Knitting to Reduce Stress-
A new year always brings thoughts of new beginnings whether it is a diet or exercise or a commitment to a hobby. So of course, when we think of hobbies at Mountain Meadow Wool, we think of fiber hobbies – knitting, crochet, weaving and felt. We love fiber and the creativity it inspires and the beautiful items that can be made, but that is not the only reason for doing it. Research is showing that knitting can help to calm, focus, and refresh. I think that the calming aspect goes back even further… to the fiber itself.
photo by Les Triconautes
Growing up I remember loving to touch fiber and wool, and being fascinated by it. I was 16 and the farmer next door had some wool to get rid of so I asked if I could have it. I knew nothing about wool but I went to the library and found a book on washing wool fleece. Just the process of taking a dirty fleece that smelled of barnyard and lanolin and washing it in tubs until it transformed into clean, fluffy, white stuff, was enough to hook me!
I have driven by cotton fields and stopped to collect cotton by the road and I have planted flax to just see if I could get linen started (Ummm not so easy). The point is that natural fibers draw us all. We love to look and touch. That by itself is relaxing, calming, absorbing.
When you add the process of making something with this fiber whether it is spinning, weaving, knitting, crochet, slow stitching, or felting, there is the comfort and satisfaction of creating that cannot be beat. On top of that there is no doubt that developing an interest or hobby is good for you. It gives you a point of focus outside yourself.
Betsan Corkhill in her book “Knit for Health and Wellness” says “There is something vitally important about being actively creative, as opposed to being a passive recipient of a destructive force that you feel you have no control over, such as stress, depression, or pain. Our work indicates that creative ability is intricately linked to well-being, psychological flexibility, and the ability to self-manage and problem solve. Thinking creatively gives you more options.”
Knitting experts are encouraging it as a meditative process—a way to keep phones out of hands and minds busy but at peace. As a form of meditation. "Medknitation," as some will say. The same process works for weavers and crocheters and spinners and felters and more.
One study found that the act of knitting lowers heart rate by an average of 11 beats per minute, signifying a sizeable increase in relaxation.
So if stress and anxiety are mounting and you feel the need to look at your phone to see the latest news….pick up your needles and hooks and breathe!
Karen - Founder MMW