Knitathon is That Crafty Stitch way to fundraise for MIND charity

That Crafty Stitch's 24-hour knitathon takes place today (September 16)

That Crafty Stitch's 24-hour knitathon takes place today (September 16) - Credit: That Crafty Stitch

I’ve really noticed the change in season over the last week, the slight drop in temperature, the leaves have started changing colour and most certainly the evenings are drawing in.

Summer has come to an end, meaning it’s now time to think about swapping flip flops for actual shoes - the worst part about autumn for me - but also time to relax and slow down a little.

Don’t get me wrong, I love - and very much need- quieter days and more chilled out evenings compared to the constant hustle and bustle of summer life here in Torbay.

Summer is unlimited barbecues, after-work swims and paddleboards along with the long days at work which are so much fun but it does all often lead to the classic ‘burning the candle at both ends’.

So the arrival of autumn is welcomed, along with knitted cardigans, fluffy socks and hot chocolate with all the trimmings.

However, with this among autumnal walks and collecting leaves comes a dramatic change of pace in life for me and I would be lying if I found it an easy process.

Having longed for time off to do ‘nothing’ or to want to go out over a weekend, or even stay away for more than a night at a time - these things are almost impossible throughout the summer - I find it hard to feel focused enough to plan further than a day into the future.

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Life suddenly turns a new kind of ‘quiet’ after a noisy summer with endless things to do.

From what I am currently seeing on social media and from others in passing conversations, I am not the only one that feels the struggle with this transition.

I guess if you have children and have spent the last six weeks being busy day in, day out and then suddenly it's back to school and more moments in the day available for you to sit down for a moment - it’s still a new type of quiet.

Or maybe you have been working non-stop throughout the summer, covering members of your team who have had to isolate, the extra hours, busier days.

For me, it has started to become much quieter.

This is the time we need to take extra care of ourselves and our mental health by ensuring we rest when needed and understand it’s OK to say no to that invitation if you’re feeling exhausted, that it’s OK to not complete your ‘to-do’ list and not revel in the guilt that generally comes with not achieving the tasks we set ourselves to do in a day/week.

Mental health is so diverse and fluid, going through bouts of low points will effect most of us throughout our lives.

There are some days we can feel on top of the world and other times we can feel our lowest.

It’s not always easy to snap out of, you wake the next day and can still feel stuck in a rut.

It’s terrible to write but I have had more friends die from suicide than any illness. Even I have to let that sink in as I write that.

The facts are there, the stress is there, and we all need to make conversation around mental health normal.

Which is why I wanted to write about it in this week’s column, it’s important that this becomes a topic to engage in.

It’s also important to know where to get help or who to talk to in those moments should you need it.

There are some amazing charities and teams out there that can be the shoulder someone may need in their darkest times, and can recommend the next step to getting back to feeling somewhat steady.  

Raising awareness for these projects and charities is equally important, the more of us that know about these help points in life, the better support people can find but also because these projects and charities also need support, they rely on donations, grants and fundraising.

Which brings me very nicely along to tell you about a pretty epic fundraising event taking place in Paignton today (September 16).  

Local creator, knitter, fashion designer, maker Sam Webber is attempting to raise a massive £1,000 for mental health charity MIND.

From 10am today, Sam has started raising money by dedicating the next 24 hours to non-stop knitting!

Yes, that’s right, all day, all night. No sleep, just Sam with her two knitting needles and whole lot of wool! 

Sam created her business, That Crafty Stitch for almost a year. Her mission? To spark creativity in the masses and raise awareness of the positive effect on our mental health and over all well-being that crafting can have.

Sam says that creating and learning new skills not only provides something for your hands to do away from your devices, but it is proven to boost our self esteem.

Also rhythmic crafts such as knitting, crochet and pompom making can help to release serotonin, which is the neurotransmitter in our brains which is responsible for stabilising our mood, creating feelings of happiness, calm and also helps with sleep and digestion.

How incredible is that! With all that in mind a ‘knitathon’ seemed like such a fun fundraising idea, that may go on to inspire others to learn or pick their needles back up again.  

Sam, like so many, has experienced difficulties with her mental health, particularly a period of depression.

A large part of getting past that was finding her passion for crafting again and, in particular, getting back into knitting and starting her own business.

It had been at least 20 years since she had picked up knitting needles, but after some serious YouTubing Sam found herself back in the swing of it and started creating her own patterns and selling kits and supplies online.  

You can donate to Sam via the Just Giving link www.justgiving.com/fundraising/24hrknitathon

Watch her on Instagram Live at www.instagram.com/that_craftystitch 

Good luck Sam! We are all routing for you!