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  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • April 2017
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Because handmade matters

The proverb, “April showers bring forth May flowers” was first recorded in 1886, but its origins can be traced back as far as 1557. A gentleman by the name of Thomas Tusser created a collection of writings that he called A Hundred Good Points of Husbandry. It’s there that you will find this childlike rhyme of sorts; carrying a much greater message to the reader. It’s a reminder to us all that even the most unpleasant of things — in this case the heavy rains of April — can bring about the most enjoyable of things like the abundance and beauty of flowers. As the poem unfolds, we are also reminded that it is too a lesson in patience: one that remains valid to this very day!

In this long ago vision, we can liken the rain to depression and anxiety with the mounting stress of today’s modern times. That’s when a much needed break with a cup of hot tea, a hook and a ball of yarn can make a difference in the fast-paced lifestyle we all seem to gravitate to in today’s society. A cup of tea itself can be soothing to the soul but paired with yarn and the repetitive motion of crocheting or knitting in a quiet corner can bring me from total chaos to mental clarity in a matter of minutes most days. Just touching the yarn and being surrounded by all the beautiful colors can slow down my blood pressure, bringing me back to a calm state of mind once again. Knitting or crocheting gives people pause — a “be still” moment that lends itself to a healing state of tranquility.

Six interesting facts about how knitting or crocheting can affect your body, mind and spirit:

  • It gives you a sense of pride
  • It has the same benefits as meditation
  • It alleviates symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression
  • It helps improve motor functions
  • It slows cognitive decline
  • It helps prevent arthritis and tendinitis

The act of crocheting and knitting stimulates almost the whole brain at the same time. First off, it stimulates the frontal lobe, which guides the rewards processing response along with focus and planning. Secondly, it affects the parietal lobe, which handles all sensory information and spatial navigation of the project at hand. Thirdly, it works to drive the occipital lobe, which processes all visual information to the brain. And lastly, the temporal lobe, which is involved in storing memories and interpreting language and meaning along with the cerebellum, which coordinates precision and the precise timing of movement in general.

The act of crocheting and knitting can also be used to help people with diseases, such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and parkinson’s to improve their motor functions, helping to improve their fine motor skills while distracting them from other painful symptoms of the disease.

Overall, it’s a great way to destress while keeping the brain healthy and thriving as you age.

Why does handmade matter?

The handmade revolution is being seen as the new American manufacturing, giving hope to retiring millennials, mothers with young children and handicapped or disabled individuals who couldn’t get a traditional job due to time availability or pain restraints that have kept them at home more than at work.

Handmade is bringing people closer together, enabling them to give their passions a name — a purpose. Chuck Klosterman said, “Art and love are the same thing: it’s the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you.” Our feelings and sensitivities drive the art that you see in the world around us. No two hands can make exactly the same piece of art twice, making each piece one-of-a-kind!

Handcrafted items are genuine articles. They bring in the environment around them like joy, honor and respect of the society in which we live, work and play. Every maker can be seen through its unique stitchery, a specific style or technique, distinctive brush strokes or specially blended colorways.

Everything is more beautiful when it’s made from the heart! It’s the gift of handmade that makes the difference to a person who can’t make it themselves, or chooses to embody that individual artist’s expertise. Either way, the consumer shift to purchase handmade items or make it themselves has become consistently greater in the last 5 to 10 years. People are beginning to think outside the big box stores and look for something greater than a massed produced item, giving pause to simpler days.

People want to slow down, remembering their grandmas, aunts and other family members who made them something as a child or taught them how to crochet or knit in the comfort of their homes. That is the fever of the do-it-yourself (DIY) resurgence happening all around us today. Relearning an old technique, recycling old clothes from loved ones, finding time to learn something they never had time to do before now — these are just a few of the reasons that handicraft is becoming so prevalent. It’s a consumer shift, a movement where more and more people are finally making time to educate themselves on the value of a handmade item that almost became extinct. We are the next generation of makers making a living, doing what our grandmothers and mothers did at home for their families. 

Tammy Potter

Tammy Potter is the owner/artist/designer of Sisters Unraveled located next door to Beernsten’s Chocolatier, in Historic Downtown Manitowoc on 8th Street. She manages the sisterhood of the boutique, events and classes. She is a mom to twins and wife to a remodeling contractor. She strives to bring about peace and clarity, while aiming to bring about therapeutic change and laughter to everyone she meets!

Sisters Unraveled sells a wide assortment of yarn, organic teas, soaps, pottery, socks, hats, scarves, wraps, purses, jewelry, a vast array of upcycled items, dolls, blankets and so much more.

We work with our community to bring about change for every artist; we support a variety of causes in and out of the store, from The Haven of Manitowoc County to Relay for Life. We are an active OWNER/member of the Clipper City Co-op, as well as volunteer leaders with the Manitowoc County 4H. We believe to make a better world for our children, we need to be able to be actively pursuing a better way of living in our local environment.

Website: sisters unraveled.net
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