Craft as Therapy: Maximize the Cozy in Crochet and Knitting

Hi, Kathryn here, Marly’s blog content director, sharing some thoughts with you on how to make the most of cozy crochet and knitting to improve your life through crafting.

Crochet and knitting can be such healing crafts for so many different reasons. One of the core reasons, although sometimes overlooked in discussions about craft as therapy, is that yarn crafting is COZY. Call it “hygge” or “homey” or whatever word feels right for you, but frankly yarn just makes us feel all safe and warm and snug as a bug. The texture of working with a soft yarn, the feeling of a cozy shawl wrapped around you … it truly helps. And simply by tuning in to what’s cozy about crafting, we can make our lives feel better in ways big and small.

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That Feeling of Being COZY

As I write this, I’m sitting propped up against a full-sized body pillow, wearing that oversized chunky wool crochet sweater that you see a glimpse of in the photo above. My pup is cuddled up next to me and a mug of hot chocolate at the ready. I am cozy, which is one of my most favorite feelings in the world. While I love to feel inspired, invigorated, and so many other things, what I want on most days is to feel cozy. I like cozy crochet, cozy homes, cozy moments.

When I think about being cozy, I think about the utter comfort of respite. I am cozy when I am in my favorite pjs, under my favorite blanket, with one or more of the people I love the most. I feel cozy in front of a roaring fire, reading a favorite book, in conversation on the couch with my best friend. When I feel cozy, it’s a break from all of the hectic things in the world. It is a place of rest, reprieve … not even rejuvenation (though it leads to that) but just calm lovingness.

And so of course I want to find ways to utilize my love of crochet to get even more cozy. It is a craft that lends itself well to the concept of cozy. Yarn is cozy, especially plush yarn. It is cozy to work with and cozy to wear and cozy to wrap up in on a cold day. But how can we take its natural qualities even further to intentionally create even more coziness for ourselves? That’s what I hope to encourage you to do here, with some ideas of my own that I hope will also inspire you to come up with your own cozy approach to craft as therapy.

Of course course, cozy is going to mean different things to different people. There are certain things that many of us find to be cozy – warm drinks in our hands, warm blankets wrapped around us, warm fuzzies from great moments in relationships. But “cozy” is also related to nostalgia, to the things that make us feel safest and calmest. So as you work with the concept of coziness in your own crochet or knitting, you might want to take the time to journal and muse upon what truly feels most cozy for you.

knit half circle shawl pattern

An Exercise in COZY: Making a Knit or Crochet Shawl

The crochet shawl can be one of the most powerful cozy items that we ever make. The shawl has long been an object for intentional crafting – a prayer shawl, which can be adapted to your own unique religious / spiritual traditions is something that is specifically intended to bring comfort and care to the recipient. You infuse it with your love and good intentions and share that through each stitch. Then the person who receives the gift receives that love and literally wraps it around themselves. And you can take that approach to making yourself cozy through crafting, by making a shawl just for yourself.

 Tip: If you really don’t see yourself even using a shawl, you can crochet yourself a blanket instead. Large shawl patterns even work as lap blankets.

A Note on Prayer Shawls

We’ve talked about prayer shawls a lot in recent posts so I won’t go into that more here but check out this post for a good starting point:

define prayer shawl

The post shares a lot about what prayer shawls are. Moreover, it links to 40 knit and crochet prayer shawl patterns. Okay, now back to getting cozy with your own crochet shawl …

What Is Cozy For You in Knitting and Crochet?

First, let’s explore a few questions about what feels cozy to you in crochet. Consider the following:

  • What fiber immediately comes to mind when you think of “cozy”?
  • Which colors would you like to be wrapped in to get cozy?
  • What yarn weight is going to feel the most cozy wrapped around your shoulders?
  • How large or small does a knit or crochet shawl need to be for you to feel like it’s truly cozy?
  • Is there anything else that your knit or crochet shawl needs to feel cozy?

Picking a Cozy Knit or Crochet Shawl Pattern

With the answers to those questions in mind, it is time to pick a crochet shawl pattern. The prayer shawl patterns we’ve rounded up previously are a great place to start:

cozy knitting and crochet

How to Maximize COZY in Knit and Crochet Shawl Making

Once you have the crochet pattern in hand and you get your supplies ready, it is time to craft your knit or crochet shawl. To do this, you want to really infuse your space with utmost coziness.

Consider this a very special gift of comfort to yourself and take it seriously when crafting it.

Making Your Space Cozy

Let’s consider some of the ways that you might want to make your craft space more cozy:

  • How can you alter the lighting in a way that facilitates crafting but is still cozy?
  • What is the coziest spot in your house for knitting or crochet?
  • What can you add to your craft area to make it cozier? Pillows, blankets, a space heater, a cute rug, a pot of tea, an essential oil diffuser, candles … what is going to be most cozy for you?
  • What sounds do you want to hear to feel cozy as you craft? Find cozy music or background noise or silence.
  • What else do you need to make your space cozy?
cozy crafting

Craft as Therapy: Being Intentional and Cozy as You Stitch

As you sit down to work on this shawl, take a moment to really settle in. Relax your shoulders, feeling them drop down away from your ears, creating space in your body. Take a few slow, deep breaths. Remember that your intention is to be as cozy as possible. Really give yourself the chance to take this crafting time slowly so that it is as comfy as possible.

As you work on this crochet shawl, you might want to use prayer shawl techniques to craft an intention into each stitch. It may be as simple as repeating the affirmation, “I deserve to be cozy.” Other affirmations include “I am cozy,” “cozy is comfy” and “crafting keeps me cozy.”

When the knit or crochet shawl is complete, it can be helpful to do some kind of closing ritual for the shawl before you begin to wear it. Here is an example of such a ritual:

  • Light a candle and take a moment to relax. 
  • Lay the crochet shawl out in front of you. Touch it and really take in the tactile sensation.
  • Give gratitude to the shawl for allowing you the time and space to embrace coziness while crafting.
  • Set an intention that each time you wear the shawl you will be reminded the respite of being cozy.
  • Ask the shawl to share in your intention. (Yes, I know, this can feel cheesy, but these rituals can be so empowering if we can get past how cheesy they feel!)
  • Say your affirmation – “I deserve cozy” or “I embrace cozy”, for example.
  • Place the shawl around your shoulders and revel in the coziness for as long as you can.
  • Blow out the candle.

Try to remember this ritual each time that you wear that shawl. You don’t have to repeat the ritual (though you can) but just take a moment to reflect upon it and remember how good cozy can feel.

We want to know what cozy means for you in crafting? Share a cozy knit or crochet experience with us in the comments or on social media!

You Might Also Like These COZY Knit and Crochet Patterns:

cozy crochet and knit ponchos
stitch for yourself

Also, learn about crochet and knitting as occupational therapy.

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Marly Bird

The One and Only, Marly

Marly is a knitwear and crochet designer (and yarn addict) that is here to help you learn how to knit and crochet in a way that's fun and approachable.

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