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It’s National Craft Month: What Does Crafting Mean to You?

It’s National Craft Month: What Does Crafting Mean to You?

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Linzee McCray

It may not be on a par with Mother’s Day or Thanksgiving, but those of us who appreciate making things can still find reason to celebrate in March: it’s National Craft Month. So declared by the Craft and Hobby Association (CHA), National Craft Month is an effort to draw attention to the many forms of crafting, as well as to help people find time to make and create. While “craft” is a dirty word in some circles—some think it connotes a lack of seriousness—the dictionary definition of craft is simply “an activity that involves making something in a skillful way by using your hands; a job or activity that requires special skill.”

Vanessa Christensen's i heart you quilt Vanessa Christensen's i heart you quilt

There’s no question that quilting is all that. Whether you’re working on a Dear Jane quilt or piecing your first four-patch, quilting requires a bit of know-how. Think of all you’ve learned since you were bitten by the quilting bug: how to handle a rotary cutter; your favorite method for making half-square triangles; how to make bias binding and stitch a curved seam. No doubt you feel a bit of pride when you look back at these accomplishments and the quilts you’ve made as a result of your new skills. According to the CHA, recent studies from NYU and Harvard crafting activities can improve concentration, while enhancing health and mental wellness. Sounds like crafting is practically the equivalent of eating broccoli and blueberries.

While getting smarter is one great thing about crafting, equally important is the opportunity to lose oneself in craft, to get “into the zone.” The hours spent almost mindlessly stitching together strip sets or putting together blocks are another aspect of what’s so wonderful about crafting. It’s relaxing and goes a long way toward reducing stress.

Linzee_Kull_McCray_Ocotllon_Market_Embroidery_floss Embroidery floss at a Mexican market. (Photo by Linzee Kull McCray)

Despite all the benefits of crafting, the CHA knows it’s not always easy to find time to sew, so they’ve created the CRE8TIME: Reclaim Your Creativity Campaign, encouraging people to dedicate ten minutes after dinner every night or two hours on a Saturday afternoon to the craft of their choice. They also offer materials for shop owners to encourage their customers to find time to do the things they love. You can find them here.

If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’re a quilter, but you may enjoy other crafts, as well. (Me, besides quilting I love to knit, embroider, and take photos.) What crafts do you enjoy and why? What makes them worth the time and effort?

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