March 10, 2014
This article was written by Katherine Martinko in Tree Hugger. Enjoy!
Last month I wrote an article called “Why bother knitting a scarf?” Much to my surprise, I received thousands of positive reactions from readers who share my love of homemade, local, and beautiful “slow fashion” items. Clearly, knitting is being embraced by people from all walks of life who benefit from its peaceful, relaxing repetition. It got me wondering – what’s really going on when people knit? Why is it so tremendously popular?
It turns out that knitting has incredible health benefits. It makes people feel good in just about every way. A bit of research has revealed a wide range of ways in which knitting helps humans cope, physically and mentally.
1. Knitting is used for therapy. It’s a powerful distractant, helping people manage long-term physical pain. For those who are depressed, knitting can motivate them to connect with the world. It is a conversation starter, allowing people to interact politely without making eye contact. It builds confidence and self-esteem.
2. Knitting is supremely relaxing, which is extremely important for reducing stress and anxiety. Dr. Herbert Benson, founder of Harvard’s Mind/Body Medical Institute, wrote The Relaxation Response, in which he recommends the repetition of a word, sound, phrase, prayer, or muscular activity to elicit “the relaxation response” – decreased heart rate, muscle tension, and blood pressure. Knitting is likened to meditation, sometimes described by knitters as “spiritual” and “Zen-like.”
3. Knitting connects people. By joining a knitting group, a solitary activity turns into a social one. One study, called “The Benefits of Knitting for Personal and Social Wellbeing in Adulthood” and published in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy, found that “knitting in a group impacted significantly on perceived happiness, improved social contact, and communication with others.”
4. Knitting improves concentration and can provide an outlet for excessive energy. Toronto teacher Caleigh Murtaugh started a knitting club for 7- and 8-year-olds at a private boys’ school. It was a smashing success, with boys opting to stay in from recess to work on projects. Some were extremely hyper, but focusing on work with their hands helped them greatly and gave them a sense of accomplishment.
5. Knitting can reduce the risk of dementia. One study of over 2,000 seniors (65 years and older) found that “regular participation in social or leisure activities such as traveling, odd jobs, knitting, or gardening were associated with a lower risk of subsequent dementia.”
6. Knitting offers a break from busy schedules and a refreshing detox from a technology-saturated world. It gives many of us a rare chance to be alone with our thoughts.
7. Knitting makes people happy, from the people who knit to those who receive knitted items, and those who see knitting in their surroundings. Consider the popularity of “yarn-bombing,” the beautiful graffiti that uses yarn to decorate public spaces, filling them with happiness-inducing warmth and colour. No one can resist smiling at the sight of a knitted bus or tree!
Even professionals are catching on. Stitchlinks is a UK-based group that’s developing a network of knitting therapy groups in hospitals, GP practices, schools, workplaces, and care facilities. Its website states, “Therapeutic knitting [is] being formally acknowledged by leading clinicians and academics for [its] benefits in mainstream healthcare.”
Keep at it, all you knitters! Not only are you having fun, but you’re also knitting yourselves a happier, healthier life.
February 06, 2014Thanks to all of you that came out Valentine's Day weekend for our Grand Opening festivities! We are so excited to be part of the knitting community and appreciate all the support we have received from our family of knitters.
January 22, 2014
Knitting – once considered a necessary cost-saving domestic chore, a sign of sedentary dotage (something only for grannies) and an activity to keep women’s hands busy lest their pretty heads entertain too many revolutionary thoughts – is casting off its cultural baggage.
These days, knitting has become a DIY fashion statement, community activity, educational device, health-care tool (the “new yoga”) and new form of urban graffiti. (Okay, that last one has to be explained right away: Yarnbombing is an underground global movement by people calling themselves “guerrilla knitters.” They cover items such as buses, parking meters, telephone poles, trees, doors, benches – anything in the public realm – with colourful yarn as an act of feel-good community coziness. In fact, International Yarnbombing Day, an annual event, was started by Joann Matvichuk, a knitter and crocheter from Lethbridge, Alta., on June 11, 2011.)
“It’s about bloody time,” Kaffe Fassett, the celebrated American-born textile artist, laughs about the resurgence of interest in knitting. “It has taken people a long time,” he adds over the phone from his studio in London, England, “to appreciate that sitting down and rubbing two sticks together with a string of yarn between them not only creates something beautiful and truly creative, but is one of the most life-enhancing activities around. It just makes you feel good.” Fassett, 76, is the author of more than 30 books on quilting, knitting and embroidery; his work in those media has been exhibited around the world. Fassett has knit “everything from the tiniest little scarf for a teddy bear to huge hand-knit drapes featuring colourful fantasy maps of the world.” Lauren Bacall, Barbra Streisand, Candice Bergen and Princess Michael of Kent are a few of the people who have commissioned custom-knit clothing from him.