Hi all, as winter draws nearer and the countdown to christmas officially begins I’ve been looking at expanding my hobbies so I can make more Christmas presents for my loved ones. Now, I enjoy a wide range of hobbies, as you will have previously noticed, from motorbikes to gopeds, and I’ve previously dipped my leg into the art pool with looking at tablets. But I wanted to try something different. A new activity to fill my leisure time, knitting. Now, I know what you’re thinking... ‘You’re not that old’, ‘Isn’t it cheaper just to buy a scarf’, but hear me out. Not only have I been able to knit up some great little gifts for my loved ones but I’ve also found a hobby I enjoy.
Prior to my recent knitting the closest thing I’d ever got to those knitting needles was through the ubiquitous knitted ugly Christmas sweater I used to receive every Christmas from my Nan. Unfortunately she has since passed so when I was looking into knitting I didn’t have anyone in my family to ask questions to when I got stuck, and although there are plenty of forums and blogs online where you can find out most of the information you need there is nothing better than having a great beginners book to show and guide you through. I searched everywhere for a great book and finally found a used knitting book for beginners which has helped me with all those questions I would have felt silly asking.
It literally makes you happy.
A survey conducted by the British Journal of Occupational Therapy, found that people's mood improved dramatically whilst knitting. Prior to knitting 34% (out of 3,500 knitters) reported feeling happy and 23% reported feeling sad, after knitting only 1% said they still remained sad with 81% of knitters reported feeling happy.
It has the same benefits as meditation.
Depending on the pattern, and what you’re producing, a lot of knitting is very repetitive. This allows you to zone out and use your muscle memory to keep going. This repetition and rhythm has been proven to have the same benefits as a meditation session.
It has been known to help reduce symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety.
The repetition and rhythm which allows you to zone out can also help to distract from the symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression. Focusing on knitting and having to sit still lowers your blood pressure and you heart rate. So whenever you’re feeling stressed or can feel yourself experiencing other symptoms pick up your needles and keep the monsters at bay.
It helps improve motor functions.
Whilst knitting you use almost your whole brain at once. “The frontal lobe (which guides rewards processing, attention and planning), the parietal lobe (which handles sensory information and spatial navigation), the occipital lobe (which processes visual information), the temporal lobe (which is involved in storing memories and interpreting language and meaning) and the cerebellum (which coordinates precision and timing of movement)” People with diseases which diseases such as Parkinsons which have a decline on your motor functions can see an improvement in their fine motor skills as well as having a distraction from other symptoms.
It helps prevents arthritis and tendinitis.
Similarly to how we have to constantly use our brains to keep them healthy we also have to use our joints. Knitting is gentle enough that it helps to build up the cartilage, making the joints stronger. And even if you already have arthritis theres still hope, prior to knitting simply soak your hands in warm water to help with mobility and use large needles.
It slows cognitive decline.
Anything which continually uses and stimulates your brain helps slow down cognitive decline. And with knitting being something you can do for prolonged period of time it’s even better as the more you use your brain the healthier it will be and the longer it will last. Studies have found that when seniors engage in crafts such as knitting they are 30-50% less likely to have ‘mild cognitive impairment’
It gives you a sense of pride.
Is there anything better than someone asking where you bought something from and turning around and saying you made it? I think not.
For some great free patterns, check out this website here: http://www.loveknitting.com/free-knitting-patterns