, you can follow Margaret on Instagram and Facebook. We promise you, she's well worth knowing!