diy: lemon-aid

When life gives you lemons - squeeze the living daylights out of them - and make lemonade.
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Stitch Away Stress

I took some creative liberty and added the (implied) step to the oft quoted proverbial phrase for today’s Make post. In order to get lemonade from lemons, they need to be squeezed for their juice, and then of course, pumped full of sugar. What we’re really talking about here is making the best of something that is, at first blush, less than ideal (sour to sweet). Since April is Stress Awareness Month, we’ll say that lemons represent the sourness of stress, and lemonade represents the sweetness of peace. So how do we get from one to the other? Eat a bunch of sugar? Not quite! The transition from stress to peace involves conscious effort, but lucky for you, the tools are right at hand. 

Knitters and crocheters out there - you likely know the stress-relieving attributes of your craft. In a 2018 survey done by the Craft Yarn Council for their annual Stitch Away Stress campaign (happening all month long), 80% of knitters and crocheters reported that the craft helps them reduce stress and 94% said that it helps them to relax. Wow, right? 

Even though our needles and hooks are likely not very far from grasp most of the time, it is not always an ideal time to take our fiber projects out for a quick stress-buster. If you’re at work and some stressful circumstance pops up, you may not be able to divert your focus and energy to knitting a couple of rows to get calm, or crocheting several stitches for a shift in perspective. What you can do, however, is reach for the next best thing - a stress ball. 

Stress balls come in all shapes and sizes, but their intention is the same - to provide you with easy access to something that you can squeeze the living daylights out of, thereby redirecting some of your stress out of your body and into a ball. It’s a very physical way of channeling your frustrations into something inanimate rather than, oh, I don’t know, say: taking your stress out on the next living being you come across, or bottling your stress up so that it manifests in your body as tight shoulders and clenched jaw; or ignoring the amassing stress wreaking havoc on your cardiovascular/digestive/immune system. 

Back in 2015, Twinkie Chan released two patterns for a Lemon Stress Ball - one for knitters, one for crocheters. Since I did not knit back then, and had no idea about Stress Awareness Month, I only recently come across the patterns. It just so happened that I had all the materials to make a Lemon Stress Ball in my stash, so I figured now was as good a time as any to knit my very own. 

It’s genius - the actual craft of making a stress ball, be it knitting or crocheting, is relaxing - literally stitching away stress. Then, the finished project is small enough to put on your desk, or carry around with you to help relieve stress in those moments where a quick, discreet method of diffusion is required. 

Lemon Stress Ball yarn and needles - knit in the round on DPNs.

Lemon Stress Ball yarn and needles - knit in the round on DPNs.

Took some stuffing out of an old pillow to fill my Lemon Stress Ball.

Took some stuffing out of an old pillow to fill my Lemon Stress Ball.

Ready to squeeze the living daylights out!

Ready to squeeze the living daylights out!

Materials for Lemon Stress Ball (Knit PATTERN)

Check your stash - you're likely to have the materials to make a Lemon Stress Ball without going to the store! Your lemon doesn't have to be yellow and green, play around with colors, stripe it, get fancy or don't, it's completely up to you. Here's the list of materials needed for the knit version of the Lemon Stress Ball. The free pattern can be found here

  • Green worsted weight yarn (or whatever color you want!) Approx 1 yard

  • Yellow worsted weight yarn (or whatever color you want!) Approx 18 yards

  • One set (4) size 7 (4.5mm) DPNs

  • Stitch marker

  • Tapestry needle

  • .6 ozs filling (got any old pillows to repurpose!?)

  • A 'life is sweet, I'm making lemonade' attitude (I added this one)

Stretch Away Stress

The 2018 Craft Yarn Council's knit and crochet Lemon Stress Pillows in all their squeezy glory! (Screenshot of StitchAwayStress.com website)

The 2018 Craft Yarn Council's knit and crochet Lemon Stress Pillows in all their squeezy glory! (Screenshot of StitchAwayStress.com website)

For 2018, Twinkie Chan has released two more patterns (knit and crochet) - this time for the Lemon Pillow. It’s big, it’s bright, and it’s just as squeezable as the Lemon Stress Ball. I didn’t have all the materials for this one, so I’ve yet to make it, but I think I see another use for it already. Not only can it be used to hug in times of stress, or cuddle up with during times of relaxation, it appears that it can also be used as a yoga prop! (I’m always seeing a connection, aren’t I?)

Yoga bolsters are a little firmer and more cylindrically shaped than the lemon pillow, but some poses don’t necessarily need that exact shape or quality to be effective. Bolsters can be used for added comfort in many yoga poses. The one I’m particularly thinking of at the moment is Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani). 

Insert Lemon Pillow under the hips in this pose.

Insert Lemon Pillow under the hips in this pose.

Legs Up the Wall is not only credited as being a pose that helps with anxiety, a common acute/chronic symptom of stress, but it also assists with other stress factors such as high blood pressure, digestive problems, mild depression, insomnia, headache and migraine. This pose can be performed with or without props, but if you do use a prop it’s likely to be a blanket, block or bolster underneath the pelvis. Enter the Lemon Pillow. 

I haven’t tested it, because I haven’t made a Lemon Pillow yet, but my assumption is that the Lemon Pillow (that you stitch away stress to make) can be used under the pelvis while you rest in Legs Up the Wall (a stress-relieving yoga pose). Double effective. 

To read more about how knitting and crochet can alleviate stress, head on over to StitchAwayStress.com. There, you’ll also find the patterns to 2018’s Lemon Pillow. I will admit, I had some difficulty finding the 2015 Lemon Stress Ball patterns, so here’s the link directly to them

And if you’re really in the mood for some thirst-quenching lemonade after reading this post, may I recommend this recipe

Do you agree that stitching and stretching can alleviate symptoms of stress? Let me know in the comments below! Will you be making any of these lemon-aids? :)