I am what some societies call an “illegitimate” child since I was conceived by an unmarried woman and an already married man. My childhood resembles one of Charles Dickens’ novels.
When I was ten years old, my maternal grandmother tried to teach me how to crochet. But she was unhappy with my skills, so she beat me hard. She was a very loving woman, I believe, but she was depressed, fighting with her own demons. Back then, or even now, people in Greece don’t take depression seriously. Even though I learned enough of crocheting from her, I never crocheted again.
When I moved from Greece to London in 2012, the first months were very harsh. I was unemployed and was trying to adjust to the new environment. One day I saw this store with yarn skeins and the hooks, I decided to leave behind the bad childhood memories and try crocheting again. I loved it and I couldn’t stop!
I bet I am the only radio presenter who crochet in the studio, in the train, in an airplane, in cafeterias, everywhere one can imagine. It was not until my therapist who saw me crocheting while waiting, told me all the benefits of crocheting on mental health, that I started truly appreciating this craft.
I realised that it is not just a hobby, but a valuable tool to enhance self-estime and to provide inner peace. I started crocheting in public. I want people to understand and to appreciate what crochet can offer.
My activity always generates conversations. Adults react differently, some will look and smile at me, others will ignore, and few will show me with body language that they too crochet.
Children are always fascinated. Once two girls approached me asking what I was doing, and I told them I was making flowers. Then I gave one to each of them, and they were so happy. People tend to associate crocheting with lonely old ladies, but it’s not. It’s for everyone.
The greatest challenge for me is to get men to do it as well. I believe that the whole world can become slightly better if we all do a bit crochet.
This is the story of Sofia Tsourlaki.
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