Knitting to Reduce Stress

Knitting to Reduce Stress-

Welcome 2021

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

 

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Melinda Fisher January 20, 2021

Stitching handwork of all kinds are meditative. My late sister showed me what a valuable tool knitting was to her life. She would have loved the term “medknitation”…it describes what knitting meant to her, to a “t”. I have come to enjoy knitting because of my sister’s love for knitting. Glad I read your blog this evening! Medknitation!!

Lee Ann Davison February 02, 2021

For many years a favorite way to reduce stress and recharge my life has been to just walk through a craft/sewing store just to LOOK at all the yarns and dream about what I might want to make…I call it Fiber therapy.

Cathy February 02, 2021

Knitting is my favorite way to relax. Sometimes I relax a bit longer than I should! My only problem is so much yarn and so little time along with my tendency for a little ADHD (new project, new project, new project).

I have a group of work friends, retired and active that get together monthly to sip wine and yes , sometimes we knit. We have formed such a lasting bond and have been able to support each other in tough times. While going through chemotherapy, I was gifted a lap throw that was made up of squares knitted by each member as they learned to knit. We have continued to support each other by building many more blankets when friends have lost parents and spouses as well as happy times (babies and new homes).

As a nurse in this Covid world, knitting and connection with my fellow knitters (Zoom meeting and in warmer weather outdoor knitting) is so valuable for mental health.

Meghan M Criss February 23, 2021

I love feeling the wool run through my fingers and seeing something bloom off my needles. Knitting is in itself relaxing, and learning something new is uplifting and exciting, so knitting is a perfect hobby. And by the way, I hope to visit your mill in the next few years!

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