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Crochet & Knitting Therapy: Crafting in the Hospital

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When a planned hospital stay turned into an unexpected health emergency, crochet & knitting became my therapy. Find the projects that helped me cope during an incredibly stressful time.

We knew that our son was going to be in the hospital for about a week.

What we didn’t know was that within 48 hours he would be transferred from the epilepsy monitoring unit to the cardiac floor at Duke University Hospital.

Having two crafting projects to work on helped me stay calm when everything was anything but.

Crocheting as therapy.

Packing for the Hospital

One of my biggest pet peeves is having to sit still without something to keep my hands occupied. For that reason I brought two different crafting projects for the hospital.

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The first was a big crochet blanket project. After my recent post about the 7 Best FREE Granny Square Patterns, my thoughts were all about the grannies.

Crochet Therapy

I found the Granny Goes Large pattern from Sandra Paul of the blog and YouTube channel, Cherry Heart. Her pattern is a wonderful combination of a large mindless main section and a more detailed border.

Needing a project that wasn’t going to require a lot of mental effort was my number one criteria, and I knew this one would be the perfect crochet therapy.

I had plenty of leftover yarn from my Harmony Square blanket and am still in love with the color combination. So I packed it all up and worried just a little that I was bringing too much yarn.

Yarn Brand & Colors

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Stylecraft Special DK has become one of my favorites for crocheting blankets. It is extremely affordable and comes in eighty-one gorgeous colors.

For my Granny Goes Large blanket I used the colors:

I added the color rounds randomly with no rhyme or reason, whatever struck my fancy at the moment.

I’m so in love with this pattern that as soon as I finish the border, I’m going to start another one.

Crochet Therapy

Our son’s hospital stay had been in the works for several months. He has had epilepsy since he was a very young child, but within the last year his physical health had taken a downward turn.

His epileptologist wanted to run some tests to see why he was experiencing new and concerning symptoms and the hospital was the safest place to do them.

Within two days of my son’s hospital stay, things took a very unexpected turn. The doctors and nurses noticed that his heart rate was decreasing fairly regularly. They were a little concerned, but felt they could handle the situation on the neurology floor.

Cardiac Care

By the second night his heart was stopping for an abnormally long period of time. Although he didn’t look like he was in distress, the monitors warned us every few minutes that things were not ok. In fact, after his heart stopped beating for twelve seconds straight, they knew he needed more specific care.

When the room filled with doctors, nurses and a rescue team, I knew things were serious. Once they began placing pads on his chest to shock his heart back to a normal rhythm, my legs began to shake uncontrollably.

Thankfully his heart started back on his own, but the doctors felt it was safer to keep the pads on his chest and a defibrillator in his room at all times.

After six days of monitoring, the experts at Duke University Hospital determined that one of his epilepsy medications was actually the main culprit. The other was a condition that causes his heart rate to drop regularly.

He is now on a heart monitor at home. We are keeping a diary of his symptoms so the doctors can determine if he has the benign version of his condition or the type that will need intervention like a pacemaker.

Thankfully we were able to reduce his seizure medications because his EEG looked fantastic. And many of his symptoms all along were cardiac related and not neurological.

We are hoping that we get to the bottom of it all and have our boy back to himself very soon. He is still needing assistance walking because he became very weak in the hospital.

Knitting Therapy

While I mostly worked on the granny square blanket, there were times I needed something a little more challenging to distract me.

I purchased the Lucky Sunflower Mitts pattern on Etsy after seeing the gorgeous ones, my talented friend, Julie from the Button Jar Studio had knitted for a friend.

Photo from Julie Cashin from the Buttonjar Studio

They are so incredibly gorgeous and wanted to knit a pair for myself.

I actually learned the Magic Loop technique for knitting in the round and I actually prefer it to DPNs (double point needles).

But I haven’t found the right yarn for this pattern. I’m currently using the Cascade Heritage, which is the correct weight yarn for the project, but the floats are showing through the back.

Photo from Julie Cashin from the Buttonjar Studio

I read some of the project notes on Ravelry from other knitters who have made the project and several mentioned needing a springier fingering weight yarn.

So I will be experimenting with that because I need these mittens in my life.

Photo from Julie Cashin from the Buttonjar Studio

If you are ever in need of a new project bag, check out Julie’s gorgeous shop. I have one of her bags and it is incredibly well made. You will also find scissor fobs, enamel pins and needle/hook gauges.

Everything Julie makes is beautiful.

ButtonJar Studio Shop

Crafting as Therapy

Because of Covid restrictions, I was the only person allowed to be with my son his entire stay. I never left him room, except to go to the bathroom. Even when I took a shower, I felt that I could still hear the monitors ringing in my head.

I cannot even begin to imagine how I would have coped if it hadn’t been for my crochet and knitting therapy. It kept my hands busy, so my mind could rest a little.

When I needed a project that required no mental effort, I reached for the granny square blanket. When I needed something to really distract me, I grabbed my knitting project.

Each one satisfied a need. They both helped me deal with the stress in their own simple ways.

I truly believe that crocheting and knitting are the best hobbies. They help calm my nerves as well as being completely portable.

Thank You!

So many of you reached out to me on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. I tried to respond to every message and comment, but if I missed yours, please accept my sincerest apologies.

I truly believe that crafters are the warmest and kindest people from all over the world.

So thank you for all your support and sincere well wishes.

Happy Stitching.

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  1. Best wishes for your son’s recovery! And a big thank you for inspiring me to try the Magic Loop! I hate dpns!

  2. Oh, my heart is aching for all that you and your family has gone though. How terrifying. Thank heaven the worst is behind you. That being said…you craft beautifully while under stress. Please take care of yourself and give that child a hug!!

    1. Thank you so very much! It was definitely not a fun experience. It was wonderful to be able to crochet and knit and distract myself from the stress! ❤️❤️❤️

  3. Wow What a story. I work at a local yarn shop in Mebane NC about 20 minutes from Duke hospital.We accept phone orders. My step daughter works at Duke pharmacy and she would be able to hand deliver your purchases to you. If you are in need of any yarn or chrochet/knitting supplies The Twisted Knitter in Mebane will be able to help you out. Ask for Deborah Squires and I will make sure you get your order. Hope your son progresses in a positive direction. Keep the positive thoughts going y’all are in great hands at Duke.

    1. Thank you so very much! We drive right through Mebane to get to Duke! We are home now, but will be following up with his doctors there! Thanks for letting me know about the shop! Would love to stop in one of these days! 🧶🧶🧶

  4. I will pray for your son for his continuing recovery. The knitting and crocheting projects were a God-send for you. Take care and God bless.