Work With Your Hands, Build A Community

Reader Contribution by Anna Twitto

Some time ago, I realized I’m addicted to my phone. I would whip it out and check my email or social media… only to remember that I have already done this three minutes ago. I was bored and restless, and my attention span was rapidly shrinking. I could no longer concentrate on a good book or enjoy nature. I was twitchy and stressed. 

Catching myself in time, I decided to do something about this. I decided to keep my phone in my bag when sitting at the park with my kids or waiting for an appointment. To keep my hands busy, I took up crocheting again. I used to crochet a lot, but somehow I never seemed to have the time anymore. Well, it turns out you can do a lot in those odd minutes here and there, instead of watching another cat video!

The satisfaction of working with my hands again was tremendous. I suddenly felt myself returning to a different, calmer, saner mode. My children enjoyed watching me work. My oldest daughter started learning to crochet as well. And there were other unexpected benefits. 

When you are knitting, sewing, crocheting, felting, spinning, or doing any other traditional handiwork, you don’t become detached like you do when staring at a screen. You engage with the world around you, and signal that you are grounded and unhurried. The peaceful, interesting activity invites conversation and serves as a wonderful icebreaker. 

Almost every time I crochet in public, someone looks on and says, “I’d love to learn how to do that!” or “I used to crochet/knit, but have somehow dropped it” or “this reminds me of a lovely blanket someone once made for my baby”. I have been blessed to make new friendships and get on speaking terms with people I only knew by sight, such as the receptionist at the doctor’s and the caretaker at the local play center. Sometimes the conversation engrosses me so much that I forget all about my work, but never mind – I can always go on another time. I’m forming relationships in our new community, which is priceless. 

A little girl remarked to me not long ago that “she has only ever seen grannies knit.” I think, however, that despite the lure of modern gadgetry, more and more people are discovering the pleasure and satisfaction of working with their hands, and creating something beautiful and useful. The artisan crafts, once common in every household, deserve a comeback. Working with fabric, yarn, wood, clay, etc, helps on the road to self-sufficiency, promotes mental health and helps forge personal connections. 

Anna Twitto’s academic background in nutrition made her care deeply about real food and seek ways to obtain it. Anna, her husband and their four children live on the outskirts of a small town in northern Israel. They aim to grow and raise a significant part of their food by maintaining a vegetable garden, keeping a flock of backyard chickens and foraging. Anna’s books are on her Author PageConnect with Anna on Facebook and read more about her current projects on her blogRead all Anna’s Mother Earth News posts here.

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