Crafting Through the Crud

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Staying creative during stressful times is important and finding the right project for the situation is essential. I’m sharing my recent experiences, how crafting through the crud helped, and how you can do the same.

Boy howdy, September has been one cruddy month. Just so we are all on the same page here’s the technical and highly refined definition of this slang term…


One of the most useful words used for ‘Crap’. Kids use it so the high-strung parents won’t throw a fit.
CRUD! My gerbil just ate my term paper!” 
“What the crud is going on?” 
“This is just crudtacular.”

The Urban Dictionary

Crudtacular is now my favorite word ever.

Autumn watercolor card, paint, knitted pig head, and granny squares.  Crafting Through the Crud.
Crafting Through the Crud

Crafting in the Emergency Room

The first week of September was a super unpleasant one for my poor mother. She has degenerative disc disease in her lower back and it was causing severe pain to radiate down her right hip. I’ve never seen my mother in so much pain and frankly it scared me. She ended up having to go to the emergency room twice in one week and thankfully she is so so much better.

Emergency Room

I found that I needed something that would truly occupy my mind while we were there. I started a new pig pattern from Little Cotton Rabbits. My four-year-old nephew has asked for one for Christmas and I am excited to make it for him. These patterns take my full attention and it was just what I needed. While my mother laid in the ER bed I was able to be right by her side the whole time.

I felt that focusing on the pattern actually helped me stay calm for her. Being in a hospital for any reason produces anxiety and seeing my mother in so much pain was truly horrible. Being able to be there for her while keeping myself relatively calm was not just beneficial for me but more importantly for her. Crafting through the crud was just what the doctor ordered, at least for me, that is.

Bag from Buttonjar Studio

Crafting While Cruddy

The old adage “When it rains, it pours” has never been truer for our family. During the midst of all of my poor momma’s issues, I was having one of my own. During a routine dental visit my dentist accidentally caused some pretty serious damage. It caused a domino effect that left me with a nasty infection, pain, and lots of medication. It led to a traumatic endodontic procedure that ultimately failed. And finally to have surgery to correct it all on September 16th.

During this time I haven’t been able to knit at all. I have felt so poorly that the thought of having to concentrate on a pattern was just too much. But my need for creativity was still there. I was able to crochet one little granny square and that felt like a great accomplishment.

One of my favorite things to do, besides playing with yarn, is doodling, sketching, and watercoloring. I’m not very good at it but I find the process extremely soothing and untaxing to my beleaguered brain.

Autumn Watercolor Leaves

I absolutely adore Shayda Campbell’s tutorials on YouTube. She has so many wonderful videos that are perfect for beginners. Her style and friendly demeanor make her so pleasant to watch. I decided to play around with her Back to School Bullet Journal Setup and Every Watercolor Leaf You’ll Ever Need AUTUMN EDITION. Oh I have had so much fun with these.

Doodling, drawing, and painting are such calming activities for me. They don’t require the same type of focus and concentration that knitting and crocheting do for some reason. My brain feels flowy and soft rather than focused and sharp. This has been exactly what I needed while I’ve felt so darn cruddy.


Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colour Paint Compact Set, Set of 14, Half Pans

Princeton Velvetouch Artiste, Mixed-Media Brush for Acrylic, Watercolor & Oil, Series 3950 Liner Luxury Synthetic, Size 10/0

Princeton Velvetouch Artiste, Mixed-Media Brush for Acrylic, Watercolor & Oil, Series 3950 Long Round Luxury Synthetic, Size 2

Strathmore 105-150 Watercolor Cards, Full Size Cold Press, 10 Cards & Envelopes

Sakura Pigma Micron pen 003 black felt tip artist drawing pens – 8 pen set

This post contains affiliates links and at no cost to you I may earn a teeny tiny commission if you choose to purchase them. Please know that I only recommend products I use and love! Thank you for supporting Le Petit Saint Crochet!

How to Choose a Project for the Crud

Project Mobility

One important criteria to consider when choosing a project for a stressful and cruddy situation is whether or not it is mobile. A watercolor project might not be a good option if you need to be somewhere like an emergency room. You will have little room to spread out and it could get in the way of the medical professionals. But a small sketchpad and a tin of pencils will easily fit into a purse or backpack.

In my humble opinion, this is one of the reasons I love crocheting and knitting so much. It’s (typically) portable and doesn’t need a lot of tools and equipment. I keep my projects in my adorable project bag (from the Buttonjar Studio) at all times so I can pick it up and go at a moment’s notice. Also some projects like the Harmony Blanket pattern from Attic 24 is something I could work on when I need a less focused activity.

