The clicking of your needles, the rhythmic sound of a shuttle through a warp, or the feel of fibre in your hands. Even reading that last sentence may have brought you a sense of calm, and maybe even send you into a meditative state. What if it could do more for you? What if it felt like time to fill your own cup back up, and enjoy a little (or a lot) of self-care? After talking with Marjoram Lynn, you’ll understand how self-care is really a tool for their (and could be for your own) mental health.
They were introduced to and encouraged to engage in art beginning in preschool. This set the stage for middle school and learning to knit from a friend behind an actual theatre stage. Now, as an adult, they place as much time for craft as they can in their free time, shifting from ‘working to live’ rather than ‘living to work’ to balance their mental health.
“I work to make money to buy supplies for crafting because it brings me joy and calm in a world that is so busy all the time,” explains Marjoram.
With an ever-changing world keeping us at home more the past two years, self-care has become more important now than at any other time in our lives. Marjoram enjoys how “…fibre crafts require focus but can also be mindless. When I’m weaving or knitting, my hands aren’t scrolling endlessly on my phone or searching on my computer, and my mind falls into a rhythm.”
Once finished with an object, “…making gives me something tangible, a physical representation of my self care once I’ve finished the project, or even while in progress,” Marjoram says. “There is something so special about feeling accomplished; when a project is complete, especially after a new technique or very exciting pattern. In addition, it serves as the creative outlet I need to get through the workday or workweek.” The project you create can become the light that sees you through a tough week personally or professionally, and each time you wear it or use it, you can think about that time and how you made it through to the other side.
Marjoram has made some wonderful projects since joining the School of SweetGeorgia, including the Twill gamp, which has since grown to include twill towels. Their favourite class of late is Laura Fry’s Magic in the Water.
“There was so much detail in a deep dive of wet finishing. Laura Fry is just so inspiring and… a living resource with so much experience! I think wet finishing is so often seen as a throw-away step or an afterthought, but there are so many factors that can impact your final project. That course calmed my finishing fears and also gave me new techniques to learn.”
Marjoram (like all of us from time to time) finds it difficult to attempt a project because of the skills, or the perceived complexity of the pattern.
“Most often, I pause a project when I worry the work will be too difficult or I don’t think it is coming along as well as it should. Every project at one point seemed too difficult or made little sense to me (in terms of execution). Having a physical reminder that, yes, I probably can create this new scary project, is usually what gets me back to just making. There’s a fine mix of pre-project anxiety and post-project euphoria that mesh to keep me going on to the next,” says Marjoram. This is a good reminder to everyone to look back at what you have made and think about how far you have come in your techniques and skills.
Marjoram’s techniques and finishing will continue to grow, as they were the first recipient of the School of SweetGeorgia Scholarship. This gave them the ability to purchase items like yarn and spools for weaving, but also items to make the mindful practice of crafting easier on the body too. “… one thing that will help was something as simple as a chart keeper for weaving drafts and knitting charts to always be visible; rather than a strained neck or turned head away,” they explained. They also let the staff pick out yarns from them too, as a surprise.
So next time you hear Felicia say: “make time to make things,” remember it’s not only about the product you are knitting, weaving, or making; it could be time to be quiet and allow you to fill up your cup with some self-care.
You can join Marjoram on their YouTube Channel to see their crafting journey and how their craft moves forward at https://www.youtube.com/c/SageMarjoram.