Unraveling the Health Benefits of Knitting

Lower your stress

In our fast-paced, frantic, overwhelming [insert stressful adjective here] world, finding moments of tranquility and stress relief is essential.

In fact, I'd go as far as to say we must claim tranquility and peace as our birthright.

Christmas knitting. From left to right: my brother Mike, me, and my husband Dan.

Knitting saved my life. 

In 2006, while in my late twenties, my marriage was falling apart.
I was having panic attacks at work, and was eventually diagnosed with bipolar II disorder.
These were days when I could barely get out of bed; but, I could manage to knit a row or two and stay present and calm.
I think of knitting as the third leg of my wellbeing tripod: therapy, medication, and knitting!
The soothing repetition of knitting (or crochet, or many handicrafts) sends me to a very meditative place.
I can relax, my breathing slows, and my "monkey mind" and tense muscles soften.

Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises.

This timeless activity offers solace and respite amid chaos and uncertainty. 

- Elizabeth Zimmermann

Make Connections

Maybe you’ve just moved to a new city, and you’re not sure where to begin meeting new friends. Or you want to feel more comfortable chatting to folks while you’re out - what to talk about? 

Just wearing one of your projects out can be a conversation starter - I was recently approached by a couple at a nearby restaurant who commented on my handknit scarf. I found out that they both had learned to crochet from her grandmother way back when. We had a lovely conversation about her artistic goals and his profession in IT. 

Knitting with friends

You may find yourself seeing familiar faces in your local yarn shop as you return over time. Ask about local fiber artists, and plan to support them at a local craft fair, and you’ll soon find yourself surrounded by a supportive community.

Some meetup groups also already exist specifically to bring fellow knitters together. These gatherings provide a space for folks to exchange ideas, patterns, and tips. Plus, it can be a fun and relaxing way to spend a few hours each week. You might check with your local library, religious organization, or community center - or start your own!

We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.

- William James

A Row a Day to Keep the Doctor Away

Recent studies suggest that engaging in mentally stimulating activities, such as knitting, may also contribute to cognitive health.

The combination of creativity, pattern recognition, and fine motor skills involved in knitting exercises the brain in a way that potentially prevents or slows down low-level memory loss.

Woman knitting in math class

Knitting, quilting, and other crafts were generally associated with a lower incidence of mild cognitive impairment, in a Mayo Clinic study of more than 1,000 individuals between the ages of 72 and 93. 

It’s not hard to think of some common-sense reasons that this might be - the act of following a knitting pattern, making decisions about colors and textures, and counting stitches all help keep our brains sharp.

Learning a new skill, working with an unfamiliar pattern, and using various types and textures of yarn could encourage our brain to adapt, make new connections, and retain new information more effectively.

As I get older, I just prefer to knit.

- Tracey Ullman

Being Gentle With Yourself

You may have tried knitting in the past, and it just didn't take. Believe me, I understand. As a perpetually recovering perfectionist, it makes me itchy to attempt new things. Sometimes, the process of making something that I know is "crappy" makes me anxious and out of breath!

Again and again I have to face that agitas and sit back down with the needles. (Or crochet hook, or electric bass, or spinning wheel...)

You will probably make many mistakes. You will probably make things that need to be ripped out again (or donated, or yes even thrown away.) And that's completely fine. 

When we compare knitting to doing a crossword puzzle, for example. We still get the cognitive benefits of the activity even if we drop a stitch or miss an answer.

Learn to Knit Kit

Are You Ready to Try Knitting?

My company, The Spinning Hand, offers an all-inclusive Learn to Knit Kit that contains everything you need to start a rewarding and healthy knitting adventure!

You can buy the scarf Learn to Knit Kit on our website, or on Amazon if you prefer.

Each kit includes the following:

  • Self-striping, machine-washable wool from Universal Yarn (3 color choices)
  • Wooden bamboo needles, which are comfortable and smooth in the hand
  • Learn to Knit ebook (digital - QR code and web link provided inside the kit)
  • Beginner Scarf pattern (digital - QR code and web link provided inside the kit)
  • Project bag, silkscreened in NYC with The Spinning Hand exclusive design

You might not be ready to buy a kit at this time, and that's OK too.

We have many free video tutorials on YouTube. Stop on by and say hello!

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