Therapeutic, peaceful and hypnotic. Hand knitting is a powerful hobby that brings people together, challenges the mind and allows you to express your creativity.
I believe it has serious super powers!
Over the last few years, I have met people across the world who have found a new drive in life with hand knitting. They may be suffering from depression or managing long-term physical pain and knitting allows them to reach goals and feel a sense of accomplishment with every row knitted.
Recently this made me think about my reason for picking up the knitting needles at the age of 5. After losing my mother very suddenly I spent the next two years in the back of a car driving around Europe for my Fathers work. Dull for any child, so my Grandmother taught me to knit to keep myself entertained on long journeys. I would knit and reknit the same ball of space dye yarn all day, I became hypnotised as I would be so excited to see the colours change the more I knitted. Looking back now, this was such an important moment in my life as it gave me motivation during an incredibly sad time.
Still, to this day, I knit in the car, on the train, crochet on the plane, knit at trade events and sometimes if I have a big deadline (mainly in my uni days) I have been known to knit whilst walking. It calms me, it challenges me, it gives me focus and I love the endless forms that can be created from one ball of yarn.
So here are my top reasons why hand knitting is such a superpower:
1. Knitting is like meditating:
There have been studies to suggest that the repetitive motion of knitting reduces stress and anxiety by decreasing the heart rate, muscle tension and blood pressure.
2. It is a conversation starter:
Every time I knit in public someone will always start talking to me. People are intrigued by crafts, especially younger people knitting and they always have a connection with the hobby whether their grandmother taught them or they have recently started a project. This gives you great confidence and self-esteem.
3. Reduce the risk of dementia:
Studies show that regular participation in social activities such as knitting can lower the risk of subsequent dementia.
4. Knitting connects people:
A great way to meet new people is to join a knitting club, even if you’re shy or not very confident with your knitting level, you already have something in common to talk about (knitting) so the ice has been broken.
In my first year of university I set up a knitting society, in 3 years it went from 10 students to 250 students! I met students from all across the university that I would never have met in my day to day timetable, some have become lifelong friends. Now I teach two friends to knit once a month, it’s the perfect time to catch up with lots of wine and a homemade dinners. As I set them “homework” we hardly ever cancel as they are so excited to move onto the next part of the pattern.
5. Time for some R&R
Knitting gives you a digital break from technology and allows you time to relax with your own thoughts.
6. Knitting makes you happy:
Who doesn’t smile at Innocent smoothies in the supermarket with a woolly hat on the bottle lid? Knitting projects such as the Innocent smoothies Big Knit, raising money for Age UK plus get people together to knit for a good cause. There are many charitable knitting programs to raise funds or create awareness. Find local projects here at UK Handknitting