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Young Cambridge artist explains purpose of her hidden creations

An 11-year-old Cambridge girl is behind the project
20220505 worry monsters AD
Kenzie Norman holding two of her many crochet creations.

Little crochet monsters are popping up over Cambridge, but instead of trying to scare you, they are trying to help ease your worries.

The colourful creations are called "worry monsters." Sometimes referred to as a "worry critter," the creatures are free for someone to take with them to help ease their concerns.  

“I hope that it might relieve some of their stress and anxiety by having somebody to talk to,” said Kenzie Norman, a 11-year-old resident who is behind the project. 

Since starting the effort, Norman said she has made up to 400 monsters and worms, which are small enough to slip into a pocket.

“Usually, if I’m just using normal yarn and making a worm or a monster, it takes me around eight to 10 minutes,” said Norman. “Just making the body without the eyes, I could make 10 of them.”

“She is fast,” said Samantha Stewart, her mother.

Norman said she began crocheting the monsters back in March and starting leaving them in different locations in early April. The most common places are retail stores, but a majority of worry monsters can be found in Galt.

“If I see a cute, little spot, I’ll just put it there,” said Norman, who mentions she enjoys making, hiding and handing out the critters.

Stewart adds a lot of people have been posting about finding a worry monster on Facebook.

“I think seeing the first person find it, really lifted her spirits, and drove her desire to really get them out there,” said Stewart.

The idea for this project came after Norman was looking up small crochet project ideas on Pinterest back in March. Recently, she has also created a crochet pattern for a new design, which she calls a "worry cow."

“I was thinking of different animals and I thought, ‘Oh cows! Cows are my favourite!’ and I knew that would be really easy, so I just drew out the pattern and made it,” said Norman.

Norman adds her interest in crocheting stems from her great-grandfather, who also crocheted.

“When I was seven, I watched my great-grandfather crochet hats for cancer patients, and I decided that I wanted to start using the loom, and then it was not long after I started crocheting.”

Stewart mentions her grandfather no longer crochets after moving into a retirement community, but Norman made a series of worry monsters for his residence.

“She made a little picture, put a frame of her and our recently passed grandmother and grandfather, and a note that says, ‘Thank you for taking care of our great-grandfather, take a worry critter,’” said Stewart. 

“We go and visit her great-grandfather very often, and she will bake for him, or draw for him. Right now, she is crocheting something for him on his walker, it’s like she’s looking for ways to bring a smile to someone.” 

Recently, Stewart and Norman also created a Facebook group called Kindness Critters take over the Region, where group members can share sightings of the worry monsters. 

Since this project is meant to be an act of kindness, Norman stresses the worry monsters are not for sale. However, other residents who can crochet are more than welcome to create their own worry monsters to post within the Facebook group to share with others.