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Fast hands, calm mind: How an 11-year-old boy's amazing crochet skills quiet his busy mind
"I think his mind is just always very busy, and it turned out that crocheting is something that calms him down and makes him feel good," his mom said.
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Thandie Newton (mom of two girls Ripley and Nico): “I’ve learned the value of absorbing the moment. I remember the first time Ripley saw her shadow. My God, it was like shadows had just been invented. It was the most exquisite moment.”
A link has been posted to your Facebook feed.Jonah Larson crocheted this yellow afghan. Submitted Photo FullscreenJonah Larson doesn't just crochet blankets. Here are mermaid tails he created. Submitted Photo FullscreenJonah Larson's crocheted creations are also decorative, like this flower. Submitted Photo Fullscreen
Jonah Larson shows off this gray afghan he crocheted. Submitted Photo FullscreenJonah Larson crochets all different kinds of patterns. Submitted Photo Fullscreen
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Wisconsin sixth-grader Jonah Larson has an unusual hobby. Well, unusual for an 11-year-old, at least.
He's really into crocheting. And he's really good at it. Like, he can speed crochet without even looking at his hands.
He got into crocheting back when he was 5 years old, and has been making hats, scarves, mittens and blankets for his own entertainment and for family members and neighbors ever since. His mom, Jennifer, even started an Instagram account, Jonah's Hands , for him to show off some of his amazing creations.
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11-year-old Jonah Larson's Instagram focuses on his crochet skills. Watch him show off how good he is. Submitted Video
Jennifer said that as of about a month ago, Jonah had about 2,400 followers. And then, his hometown paper, the La Crosse Tribune , published an article about him, which was picked up by "Inside Edition," "Good Morning America" and NPR, among others, and he went viral. Jonah's Instagram account has more than 46,000 followers now, and he's known throughout the world.
It's definitely a fun story of an unusual hobby that crazily took off. But it's more than that. Jennifer said that Jonah's interest in crocheting started as a fluke when her sister gave her a box of craft items she was getting rid of. Jonah noticed the shiny crochet hook, asked what it was used for, and a YouTube tutorial and an hour later, he had made his first dishcloth.
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The therapeutic effects of crocheting
For those who don't know Jonah, it's probably surprising that the 5-year-old was able to produce a perfect dishcloth so easily. But, Jennifer explained that Jonah has always picked up on math really easily, learned to read when he was 3 and tested so high on an IQ test that he skipped a grade.
"I think his mind is just always very busy, and it turned out that crocheting is something that calms him down and makes him feel good," Jennifer said. "I think of it as medicinal in some ways."
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The hobby is also something that helped him in elementary school, where his boredom and distraction would sometimes lead to behavioral problems.
"His fifth-grade teacher encouraged him to bring his crocheting into school, and after assignments he was allowed to crochet," Jennifer said. "It was just wonderful because then he wasn't bored anymore."
Plus, Jonah's classmates were fascinated with his hobby. They loved watching his flying hands as they worked and started to ask him to make projects for him.
Jonah does make projects to order sometimes, and sells a few of them. And those orders have picked up since he went viral — from a few orders here and there to the over 3,000 he's received over the past three weeks.
Jennifer said she's not accepting most orders though. If Jonah sees something he's interested in making, he might do so, but to fulfill all the orders would defeat the purpose of his calming hobby. "He only has two little hands," Jennifer said, laughing. "I don't want to overwhelm him, plus he likes to make things on his own terms."
Model brave behavior. Want confident kids? They will be less likely to be easily flustered if they see you taking healthy risks. "A lot of adults won't go to a movie solo because they would be embarrassed to be seen sitting alone. So do it, then talk to your kids about it," says David Allyn, the author of I Can't Believe I Just Did That. Similarly, if your kids see you laugh when you realize that your shirt has been on backwards all morning, maybe they'll giggle, instead of feeling embarrassed, when it happens to them.
Here's what Jonah has to say about his hobby.
Question: What's your favorite thing about crocheting?
Answer: I'm a very busy thinker, and I'm always thinking of ways to do things differently. Crocheting, to me, is quiet time because it relaxes my mind. And everybody should have something to relax their mind.
Q: What's your favorite thing to crochet?
A: That's a really hard question because there are so many things. My favorite thing to work on is whatever I'm working on at the time. You can never master your technique in crochet because there's always something new to try. Like, you can make up your own sketches and patterns. I do a good amount of that.
Q: Do you prefer making things to sell or just making whatever you want?
A: I enjoy both. It is always nice to have your wallet full. But crocheting just what people want to buy can get repetitive, and I always want to try new things. Plus, I need to do some things for family members too. Like, my dad is bald and needs a hat. It gets very cold here in Wisconsin, so I need to do that soon.
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