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Creating something by hand whether it is a pair of knitted socks, an experimental pottery project or a cuddly toy can bring a lot of pleasure to its maker and to those lucky ones who receive them as presents. 

My family has always been keen crafters and have dabbled in all kinds of projects from bobbin lace making and knitting to handmade soaps and art prints. My mother especially has a vast knowledge and experience of knitting, and some of my earliest memories are of her knitting mittens while watching the evening news. In 2000 she took early retirement from her job as a physiotherapist after experiencing mental health problems over a lengthy period. She was diagnosed with a condition that eventually prevented her from continuing to practice her profession. In the early days after her diagnosis she attended art therapy, which in combination with medication worked well for her. Nowadays she spends her retirement days knitting, socialising and enjoying the outdoors. According to her it is easy to just stay indoors when the latest handcraft project is in progress, but it is important to also get out and about to keep the legs moving. Everything in moderation!

In the last couple of years my mother has been knitting more woollen socks than the immediate family can handle: Everyone has at least a pair for each day of the week, if not for each day of the month. There are socks for hiking, for wearing in wellies, for indoors and even ones for yoga or pilates. At the same time over the last few years I have been perfecting my handmade natural soaps, which I love to share with my friends and family. This mountain of socks and soap gave me an idea for starting the WildHopper online shop, which combines the appreciation of handmade things and fundraising for mental health work. The shop currently offers delightful knitted socks by my mother, natural handmade soaps by me, and colourful teapot themed art prints by my sister.

This is a great way for me and my family to create beautiful and enjoyable things for others to enjoy, while raising funds for the extremely valuable mental health work that Solent Mind does. 

Kaisa Puustinen

Knitted socks, teapot prints and natural soaps in WildHopper online shop. 10% of the profits from WildHopper go to Solent Mind to support our work.

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