I knit so I don’t kill people.
― A popular saying in knitting circles.
I’ve heard the above saying for most of the ten years I’ve been knitting. There is more to knitting than just keeping your hands busy so you don’t commit murder (although that IS a valid reason to knit).
By Robin Southworth
1- It is challenging
When you knit, you engage your hands in a manual dexterity that can allude some people. Including me. My grandmother tried to teach me to knit at age 8, but I a) didn’t have the hand-eye coordination, and b) the patience to stay with it. At 42, I picked up needles to make a throw for my mother (because there was something wrong with every throw I brought home and the store wouldn’t let me return things anymore) and realized everything Gramma taught me all those years ago had found a home in my brain. The throw was a great success.
In knitting a garment, you engage your brain in mathematics. You visualize the garment in your head using geometry and make decisions on how many stitches to cast on using multiplication.
Trying to decipher a knitting pattern can be an effort in new language acquisition and translation all at the same time.
2- You can customize everything
When you knit, you can customize EVERYTHING about a pattern. The size you knit it in, the size of the needles, the color of yarn, the texture of yarn, even the brand of yarn. I’ve even gone so far as to take the pattern for a lace scarf (which was knit in a super-bulky yarn) and knit a very delicate linen lace scarf for spring/summer dress-up.
3- It is a meditative activity
When you knit, the rhythm of the needles can act on your brain much the way meditation or prayer can for others. You are engaging in an activity that takes you outside yourself. See No. 5 below.
4- It is creative.
All those decisions on color, size, stitch, texture of piece are creative things. Making up your own pattern is creative.
5- Knitting keeps your brain healthy
In January 2015, CNN posted an article on how knitting helps with stress and depression. It also may protect the brain from dementia. Weird fact: during the two World Wars, knitting was used as a therapy for “shell shock” (aka PTSD).
Now get out there and KNIT!
More Ways to Learn
If you don’t knit and would like to learn how, there are a few ways to learn.
- Contact your local yarn shop. Most have knitting classes of some sort.
- Some of the craft stores (Michael’s, Joann’s) have knitting classes.
- Craft stores carry teach-yourself-to-knit kits. They teach you the basics.
- YouTube has knitting tutorials for EVERYTHING.
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