Monday, November 30, 2015

Hook to Heal by Kathryn Vercillo

I am so excited to be able to present you the newest book of Kathryn Vercillo "Hook to Heal"! 

Q: What is Hook to Heal?

A: Hook to Heal is my 2015 book of creativity exercises that all use crochet to help people improve their lives in myriad ways. There are exercises that help with building self-esteem, letting go of negative habits, improving relationships and finding balance. Some of the exercises are tangible, some are abstract, but they are all designed to inspire people to use the art and creativity of crochet to enhance their own quality of life.

Q: What is the format of the book?

A: The book begins with an introduction that explains the purpose of the book and how to use it. I recommend a set of tools that will assist you through the journey, although I encourage everyone to use this book in the way that best suits him or her. Each chapter is about one topic, such as building self-esteem, and it begins with an introduction to the topic that includes my own experiences with the issue and sometimes my graduate school research into the topic. Then you’ll find the exercises for that chapter. Each exercise is explained in brief, then in detail, and includes tips and sometimes examples. The book is designed to be used from start to finish but each exercise does stand on its own as well.

Q: Why aren’t there any photos in this book?

A: Great question! I originally intended to have photos throughout the book, but through a long editing process decided not to include them after all. This book is not intended to teach crochet (although it shares a list of resources for that) and it is not a book of crochet patterns. It’s a creativity book; and all of my own personal favorite creativity books are text-only or text-rich books. (There is a list of these recommended books in Hook to Heal, one example is The Artist’s Way series by Julia Cameron.) I came to feel, in part, that including my own photos of the process could actually discourage some people from really delving deeper with their own process. Whether or not we want to, we tend to compare ourselves to others, and I didn’t want people to look at my examples and see them as a “right” way to do this work, because the only right way is the way that you’re inspired to approach it.

Q: What is your favorite exercise in the book?

A: There is no way that I could choose! Each one is designed to help you work on something different. In fact some exercises completely contradict each other – one will encourage you to de-stash your yarn, another to go buy new yarn. That’s because in life we require different things at different times. I do want to say that
I’ve worked through every single exercise in this book, not only when I designed the exercise but again later when I needed to use them for my own creative process, and I fully believe that each exercise can help you at the right time. Not every exercise is going to be right for every single person but hopefully the range here will allow everyone to find something that they need at any given time.

Q: How is Hook to Heal different from your previous book, Crochet Saved My Life?

A: There are definitely some similarities between the two books. They are both about how crochet can help you through various difficulties in life. They both share portions of my own personal story. And they both come directly from the heart of my own experience. Crochet Saved My Life also shared stories from other women, and it’s more focused on how crochet helps with mental and physical health conditions. In contrast, Hook to Heal is a set of exercises (not stories), and it’s about working through everyday stressors and difficulties without a specific emphasis on health issues. They are complementary to each other.

Q: Where can we buy the book?

A: Hook to Heal is an independently published labor of love (and hard work). If that’s something that you believe in, then the best place to purchase the book is through Createspace, because that allows me to get the most back in royalties: However, not everyone will want to use that channel for various reasons, and that’s totally fine. The book is also available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle versions.

Kathryn generously shares one of her exercises from the book

Mindfulness Crochet Exercise #5: Increased Breathing Triangle

In this exercise, you will crochet a triangle and as you do so your breathing will get deeper and deeper.

First you’ll start your triangle. You can use any simple crochet triangle pattern of your choosing. Here is one example of making a basic crochet triangle:

Ch 2, sc in second chain from hook, turn.

Chain 1, turn, increase, chain 1, turn. NOTE: increase means that you crochet two stitches in the single stitch that is there.

Now for each subsequent row, you will increase in the first and the last stitch and will just sc in all other stitches. NOTE: increase means that you crochet two stitches in each of the first and the last stitches of the row and one stitch in every other stitch across each row.

The breathing part is what brings you to meditation. For each odd numbered row, you will inhale throughout the row. For each even numbered row, you will exhale. So you’ll inhale as you start the triangle, then you will exhale on row two, inhale on row three, exhale on row four, etc. You want to start the breath on each turn and continue it all the way through to the end of the row. You will always be exhaling for a beat longer than you inhaled on the previous row. Eventually, you will reach a row where you can no longer exhale or inhale to the end of the row. That’s when the mindfulness exercise is complete. At this stage, you could frog the work. Alternatively, you could finish off and over time you’ll have a large set of triangle motifs that will remind you of your meditation progress. Turn them into a blanket or wall art display!
About the author

Hook to Heal is authored by Kathryn Vercillo, the blogger behind Crochet Concupsicence ( and the author of Crochet Saved My Life ( She writes regular columns for Interweave Crochet print magazine and Happily Hooked digital magazine. She also writes regularly about crochet health for Lion Brand blog, does tutorials for Red Heart Yarn and is a Craftsy crochet blogger. 


handmade by amalia said...

What an interesting book, Maya. I'll look it up.
Happy December,

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

Very interesting. I just assumed the book would have pictures. They say most people breathe very shallow and are not filling their lungs properly which of course means you aren't getting enough oxygen to your brain, so breathing exercises are a very good thing, no matter how or where you do them. :)

Alhana said...

I agree, very interesting. Never heard of a crafting book without pictures before! This one looks different. I'll look it up too.
Thank you.

Maya Kuzman said...

Thank you Amalia! Happy December too!

Maya Kuzman said...

Likewise Tammy! But I think Kathryn feels right that people might get discouraged by pictures by comparing their work with them. As for the breathing - I often find myself shallowly breathing so I am going to use this exercise to work on that.

Maya Kuzman said...

I am glad you like it Alhana! Thank you for visiting!

CrochetBlogger said...

Thank you so, so much for sharing this book and for all of your ongoing support. It means a lot. I really hope that people are going to get something out of this.


Maya Kuzman said...

For you - always! It has been the greatest of pleasures and I hope it get its deserved attention and success!