To be a knitter or not to be? If you've considered taking up knitting before but put the idea aside because you couldn't find the time, here are five good reasons why I knit and why you may want to include 30 minutes of knitting therapy into your everyday routine. It can actually improve your life in ways that go beyond making yourself a beautiful scarf for winter.
1. Think positive thoughts
With e-mails and social media right at our fingertips, we have become hyper-connected and find ourselves constantly refreshing our inbox or Instagram feed. We get impatient and lose focus easily. Our brains never switch off and it affects our physical and mental health: we feel stressed and we may have trouble falling asleep.
Try taking those 30 minutes of commute or bedtime that you would typically spend looking at your phone, to knit. So it's not going to take more of your time, it's just using it in a way that's going to be more beneficial for you. Knitting will help you be more mindful of the present moment, instead of dwelling on negative thoughts. If like me you've tried meditation to no avail because your mind kept wandering, knitting is so much easier because it gives you something to focus on, with the same benefits.
2. Join the slow fashion movement
When we buy a piece of clothing, we rarely wonder where it comes from and how it's made. The reality is that it goes through many suppliers, production processes and transportation before it ends up in our closets. And there are massive environmental costs from cheap mass fashion, not mentioning the working conditions in which it sometimes happens. And when the season ends, we'll dispose of old clothes and start the process over again.
Knitting your own scarf will ensure it's done in a sustainable way, using the best materials possible and qualitative enough that you can keep it for years to come, and probably even generations.
3. Knitting lover, lives longer?
Because knitting has so many benefits on the mind, it helps your body too. According to various studies that you can find on the internet, the list is endless: reduces chronic pain, combats anxiety and depression, lowers your heart rate, releases serotonin which enhances mood levels and happiness, diminishes the chances of developing mild impairment and memory loss, reinforces hand-eye coordination, and so it goes.
I'm probably too young to confirm if any of those studies are true, but as long as it makes you feel good, you're probably on the right track.
4. Be proud
If you're just starting, it may take some time before you feel the relaxing effects of knitting. The techniques may take a while to get used to, just like you can't except to be fluent when you begin learning a new language. But it's easier than you think, and you'll get the hang of it in no time. With each row, you'll feel your project coming together and once you've finished, you'll experience a sense of achievement like no other that will sure boost your confidence levels.
5. Treat yourself and others
And yes eventually, you'll end up with beautiful and cosy products that make great gifts. Each knit is one-of-a-kind: even two knitters making the same project will end up with different results because the handwork varies from one person to another. And everyone will appreciate the time and thought you have put in them. That's what knitting is all about.