You can read more about my Harmony Blanket and a little about the history of the humble granny square here.

The Right Project for the Crud

Finding the right project for times when you are stressed, ill, filled with anxiety, or recovering from surgery is important. I am a firm believer that keeping the hands busy helps the mind to rest. For that reason, I truly think that crafting through the crud helps my body to heal. I subscribe to the belief that our bodies are not disconnected pieces but truly one perfectly designed highly connected organism. If I can distract myself, even if just for a little while, and create something beautiful, I know I’m doing some good for myself.

Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. Do you need a project that will require intense concentration? Will focusing on something like a challenging pattern help you get through whatever situation you find yourself in? If yes, what types of projects would that be? Knitting? Crocheting? Embroidery?
  2. Are you in need of a creative project that requires less focus? Do you need something that you can simply do without needing to concentrate? What types of projects do you enjoy that allow your brain to rest?
  3. Will your cruddy situation cause you to have to be mobile and leave your home? Are the supplies for this project easily portable?

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  1. Okay the watercolor is too much! You are so talented! If I was going through all this I would just watch TV for a year and ask for people to bring me things.

  2. What a bummer! You must be so grateful to have a creative outlet to distract yourself through the “crud”. Your watercolour work is gorgeous–I’ve been admiring it on your Insta feed–I don’t think you’re giving yourself enough credit! I’m not much of a crafter, sadly. I really want to get into sewing or dabble with calligraphy. I’ve tried knitting, but never completed a project. I mostly read and write.

  3. I totally agree with keeping the hands busy, they say idle hands are, well, you know? You’re very talented! I have quilts I have made that remind me of a period I was going through. Now, I am trying to make quilts without going through something, just me being grateful to quilt again. Thank you for sharing. oxo

    1. I have a very difficult time sitting still if my hands aren’t busy! Isn’t it amazing that creative projects are physical reminders of the people who made them and different times in our own lives?

  4. What a tough time you have had! So sorry to hear this. I have been so busy with harvest I have kind of out of the loop and didnt realize you had all this dental work done. Praying you have found full recovery! Btw…I always have to have at least a couple wip going on too. And they do help a bunch in times of stress. People who aren’t crafters dont get that but it really is relaxing.

  5. You are an encouraging woman! Keeping your chin up and staying positive while making something for someone else! You kill me with your humble opinion about your watercolor work! It’s beautiful!💕

  6. Such good ideas! I love watercolor but I haven’t taken the time to do any in so long. Yours is beautiful and has inspired me to pull mine out again. Thanks

  7. Oh, wow and I thought your crocheting was talented. You amaze me Elise! I’m crafty but not like this ha ha. I’m so sorry you have been dealing with so much and do hope everything is on the mend.

  8. I absolutely cannot craft through times of stress and anxiety. Which I find very upsetting as in theory I have lots of crafty hobbies. I have a chronic illness initiated in part due to stress from a number of sources – none of which has dissipated over 3 years; only added to. I have tiny windows where I am able to make things, but usually am unable. A little of this is due to pain and discomfort but mostly crafting does not work for me in stressful times which is just a part of my life these days. I am both unable to do it, plus it leads to feelings of higher stress which leads to worse physical symptoms. To relax I have to be doing nothing at all. Doing stuff always stresses me out!

    The slight exception to this is basic doodling. This leads to good project ideas sometimes but which I am then unable to fulfil. I spend a lot of time watching crafts on YouTube or people talking about them. I have a very vicarious crafting life! I hope that this does change at some point but as I have little autonomy over all the stress and how it impacts I don’t see it happening soon.

    You have indeed been having a horrible time, anything dental is horrendous and one of the worst kinds of pain there is. I hope that is all permanently resolved for you. I know back pain is the very worst too and wish your mother lots of comfort and ease from the pain. I am glad that crafting helped you. I love your designs and your sketches are lovely too. I also watch Shayda, she’s lovely isn’t she? I find her channel very relaxing and interesting to me to watch.

    Hope all is back on track now for you and your family and the crud has dissipated. I am so grateful for the interactions I have with crafting online. They make a huge positive impact for me, even if I am unable to join in. Thank you.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience, Sara! It’s great that you’re finding a way to enjoy crafting even when you can’t physically do it yourself. That is one of the best things about the internet and Youtube! Hope you get some crafting time in soon! And yes, my mom and I are doing much much better right now!!

  9. This is so true! Keeping busy hands really helps! So thankful that you (and your mom) are finally getting relief!