My mother was a brilliant knitter. I used to sit in awe watching her fingers fly over colored threads weaving intricate patterns. As she chatted with me while knitting, I would have the honor of helping her roll her balls of wool. It always amazed me that she could do such complicated knitting patterns while watching the television and talking to someone at the same time.
She explained that during the war, knitting was something a lot of young women did to pass the time and calm their nerves while sitting for hours in air raid shelters. Later, knitting became a very practical skill when she had children. I remember very well some of her scratchy creations being so intricate and beautiful.
Today, knitting is having a big revival, according to Debbie Stoller, the founder of “Stitch ’n Bitch” knitters’ groups that now meet all over the world. She is considered the knitting revivalist leader and claims there are over 38 million knitters in the US alone. Knitting is one of those traditional crafts that are popular with younger women as well as older knitters.
What are the benefits of knitting? If you are a beginning knitter here is why your new craft is so good for you and is going to change your life – for the better!
Today, knitting shops are a visual delight. You enter to find a treasure chest of different wools in every color of the spectrum. There are different textures and styles including metallic, pastels, and mixed colors, pure whites and designer blends. The choices are amazing and allow knitters to create beautiful individual and unique pieces.
Skeins of wool tend to be reasonably priced and so for just a few dollars you can create a magical unique piece in just a few hours. You can also learn knitting and make new friends. Wool shops are great places to meet other women who have a passion for knitting.
Many also offer classes which improve your own skill and offer social connection as well. Knitting is an individual activity but connects you to a large following of creative women all around the world.
There is something about knitting that makes it one of the best ways to relax. Whenever I have got something on my mind, I use knitting as a way to get my mind away from complexity to a simple repetitive activity. It just calms me down and feels very meditative. In fact research shows that knitting and yoga are a perfect combination.
The simple repetitive practice of breathing in and out, focusing on the rhythm of creating similar patterns over and over, is very calming. It helps to get you away from external stress and brings you right into the moment.
Having said that, knitting is also a great way to be productive while still being able to focus part of your attention elsewhere. You can knit while watching TV, while having a conversation, while riding in the car or on the train, or while keeping an eye on kids who are playing near you but who don’t need your full attention. It is also a great thing to do while listening to audiobooks.
Learning how to knit allows you to experience the joy of instant gratification. Being able to produce something within a few hours that you can actually wear is hugely satisfying. Achieving this immediate sense of accomplishment is important for both your emotional well-being and self-confidence.
Knitting is also a great activity for grandkids who have a relatively short attention span. There are many benefits of knitting when spending time with your grandkids. You can work together with your grandkids to create little scarves, mittens or purses, and something created, stitch by stitch, has a very special bonding significance.
At the same time, more complicated knitting projects certainly take patience, which is a great skill for the young, and young at heart, to develop.
Gone are the days when a knitted Christmas gift meant a scratchy pair of socks or a reindeer themed Christmas sweater. People actually look forward to receiving a handmade angora headband or a multi-color scarf and appreciate that it was something you made especially for them. There are some wonderful knitting projects for beginners to try.
For you, the process of knitting becomes a gift in itself as you put your thoughts of the recipient into the process. You personally feel the benefits of knitting when you weave your love into what you are creating. Finally, don’t forget that there is a big demand for unique homemade products, so why not try selling your handiwork on Etsy or other online marketplaces.
On the physical side, knitting is good for your brain. It improves hand eye coordination and by helping you relax, it also reduces the heart rate, lowers blood pressure and generally minimizes stress.
Some evidence even claims that knitting helps to reduce risk of dementia, strokes and brain disorders. This is because the simple repetitive activity of knitting changes your brain chemistry, and produces more of the “feel good” hormones, serotonin and dopamine.
Since knitting is such a great way to connect people, there are many organizations that encourage knitting for good causes. Knit for Peace simply gets people together in groups around the world to break down barriers and differences through the simple act of knitting together. The goal is to get women and men from different, often competing tribes or communities, to come together in a casual friendly way to just knit peacefully in a constructive manner.
Another group in the UK called Grannies, Inc. has created a marketplace for older knitters and shares the profit from their online sales.
If you are new to knitting, here are a few books to help you get started.
Stitch ‘n Bitch: The Knitter’s Handbook, by Debbie Stoller
The Chicks with Sticks Guide to Knitting: Learn to Knit with more than 30 Cool, Easy Patterns, by Nancy Queen and Mary Ellen O’Connell
Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book, by Vogue Knitting Magazine Editors
Op-Art Socks: Creative Effects in Sock Knitting, by Stephanie van der Linden
The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Knitting (DVD), by Nici Beason-McNally
Do you love to knit? What do you like about the time you spend knitting something? What was the most beautiful thing you have ever created? Please add your thoughts in the comments section below.
Tags Hobbies for Women