Chronic Illness And Crochet

I’ve mentioned before that I have a chronic illness. Today, after a conversation in one of my crochet groups, I’m going to go into a bit more detail of how this works for me.

I have chronic pancreatitis. To those not familiar with this illness it’s an extremely painful condition, for me its included several hospital stays, multiple operations and many, many a night spent in unimaginable pain. One of the things that takes my mind off what I endure daily is crocheting! I’ve crocheted at night when the pain stops me sleeping, in the day waiting by the phone for test results, in doctors offices waiting for appointments, in hospital clinics waiting for CT scans and MRI’s and of course, during my hospital stays.


I’ve spoken to so many people who use crocheting as a therapy, whether it be for anxiety, depression or like me, for a chronic illness. Working on your crochet project takes you away. It submerges you into a world of soft yarn between your fingers, a place where you are counting your stitches endlessly which quietens all the other thoughts in your mind AND it gives you a beautiful work of art as an end result. Crocheting can be a lifeline for some people, its something you look forward to, ill or not. It can be time on your own, a break from the hum-drum normality’s of the day, a release from whatever it is you are going through. A positive to the negative. An escape.

If you are new to crochet or have never tried it I implore you to give it a go. Making a granny square was my first time picking up a hook and it was on a 4 day road trip to go see Brian Wilson in concert. I’ve knitted for years but my step mom crochets and it always fascinated me. I’d sit watching her at night in front of the tv and somehow she’d magically whip up these beautiful blankets with her fingers going at lightening speed!! She inspired me, gave me an idea. I’d not long got out of hospital, had a 10cm (yes you read that right!) cyst on my pancreas, was on a lot of pain meds, could hardly eat, had zero energy and was NOT looking forward to sitting in a car for hours at a time wriggling round in pain. I made plans to learn a new skill, to have something to take my mind off the impending car journey and the uncomfortableness that was going to accompany it.  I ordered a hook set off eBay and with yarn in hand and youtube on my phone I not only enjoyed the trip but I learnt a skill that was soon to become a passion. I found my escape. 😊

Here is the basic granny square pattern. This tiny little square was the start of something big for me. The original one grew to over 5ft, it now envelopes my daughter as we speak!

Granny Square
Rd1. Ch4 and sl st to first ch. Ch2, 2dc, ch3, 3dc, ch3, 3dc ch3, 3dc, ch3 all into the circle joining to top of first ch2 with a sl st. Sl st across the next 2 dcs. (4 sets of 3 dcs)
Rd2. Ch2, 2 dc, ch3, 3dc in first ch sp, ch1, 3dc in next ch sp, ch3, 3dc, repeat around and join with a sl st. Sl st across the remaining 2 dc.
Rd3. Ch2, 2 dc, ch3, 3dc in first ch sp, ch1, 3 dc in next ch sp, ch1, 3dc, ch3, 3dc in next ch sp, repeat around and join with a sl st. Sl st across the remaining 2 dc.
Rd4. Ch2, 2dc, ch3, 3dc makes corner, ch1, 3 dc in next chsp, to corner, 3dc, ch3, 3dc. Repeat around and join with a sl st to the first ch2.

Here you can either fasten off and join all your eventual squares together or you can keep going and just make the square bigger and bigger!! It’s the same pattern for every round. 3dc in each chsp on the sides and 3 dc, ch3, 3 dc in each corner. Simples!!




  1. I too have a chronic condition. I had life n death surgery 10 years ago to relieve the compression of my spinal cord. My chances of survival weren’t great- but I made it!!! I’m here!!!! The compression caused lots of nerve damage and therefore pain. Crochet and knitting are a huge part of my pain management- some days just a few stitches…some days a huge part of a project but everyday something positive to think on!!! Who shall I bless with this blanket or sweater or if I know I work love and prayers into each and every stitch. Bless you my friend as you make a huge difference in this online community!


  2. I guess lots of us use crochet to take our minds of pain. I often crochet when I’m waiting for my migraine mess to kick in. I also crochet to switch off especially after parents evenings at school.


  3. Crocheting is the best way to take your mind off of things and truly relax. You described it so well – the feel of the softness of the yarn, the counting and soothing repetitive stitches. I look to my hooks every time I need to take a break from all of life’s troubles and woes. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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