My name is Jade, I am a 20-something year old married woman from England. Besides from knitting and crocheting, I am studying towards a Foundation Degree in Health and Social Care. I love music, Instagramming, Ancient Egyptian history and have an interest in the workings of the mind.
I started knitting when I was 21. My mother taught me the basics of casting on and the garter stitch. It actually took me a long time to branch out further in different techniques and textures, but once I had I developed a love for knitting. I learnt a lot from watching YouTube videos and actually taught myself to crochet this way.
The reason why I was taught to knit was because I experienced a mental health crisis. When I was a teenager I was bullied every day at school. I was a very quiet girl, had no friends and was one of a few who actually wanted to learn at my school. I started experiencing panic attacks, which made the bullying worse. I didn’t get any help for my panic attacks and anxiety, no teacher, no concerned adult, I was ignored with the thought that ‘it will sort itself out’. I subsequently became depressed at the age of 14. Nobody believed that a teenager could experience anxiety and depression, ‘you’re too young’ I was told, ‘what have you got to be depressed out?’ they told me. I never got proper help, nor a diagnosis, so my mental health deteriorated.
When I was 20 my health spiraled, my personality and behaviour changed. I became a person who I never was or would be. I didn’t notice, but everybody else did, who assumed I was acting out and treated me as so. When I was 21 my health got so bad that I attempted to take my life, three times. After the third attempt, the only one my mother knew about, she came to my room with a pair of 3.75mm needles and lilac acrylic yarn. She sat next to me on my bed and showed me how to knit. It looked like witchcraft to me, who in the bloody hell thought up ‘knitting’!? I used to watch her knit but could never understand how she did it, but as she showed me it began to make some sense. I created a swatch which sort of resembled the Rosetta Stone! But as I practised, I stopped losing stitches or wondering how the bloody hell a stitch magicked up!
Knitting has really helped my mental health. Not only did it help to keep my mind focused on a project, but it made me feel a sense of accomplishment to look at a finished project knowing that I made it myself, and to the best that I could. Looking back at pictures of my first projects helps me to measure my progress in my ability and quality. Come on, how cool is it to make your own stuff!
In January 2016, I gave birth to mine and my husband’s daughter, she was stillborn. She was the most beautiful being I had ever seen. It crushed us. The decisions we had to make were beyond comprehension, the experiences haunt us and the aftermath is still shit. Not only did we lose our precious daughter, we lost friends and family who felt too awkward to be around us anymore. And now, my poor husband has to care for a depressed wife.
I needed a new project, new ventures. I enrolled on a degree program nine months after our loss. Some people thought it was too soon and I would struggle, but my grades disagree! I am now accomplishing a life-long dream of achieving a degree. I also started learning to crochet. When university work and life got too much, I would turn on YouTube and search for the next crochet stitch or technique I wanted to learn. I reinstalled Pinterest and began crocheting. I wish I started years ago! I love how quickly a project grows and the variety of shapes and styles one could create! I didn’t need to learn anything too technical to create scarves, even amigurumi. I think I’m a crochet convert.
I am by no means a knitting and crocheting expert. I cannot pick up cable knitting, I find it a little too technical and fiddly to me, and the charts are beyond my comprehension. This affects my ability to crochet using charts. But these don’t stop me. When I’m ready, I’ll google ‘How to read crochet charts’ and it will be another string to my bow. If you have tips on reading charts then please let me know, I would love to hear from you!