Knitting: The Benefits
Hello and welcome back to the blog! We are now halfway through this series of posts on mental health and craft, and today we are starting a new section all about knitting. To start, we will look at the physical and mental benefits of knitting. However, before I start, I want to clarify that am not speaking for everyone; you may find that knitting has a totally different impact for you or that it does not help in some the ways I mention. That is absolutely okay and normal - everyone is different! Now, let's get to the list.
10: It Can Be Used For "Cognitive Anchoring"
This is a term that I only came across recently when doing research, but I feel that it describes one of the reasons that I love knitting really well. Cognitive anchoring is when you learn by doing other things at the same time, and is the reason why some students doodle, organise or do hand crafts during lessons and still manage to focus on what they are being told. However, one of the problems with doodling is that it is not too productive and can be seen in a negative light. Therefore, knitting is a great alternative. For example, some students will knit whilst reading their notes or listening to a revision video. Even if you are not a student and are not trying to learn anything new anymore, you may find that when you knit, you are able to concentrate on things such as the TV, conversations or other things that are going on around you. These are also examples of cognitive anchoring.
9: Knitting Can Help You Learn Life Skills
You may not realise, but there are a great deal of life skills involved in knitting. At the start of your project, you have to decide what you will make a set a goal. You have to be organised and make sure that you have all the materials you need to do your project. Then you need patience and perseverance as whilst knitting is fun, it can take a little while to progress. Finally, after you have finished your project, you come away not only with a new gift but also with a series of transferable skills. Because of this, knitting classes have been started up in some prisons. Inmates of all races, ages and genders are taught to knit and make presents for family members as well as comfort dolls for traumatised children. If you want to watch something uplifting, I would definitely recommend looking this up on YouTube.
8: Knitting Can Prevent Memory Loss
It's true! Memorising sections of patterns, word shortenings and key steps really help sharpen your mind. This is because learning new things creates more connections between brain cells. Knitting is believed to help decrease dementia risk, though this has not been fully proven yet.
7: Physical Benefits
Knitting can improve fine motor skills (coordination of hands and fingers) as to knit, you need to move your hands and wrists a lot, possibly at quite a fast pace. This increases strength and dexterity. Therefore, it is often used to prevent or alleviate symptoms of arthritis or help people recovering from injuries. As someone who is hypermobile and struggles with fine motor skills, I have found knitting to be really helpful and I now experience few problems in my hands and fingers.
6: Knitting Can Help With Addiction and Impulses
Knitting itself has been proven to be an addictive hobby. Therefore if you are suffering with addiction, such as to smoking or alcohol, or just experiencing mild impulses (such as that impulse to eat a whole tub of Pringles in a day - been there, done that!) knitting can help some people as even if you are experiencing a craving, you may be too occupied by your knitting to act upon it. If not, you may at least want to finish the row you are on first, giving you extra time to consider and decide.
5: Knitting Can Help With Perfectionism
Whilst being observant and perfecting fine details can be an asset at times, it can also be incredibly draining when you try to do perfectly in everything because being perfect just is not possible! I definitely am a perfectionist and find myself getting stressed over making mistakes or doing "poorly" in things such as exams and pieces of homework. I find that knitting really helps with this as I do make mistakes frequently enough in knitting but I know that they do not often have a great impact on my garment and if they are that major, I can always undo and rectify them. Doing this in knitting reminds me that in all areas of life, it is okay to make mistakes as I can always learn from them and only some will have a major impact on my life, whereas others will not matter in a few months' or years' time.
4: Knitting Encourages Creativity
Knitting is great if you struggle with creativity or if you want to become more creative. Knitting patterns have a great deal of structure, meaning that you can definitely enjoy knitting if you do not feel that you are creative. However, you get to be creative by making decisions on colours and textures then later, once you are familiar with a pattern or technique, you can incorporate new things into the pattern and add a bit of your personality and style to it. Often, as I am obsessed with baggy things and colourful garments, I will add stripes and extra length to the things I make. I really love playing around with this and found it has sparked my creativity generally.
3: Knitting Can Reduce Stress
Once you have got the hang of knitting, it is quite a repetitive thing, using the same actions again and again to form garments. Personally, I find repetition incredibly soothing and familiar, which can help me feel considerably less stressed or anxious in times of uncertainty. For this reason, knitting is also used as a form of art therapy or meditation, which I will be looking at in more detail in a few weeks.
2: The Community
When you become a knitter, you become part of a community of crafters. You can connect with other crafters online, through websites and chatrooms which allow knitters across the world to share advice and experiences, as well as in shops, where you can meet other customers and staff members who knit. Next week, the shop will be opening up again and we are so excited to see our customers and crafting friends.
1: The Sense of Purpose
When we are at our lowest, it is easy to forget our importance and feel as if we are worthless to those around us. However, when you pick up a pair of needles and make something such as scarf to keep a family member warm, a toy to entertain a child or even a pouch to save an endangered animal like a bat or kangaroo (yes, you read that right), you can really feel a sense of achievement and purpose.
For me, the best thing about knitting is the power that it has. It can improve your life in a range of ways, both physically and mentally. Next time, I will be showing you the basics of knitting, but until then, happy crafting!
My name is Sharon the Sheep, the owner of Avicraft Wool Shop in Bromley Kent..