Background: Within public health, activities that promote and maintain wellbeing remain limited and relatively unexplored. In particular, little is known about the relationship between creative craft hobbies and wellbeing in the general population.
Methods: Twenty-nine semi-structured interviews were conducted with women from a local quilting group. Ideas and experiences of quilting in relation to wellbeing were explored with participants. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and thematically analysed.
Results: Cognitive, emotional and social processes were uncovered, which participants identified as important for their wellbeing. Participants found quilting to be a productive use of time and an accessible means of engaging in free creativity. Colour was psychologically uplifting. Quilting was challenging, demanded concentration and participants maintained and learned new skills. Participants experienced 'flow' while quilting. A strong social network fostered the formation of strong friendships. Affirmation from others boosted self-esteem and increased motivation for skill development. Quilts were often given altruistically and gave quilting added purpose.
Conclusions: The findings illustrate how creative craft hobbies such as quilting can be a meaningful vehicle for enhancing wellbeing. This study sets the foundation for further research into creativity, creative hobbies and hobbies in general.