Guest Post by: Kathryn Vercillo

how crochet saved my lifeThis week we continue The Healing Power of Sharing Our Stories from Part 1

This is an excerpt from my book, “Crochet Saved My Life,” which explores the mental health benefits of crafting. It is Fran’s story.

Fran went through one of the worst experiences that a human being can go through. She was heartlessly raped by a salesman at a well-known company. The attack was vicious. Her virginity was stolen from her in a violent attack that left her bedridden, with a wound VAC on her spine for the next several months. (A wound VAC, also known as negative-pressure wound therapy, is a sealed dressing with a drainage tube that uses vacuum section to help heal difficult wounds.)

But we all know that the emotional damage of a traumatic situation can be as devastating as the physical wounds and Fran has had a lot of that to deal with. She developed PTSD and suffers from panic attacks and flashbacks. She has to cope with anxiety as well as depression. These emotional conditions are worsened by the fact that she can’t just pause her life to heal but is also dealing with an ongoing high-stress criminal case to bring her attacker to justice.

Fran had always enjoyed crochet as well as other crafts. She used to do very intricate work. She embroidered The Last Supper. She did praying hands out of needlepoint. And with crochet she would work on dainty cross bookmarks, detailed doilies and intricate scarves and large afghans. But things changed after the rape. She could no longer work on such detailed projects. Part of this was physical; she had lower energy, for one thing. But a lot of it was emotional. She says that after the rape she really lost sight of what beauty is and what beautiful things there are in life. It was too hard to find the beauty in those detailed projects anymore. But she knew somewhere deep inside that crochet was healing for her and she wanted to use it therapeutically but she had to change the way she crocheted to adapt to her new mind.

She has found a way to do that. She has focused on crocheting small items with a specific purpose in mind, crafting items to give to others in need. This gives her immediately help with healing because it provides a focus for her hands and mind. And it does long-term psychological good by reminding her that she has the power to help others and no one can take that away from her.

Fran works with Sandie of Crochet Cabana ( to do ongoing charity crochet work. She tries to crochet one square per month to send to Sandie and then Sandie joins the squares together to make blankets and scarves for donation. A recent project that she did was to crochet teal squares because teal is the color for rape victims. Fran says:

“I remember when Sandie had crocheted me a beautiful prayer shawl after I was raped. I cannot put into words the comfort that that shawl has brought and brings to me to this very day. I hope that the teal scarf will do that for some other victim as the prayer shawl has done for me.”

Fran has worked hard to heal herself. She is going to physical therapy and counseling. She is doing the work that she needs to do to get well. She is relying on the help and support of people like Sandie and her former pastor to help her trust people again. And she is using crochet to heal herself and others one stitch, one square, at a time. Eventually Fran hopes to get back to doing her more intricate crochet work. She has her sights set someday on opening an online store to sell her crochet work. Hopefully she will achieve that goal but even if it’s a long time in coming she is helping people right now, today, with her crochet donations.

Click here for The Healing Power of Sharing Our Stories: Part 1

kathryn vercilloAbout the author: Kathryn Vercillo, author of a book called Crochet Saved My Life, which explores all of the mental and physical health benefits of the craft. Kathryn blogs at Crochet Concupiscence.