Why is knitting just so darn relaxing?
When I was a kid, both of my grandmothers taught me different knitting stitches to keep me occupied and out of trouble (my grandfathers taught me woodworking for the same reasons, but that’s a story for another time). I was knitting in the early ’80s when knitting wasn’t cool, so you could imagine how I looked in the corner of the playground huddled over my knitting needles and yarn when the rest of the kids were playing kickball or out on the swings. Yeah, I was a real nerdy kid.
I was knitting throughout my childhood, making blankets and an assortment of things for my dolls (heck, my favorite doll was a stuffed cat named Custard that I made with the Knit Magic knitting machine), but then college happened and the job search. There was no time to give to “frivolous” activities like knitting. Surfing the Internet for work and filling out applications became more popular. I had all but forgotten about knitting until my boyfriend (now fiance!) learned of my past hobby and encouraged me to take it up again.
Needing to make a new program at the library, I decided to do a “Spin-a-Yarn” that allows people to get together to discuss books while knitting. Since I hadn’t knitted anything in over 20 years, I started practicing and made a couple of discoveries. The first was that I still retained the brain cells that controlled my knitting abilities, and the second was that I rediscovered how soothing and relaxing the act of knitting can be.
Some others are also aware of the relaxing, even meditative benefits of knitting, calling it “knititation” (I wish I came up with that word). The repetitive process of working each stitch and looking at your hands work can actually put your mind in the same state as when you’re meditating. You focus on what you’re doing and are completely in the moment with your breathing automatically assuming a regular, steady pattern. Considering the peace of mind and other health benefits that come along with knitting, I can’t help but ponder why aren’t more people doing it?