In the coming months, people across the U.S. will be looking for ways to keep themselves safe and amused as they hunker down for the country’s first COVID-19 winter. One suggestion to keep both your hands and mind busy— knitting.
Here are a few reasons to consider taking up this time-honored craft.
1. Knitting Reduces Stress
Many knitters report that the practice helps them relax, especially if they use a simple pattern. Research supports this as well. A 2013 study concluded that “[k]nitting has significant psychological and social benefits, which can contribute to wellbeing and quality of life.”
A warning, though—stress reduction is most likely after you’ve already been knitting a while. When you first learn it, knitting will more likely stimulate than relax you.
2. Knitting Connects You to the Larger Hand-Crafted Tradition
Back in the day, nearly all humans made things. They made food to feed themselves and their families. They made clothing to keep loved ones warm. And even if they purchased many of their possessions, people still repaired things frequently rather than replacing items automatically.
Nowadays, more of us consume what we need, letting other people make things for us. This change can of course be convenient, but many people are starting to wonder what we’ve lost, now that our identity as “makers” has slipped.
The “maker” movement wants to reconnect us to that tradition of making by hand, taking ownership of our possessions and finding pride and purpose in learning new skills of creating beautiful things. And North Carolina holds a spot in that movement. In 2018, Popular Mechanics listed Asheville as one of the 25 best “maker cities” in the US.
3. Knitting Supports Local, Independent Supply Shops
Knitting offers a wonderful opportunity to connect with local makers and to support local businesses. While you can find yarn and other knitting supplies in big-box craft stores like Michaels or Hobby Lobby, you can find more unique (and much higher-quality) supplies at specialty knitting stores.
At the time of this writing, North Carolina boasts dozens of yarn shops across the state. While COVID-19 restrictions currently affect the operations of these stores, most allow you to buy products online and will ship them to your address.
4. Knitting Makes Netflix-Marathons Productive
No longer need you feel guilty after spending your Saturday afternoons on the couch with your laptop. You weren’t simply binge-watching a show, you were making a hat!
Once you are comfortable with the basics, knitting is a great multitasking craft. Try knitting while watching a favorite movie or listening to a podcast. Plus, keeping your hands busy with needles and yarn can prevent you from mindlessly snacking while you watch. Well, at least it can slow you down a bit.