How making transformed Elise Speed's lifePublished on 2 April 2020 By Holly Butteriss 5 min read
Elise is the incredible maker behind the blog Le Petit Saint Crochet. A lover of tea and brisk walks with her dog, Elise is an absolute crochet superstar who's addicted to amigurumi (I mean, who isn't?!) and spreading the joy of making! Check out her inspirational Instagram for a peak at more of Elise's wonderful creations!
Becoming a maker has transformed my life in so many positive ways. What began as a way to deal with stress turned into my path to prove to myself that I was more than just a mum. Finally, the connections I have made within the maker community continue to inspire and challenge me to be a better person.
The stress factor
I've shared how I became a maker before. I've done it here on my blog but also on the Bhooked podcast, (a dream come true to talk with Brittany!). To make a long story short, I became a maker to deal with stress... the kind of stress that keeps you up at night... the kind of stress that makes your stomach ache and your hands shake.
Our older son has epilepsy and in the fall of 2016 his seizures went from being fairly well controlled to being completely and utterly out of control. His prognosis was grim. I felt myself spiralling into an unhealthy pattern of worry and angst. Unintentionally, I was transferring all of that anxiety onto my son and one day my happy-go-lucky boy snapped. As a seventeen-year-old kid the last thing he wanted to do was listen to me vocalising all of the worst case scenarios. He had enough to deal with between doctors, hospital visits and ever increasing medication. He didn't need a middle aged mum stressing him out even more.
In that moment I knew I needed a hobby. I needed a distraction, something that would keep my hands busy so my mind could rest. I went on Pinterest (as we do) and discovered a gorgeous, modern granny square blanket, not the kind my grandmother used to make. It made my heart pitter patter and I bought the pattern right then and there. From that day forward I have crocheted or knitted or embroidered or painted every single day.
I found that crocheting, and later knitting, gave me something beautiful to focus on. Learning new skills and sharing that passion with others became a joy in my life which eventually spilled over to my family. Crafting literally became my therapy.
What began as a way to deal with stress turned into my path to prove to myself that I was more than just a mum.
Discovering my best making self
Once my son's health improved I no longer needed to knit or crochet for my stress levels. I continued to enjoy making and found a great deal of satisfaction from learning new skills and eventually starting this blog and YouTube channel.
Something unexpected began to emerge during this time. I began to believe in myself. As a stay-at-home mum for over twenty years I supposed that homemaking was the only skill I possessed. Being a mother to my four children has been the greatest gift and journey I have ever taken. But they no longer needed me in the same way and I felt lost.
Not just a mum
I have always been comfortable in the background. Supporting my husband and children felt safe. I could work behind the scenes and create a place for them to come home to. Until my children grew up I was content with my role. I was happy until I wasn't. I didn't know who I was anymore when suddenly they didn't need me in the same capacity. I wasn't in my minivan hours a day driving children to activities and appointments, they could drive themselves. I wasn't helping with schoolwork for hours a day. They could even live on their own and make adult decisions for themselves. Who was I then? Who was I if I wasn't always tending to their needs?
Being a maker gives me a reason to feel good about myself. I didn't know that I had the fortitude deep within me to learn how to make amigurumi, to crochet granny squares or knit beautiful toys. I didn't know that I was strong and could push through barriers that I had built up about my self worth. Overcoming the fear and self doubt about my own abilities has been the greatest gift to myself. I do have something valuable to share with the world, not just within the walls of my home.
Finding joy with the maker community
I continue to strive to be the best maker I can be because of the incredible community I have found online. There are so many men and women doing important work through their crafting. They are using their talents to change the world from activism to humanitarian efforts. I could not be more proud to be part of this inspiring group of makers.
Learning new skills and sharing that passion with others became a joy in my life which eventually spilled over to my family. Crafting literally became my therapy.
I make because it makes me a better earthling. I make because it helps me cope with life's fragility. I make because I now believe in myself. I make because of the inspiring men and women I interact with on a daily basis.
Seriously, I wake up every morning excited about the day. My house is not as clean as it used to be. The meals I make aren't as elaborate. I've even gained a little bit of weight (from all that sitting and knitting!) But I'm proud of the woman I see in the mirror. She has overcome a lot of self doubt, a lot of insecurity, and a lot of self inflicted limitations. I make because it makes me.