How handcrafting represents a remedy for winter blues

Posted 27/10/2022 in Tips for Crafters

Lately, there seems to be a lot of negativity around as winter approaches,  and uncertainty about the future. We can help artists and crafters to prepare for many eventualities with craft business insurance but unfortunately it won’t stop winter in its tracks.

So what can be done…?

Perhaps rising prices will force everyone to return to a simpler life and there will be a higher demand for quality, hand made items which last longer, mean more to us and keep us really warm… Living a simpler life doesn’t have to mean living a dreary, joyless existence. Having one beautiful, quality, handmade jumper that lasts us for ages can be a lot more meaningful and special than buying new clothes every week that won’t.

Some ideas for winter wellness

On the subject of facing the winter, the other day I found an independent document called the ‘World Happiness Report’ which has been published annually for the past ten years. It ranks the inhabitants of the world’s countries based on well-being indicators. As I read it I was struck by the very high levels of well-being of one country in particular. This country has ranked in the top three in the world for happy inhabitants every year since the report was first published, ten years ago.  

Can you guess which one…?

Denmark. According to this report, the Danes are a very happy bunch. Strange, as the Danish winters are known to be long and dark, you’d think that there would be a high incidence of SAD in the population. Not so. The Danes fight the darkness with their best weapon: hygge (pronounced ‘hoo-gah’). There’s no direct translation for the word hygge in English, in fact it takes several English words to capture everything that hygge brings.

‘Hygge’ comprises a mood of coziness and “comfortable conviviality” with feelings of wellness and contentment. In essence, it describes a warm atmosphere: enjoying the good things in life with good people. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge, for example, and there’s nothing more hygge than sitting around with friends and family by the fire, drinking mulled wine, wrapped in knitted blankets, discussing life.

You don’t even need an open fire, as a hygge approach to life can be applied anywhere, and to simple, everyday things. It cannot be experienced alone though because one of its necessary components is a feeling or atmosphere of warmth and friendliness.

This ‘hygge’ aspect of Danish culture means that daily activities are considered to be meaningful and special, for example, enjoying a relaxing dinner together after a stressful day at work. Furthermore, taking a step back from technology and choosing to value the little things in life by making efforts to create a cozy, welcoming atmosphere.

It seems to me that the Danish have cracked their approach to winter and made it something to be enjoyed together rather than something to be endured. Taking out craft business insurance will take a lot of uncertainty out off the approaching winter, and in fact, handicrafts are a great way to bring the best out of the season.

Handicrafts such as quilting, knitting, crochet and candle-making offer a perfect way to face the darker winter months, making something really special out of the season and promoting family and social bonding. Having a box of home made throws and blankets by your sofa to put around your loved ones’ shoulders while you snuggle up together on a winter evening is downright hygge! 

Knitters in Scotland know all about this. Since the 15th Century they have been spending long dark winters making cosy woollen wear. Nowadays, the beautiful array of patterns and styles of hand knitted products originating from Scotland brings us timeless, warm, durable, comfortable items that are really special. There is such a variety of Scottish wool on offer that knitters have a huge variety of textures and possibilities and the resulting hand knitted items make really desirable gifts out of everyday items. Who wouldn’t want a thick, cable knitted Arran scarf or a genuine Fair Isle sweater for Christmas?

Although buying a special sweater might be a one time purchase, crafting together doesn’t have to cost much. Quilts can be made of material from old clothes that are no longer needed and wool can be purchased cheaply from many charity shops. Children too can get involved and learn a new skill that they can take into adulthood and in this way, skills are passed down from one generation to the next. For the older generation, time goes faster when you are enjoying yourself and children will sit still for long periods doing handicrafts.

Starting a community knitting or quilt making group is a great way to get people involved together, doing something worthwhile. And, apart from giving people the feeling of satisfaction that comes from finishing a piece, doing crafts together helps isolated people find the warmth of friendship and a sense of family and community. Doing a community craft activity is also a great way to have an excuse to check in an elderly neighbour without making it too obvious that you are doing so.

More good news is that the very act of knitting, quilting or crocheting chases away the winter blues, as it’s calming and therapeutic and a great accompaniment to a good chat. Anyone can get involved and you’re never too old to learn either. Older people actually benefit physically from knitting and crochet as it helps with digital mobility for arthritis. Added to that, the resulting cosy garments bring joy and they make the everyday that much more special. It’s a win-win!

Working together and making everyday life and everyday items purposeful, attractive and special is part of what being a crafter is all about. Our wonderful hand crafters at Ian Wallace Craft Insurance are helping to make life special for the rest of us and we’ll continue to provide them with the very best craft business insurance so that they can face the future with confidence, even when conditions are adverse!