It’s time to dig out your knitting needles and wool, or grab a colouring book and some crayons, because just 45 minutes of creative activity has been proven to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body – exactly what we all need right now.
Craft author Hannah Read-Baldrey, co-founder of Makebox.co says: ‘Spending time making something – using your hands to knit, fold, mould or draw – has been likened to periods of mindful meditation, where you are fully present, focused only on the next stitch or mark, with your thoughts just passing by.’
Because of this, crafting is associated with reduced feelings of anxiety, stress and depression, and it can boost feelings of happiness and self-esteem too. So what are you waiting for?
Project 1: Crocheted rainbow
Pay tribute to our amazing NHS heroes with this gorgeous pattern, perfect for hanging in your window. Wellbeing craft expert Merion Willis, from LoveCrafts.com says, ‘The repetitive movements of knitting, crochet or stitching bring a focus that will take your mind off everything else, and it is especially good for people who find it hard to clear their minds with meditation.’
You will need:
• 7 balls of yarn in rainbow colours
• A hook 2 sizes smaller than recommended for your yarn
• A tapestry needle
• A ruler for making the fringes
Abbreviations: half treble (htr)
1 Using pink yarn , ch 6.
2 Row 1: 2 htr in second ch from hook, 2 htr in every ch to end. (10 htr)
3 Change to purple on last st and turn.
4 Row 2: ch 1 (does not count as a st here and throughout), * 2 htr in next st, 1 htr in next st, rep from * to end. (15 htr)
5 Change to blue and turn.
6 Row 3: ch 1, * 2 htr in next st, 1 htr in next 2 sts, rep from * to end. (20 htr)
7 Change to green and turn.
8 Row 4: ch 1, * 2 htr in next st, 1 htr in next 3 sts, rep from * to end. (25 htr)
9 Change to yellow and turn.
10 Row 5: ch 1, * 2 htr in next st, 1 htr in next 4 sts, rep from * to end. (30 htr)
11 Change to orange and turn.
12 Row 6: ch 1, * 2 htr in next st, 1 htr in next 5 sts, rep from * to end. (35 htr)
13 Change to red and turn.
14 Row 7: ch 1, * 2 htr in next st, 1 htr in next 6 sts, rep from * to end. (40 htr)
15 Fasten off .
16Hanging loop – with the red yarn, and right side facing, join yarn to 17th st from the beginning of work, make 20 ch, miss next 6 sts, work slip stitch in next st. Fasten off and weave in ends.
17To make the fringe – cut 5 strands of red yarn, then fold them in half to create a loop. With the right side facing, feed the loop between two stitches (from front to back) at the edge of the rainbow – this is easier to do if you are using a bigger hook. Thread the ends of the strands through the loop, and pull to secure. You should have a nice knot at the front of your work. Repeat with the other colours on both ends.
18To trim the fringe – fold the rainbow in half, starting with the red side, cut diagonally towards the purple side, with purple being the shortest length. You may wish to steam your rainbow with an iron to finish it off nicely.
Visit the Search Press Art And Craft Books Facebook page for a video on how to change colour and weave in the ends – as well as other live crafting demos and giveaways.
Project 2: Origami vase sleeve
Jazz up old vases or plant pots with this clever design…
You will need:
• Sleeve template from Hobbycraft – click HERE to download.
• 2 sheets of card (we used orange ombre)
• Cutting mat
• Steel ruler
• Craft knife
• Glue pen
• Glass jar
1 Print out the template for the red origami vase and lay it onto (or draw out the template on) the back (not coloured side) of the card.
2 Using the back edge of your craft knife, lightly score each vertical and diagonal line.
3 Turn the paper over so the coloured side is showing, then start folding the vertical scored lines away from you.
4 Flatten out and turn over so the coloured side is facing down. Crease the diagonal lines away from you, gradually revealing the coloured side of card. The diagonal lines go in two directions, so do all of one direction before unfolding and moving onto the other.
5 Turn the piece of card over again and start pinching in the small triangles along the sides, this will start to create an accordion effect.
6 Press the paper together (don’t worry if the two ends don’t line up exactly).
7 Repeat steps one to six to create the second half of your vase.
8 Open out the paper and dab glue on to the first of the two concertinaed panels.
9 Attach the second half of your vase to the glued area and repeat on the other end. Use sticky tape to doubly secure the vase together on the inside while the glue sets.
10 Place over a glass jar to create your finished origami vase.
– For step-by-step pictures, click HERE.
Project 3: Get colouring!
Clinical psychologist Dr Tony Ortega says: ‘Engaging in activities such as colouring and sketching are excellent distractions from the mind. They require a sort of hyper-focus that allows for your more active mind (or monkey mind as some call it) to shut off for a bit.’
So channel your inner child and get colouring! Click HERE to download free colouring templates from Hobbycraft.
We have 10 copies of Tangle Wood colouring book by Jessica Palmer (£8.99, SearchPress.com) to give away. To enter, send your name and address to email@example.com with the subject line: Love Sunday Competition, May 10. Competition closes at 23:59 on 16 May.
–Dr Tony Ortega’s latest book #AreYouHereYet: How To STFU & Show Up For Yourself (Ortus Press, £11.99) is available now.