I love knitting. I love that a couple of sticks and string can be used in some many different ways to create unique fabric to warm, comfort and inspire people. And when repeated over centuries, in generations of hands, certain combinations of stitches and non-stitches turn into rich cultural traditions. The knitted fabric becomes an artefact, a touchstone of heritage, imbued with story and identity.
The act of knitting itself is also powerful. Rachael Matthews, in her book ‘Mindfulness in Knitting: Meditations on Craft and Calm*’ speaks about the calm space that is wrought around knitters deep in their practice. The space continues to have an aura that that invites the knitter, and others to return to it, as an oasis of calm.
Knitting has many wellbeing benefits, or as I like to say, it can ‘improve your wool-being’ in these ways:
- knitting can be used as an active mindfulness strategy to focus your attention and breath
- knitting workshops, craft retreats and charity knitting groups are a great way to spend time with friends and make new ones
- unique knitted garments, accessories and toys knit by you can become treasured gifts for friends and family
- a unique, sustainable wardrobe of hand-knits made with natural fibres supports planetary wellbeing
- learning new things helps maintain a healthy brain.
The benefits of knitting aren’t just personal: there are real social and environmental benefits. It can help facilitate a sense of community, purpose and belonging through social knitting circles, guilds, knitting for charity groups and events. Once you have knit or crochet a garment, you also develop an appreciation of the expertise, time and labour required, and maybe develop a sense of empathy for garment workers. Which makes me think of this great Ted Talk by Clara Vuletich on the link between ethical fashion and me-made fashion… watch it now
Encouraging people to knit with wool and other natural fibres supports sustainability. And the more you knit with wool, the more you want to know about the supply chain… and you find yourself exploring a whole new world!! A recent documentary, Fashion Reimagined, is great for this- it really shows the steps required to turn fleeces into garments, and the challenges to reduce the carbon footprint etc… I managed to catch a screening in 2022 during the Adelaide Film Festival, but it’s being shown all over the world, and you can also plan a private screening- you could even invite people to bring their knitting!
Some other articles on this topic you might find interesting:
- Suzan Colon (2023) Medknitation: How are Meditation and Knitting Related?
- Anna Fisk (2021) Knitting, Spirituality and Mindfulness
- James McIntosh (2023) Í Knitting a Mindfulness Based Intervention for Fidgeters? (TEDx video)
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