For the media

The knotty knitter: Janice’s labor of love

By The Health News Team | May 21, 2024
Janice Chincuanco of Sharp HealthCare

Janice Chincuanco sits at a friend’s table on a sunny afternoon as she “knots” one of her chunky blankets.

Janice Chincuanco calls it a labor of love: making big, chunky handmade blankets that she “knots” together using more than a half dozen skeins, which are loosely coiled lengths of yarn. It’s a skill that the Sharp HealthCare wellness support specialist with Sharp Best Health says she’s turned to for her self-care.

“I took a chunky blanket workshop with some friends in late 2019 and thought the blankets were pretty fun to make — I’ve always been crafty,” says Janice. “A few months later, the world shut down, and we found ourselves unable to gather with friends. I knew I needed to find something that was going to bring me happiness at home. And that happiness was creatively doing something with an end result — making these blankets for family and friends.”

Janice says that at first, it would take her about four hours to make a four-by-six-foot blanket. These days, she’s honed in on that skill and has the process down to less than two hours.

“But it’s not mindless,” she says. “I’m actually practicing mindfulness when I’m making these as the tension in the knitting process is important. One missed loop and you have to pull it apart!”

Carrying on a family craft

Janice praises her grandmother for first getting her interested in the craft. She says she was 9 years old when she learned how to crochet from her Grandma Lolita and fondly cherishes those memories.

“She would knit or crochet a hat for me, and I would say, ‘Grandma, I want to stay after school with you and learn,’ Janice says. “My mom bought me some crochet hooks and yarn, and on those long afternoons, I learned it!”

Janice says the most rewarding part of making the blankets has been seeing the expressions of gratitude on her loved ones’ faces as they open the blankets she’s gifted them and as they squeezed the chunky yarn between their fingers.

“I’ve gifted many of these blankets — especially baby blankets for baby showers—for my good friends,” she says. “Even though I have made a few blankets on commission, it’s always special when I am making them for someone I know.”

In fact, it was her friends’ encouragement that led Janice to make more blankets and start a social media account, @knottyknitterjc on Instagram, where she now has followers from around the world. However, having made more than 100 of the chunky blankets, Janice says that at the end of the day, it really is about self-care.

“My advice to others is to lean into your hobbies, as long as the hobbies you love are not feeling like work,” she says. “If you’re getting enjoyment from them, that really is enough — as long as it’s sparking joy.”

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