Become a Knitter. Here Are 10 Reasons Why

I’ve found that knitting was a relaxing activity. I never realized to what extent knitting affected my overall mental and physical well being until I started to dig into the benefits of knitting for this blog post.

Background

Cooler weather was when my mother most often picked up her knitting. She used to knit wool socks for my dad so his feet would be warm in his construction boots. She made hats, mittens and sweaters for the rest of us.

As a little girl, I watched in fascination. Like any expert, my mom made it look easy. She never forced me to learn any hand craft at which she seemed to excel so effortlessly. She was wise enough to wait until I asked her to show me how to do it. That’s how my knitting journey began. She and I both still knit today and, like my mother, I waited for my daughter to express interest in knitting and taught her the basics. She went on to do so much more on her own knitting journey.

My mother will soon be 87. She looks and acts years younger than her chronological age. She’s still sharp as a tack. I’m hoping to be like her at that age, all because of the many benefits gained from knitting. Here’s why.

Mission Accomplished

If you’re results-oriented like me, knitting is a terrific skill to pick up because you see immediate progress to a tangible end. This is particularly true of smaller projects like hats and mittens. I have to admit that I’ve undertaken knitting a cardigan using a very fine yarn. It’s been a little over a year since I started it. I’ll eventually set aside other projects and finally finish knitting the sleeves, assembling everything and get to finally sport my beautiful new sweater. For now, the quicker projects are more fun.

Concentration

It may seem counter-intuitive but knitting while listening to the TV, a podcast or a teacher let’s you better concentrate on what’ being said. My daughter used to routinely pull out her knitting during classes in her engineering program. At work she asked at what point she could bring her knitting into meetings. Needless to say, the powers that be didn’t understand that knitting would actually increase her concentration rather than diminish it. Honestly, after 20 minutes in a meeting, raise your hand if you’re reaching for your phone to see which message you can surreptitiously answer at which point you’ve stopped paying attention to the meeting discussions. Me too.

However, if you’re knitting, you’re keeping your hands busy but your mind is free and you’re more likely to stay invested in the meeting’s topics of discussion.

Attention Seeker

If you like attention, pull out your knitting in a public place like the bus, subway, airport waiting area, parks or food courts. Knitting draws people in. Very often, they’ll strike up a conversation for one of two reasons: to share information with a fellow knitter or to ask what it is that you’re doing. There’s something fascinating about the movement that invites people to watch and to talk.

Portability

Many hobbies tie you down to one location but not knitting (or crochet). Unless you’re making a massive blanket, you’re likely able to take your knitting anywhere…like my daughter used to at university. Knitting will easily fit into a backpack, tote or large handbag.

Meditation

True meditation is not for everyone. However, the effects of meditating is. The rhythmic movements and pattern repetition bring you to a centered, calm and relaxed state – just like meditation. Knitting often lowers the heart rate and blood pressure.

Caveat: don’t try to knit while you’re really angry. I can guarantee that you’ll make mistakes which won’t help to calm you down.

Memory

Apparently, the side to side eye movements that happen when you’re knitting can help boost memory. Knitting does help to direct focus.  Studies have shown that knitting may help to slow the decline in brain function with age. If my mother is an example of how this works, I’m definitely going to keep knitting!

Distraction

Reach for your knitting if you’re feeling stressed, anxious, depressed or in pain. It’s not a cure all but, again, knitting helps distract from those feelings by lowering blood pressure and changing the mind’s focus from your pain to your knitting. For some, knitting actually helps them feel happy because the brain can process just so much at once. Knitting distracts the brain from whatever it is that is bothering you.

Motor Function

Knitting engages the whole brain. You need to pay attention to what you’re doing and plan for what comes next. It requires processing sensory, visual and spatial information. You’ll likely memorize a repeating pattern. It requires precise hand eye coordination. That’s a lot for the brain to track in order to ensure that you knit well.

Nimble Fingers

Knitting helps build up cartilage, making it stronger instead of wearing it down. If you already have arthritis but would like to keep knitting, you might try soaking your hands in warm water first and knitting projects that use larger needles.

Pride

There’s something deeply gratifying when you can show off what you’ve made. The creativity, skill and planning that went into your knitting are all part of what brings you pride.

Additionally, knitting for someone else means you’re likely thinking of that person. I know I do. When I knit something for someone I think of that person the entire time and hope that they’ll like and appreciate what I’ve made. I tell the recipient that I’ve poured happy thoughts and feelings into every stitch in hopes of passing along those feelings to the person to whom I’ve knit the item. It helps them better appreciate the time and effort I put into it.

Conclusion

As you can see, there’s so much to be gained from the simple act of knitting. You may ask yourself: “What about crochet?” Good news. You get the same effects from crochet. So, if knitting isn’t your thing but crochet is, then you’re in luck. The same benefits apply to people who crochet.

So there you have it; ten reasons to knit. For the avid knitter, here are 10 excuses to add more yarn to your stash. 

I’d love to hear if knitting has benefited you. Be sure to let me know in the comments section below.

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All the best,

Lorraine

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