April 2011

Relieving stress with needlecraft even during war

We as crafters know that our work is a stress-relief! In fact, many of us knit/crochet not because it is more economical (which most of the time isnít) but because we enjoy what we do and maybe subconsciously relieve stress at the same time.

Recently, a friend sent me an article in the Washington Post about a Navy physician, Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Almy, who was deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan. During her deployment she took her knitting with her, a small project that she could carry with her at all times. She would work on it between air raids, between shifts, saving a life or waiting for a rocket attack to end. Knitting was her sanctuary. Almy believes that knitting focuses her. When she has to concentrate on a pattern, she cannot think about dreadful events around her.

Her dedication to her knitting had caused others who were deployed at the same time to ask her to teach them how to knit. They called their group "Combat Knitters". Since they could not be at the same place at the same time, she taught them on one-on-one basis. They received yarn in their care-packages from the States and chose to knit red, white, and blue blocks. The colors of the flag of the United States were in contrast with the dreary camouflage colors they were wearing and the desert surrounding them. The Combat Knitters submitted their blocks to Almy and in January and February she blocked them and joined them together to create an afghan. The afghan is hung in the hospital hallway along other memorabilia from other NATO troops. She is now back in the United States and her local yarn shop had a heroís welcome party for her. She is working on new projects in beautiful colors. She might be deployed again this summer.

If you would like to read the whole article, check out:

Nazanin S. Fard

Needlecraft University

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