My chosen profession is journalism and with that came a lot of stress. This added to the stress I already put on myself by being sort of a neurotic worrywart. I have tried very hard to cut down on the worrying and have been somewhat successful. I learned to crochet the year after I graduated from college – the same year that I worked at a twice weekly newspaper in Minnesota where I covered accidents – one of which was a fatality. I narrowly missed photographing the gurney carrying the body as it was rolled by. I covered city council meetings and the police beat. I laid awake at night worrying that my stories were wrong and I often had to steel myself to answer the phone because I knew there was a good chance the person on the other end was not happy. I once miscalculated a person’s age in the police log. The woman was more upset that I said she was 40 years old than that she was in the police log. This seemed ridiculous to me but I digress.

After I learned to crochet I spent my evenings making afghans, spending some of my meager earnings on enough Red Heart yarn to complete the projects. My first job in Minnesota was fun, a tribute to long hours and low pay, but fun. I eventually moved on to better fewer hours and better pay but the stress stayed the same. I kept crocheting. I could still worry away while chaining and single and double crocheting but working those stitches seemed to take the edge off. I still laid awake some nights worrying about what I put in my stories or what I had not and also worrying that whatever I had said to whoever that day had offended them. But the nerves I’d always had seemed to get better. The rhythm of working crochet hook through yarn channeled my neurosis into something productive – with an end result that did not involve an upset stomach.

I eventually expanded my evening repertoire to include knitting, which seems to have the same effect as crocheting. It slows the brain down and helps me relax. There’s always something going on up there and sometimes it seems like my brain is chasing its tail round and round in my skull. With the hook or needle in hand I can let that race run without being completely engaged in it. My brain can rattle away all on its own.

A former roommate once lamented the fact that I missed much of what was on television by crocheting. She said the reason I crocheted was because I was unable to sit still. As I watched my foot tapping away on the footrest of my recliner, I realized she was right. I can’t sit still. But crochet doesn’t hurt that. It helps it. Without that outlet each evening I would probably be permanently ensconced in the nut house – no offense to current residents. And since I have interest in wearing plastic shoes while toddling off to my shock treatment I’ll keep up the crocheting and knitting. I think it’s better to churn out hats and booties than an endless string of Prozac prescriptions.

My crochet hobby has also protected the welfare of the numerous people I find irritating. Friends of mine suggested that the title of this blog should be crocheting through crabbiness and they are right. I have crocheted through many unpleasant situations like the surgeries of loved ones, doctor’s appointments and the debris of the work day.