The Health Benefits Of Knitting

Howdy, knitters! It’s starting to look like this is turning into a blog that publishes on Wednesday, not Monday, isn’t it? I was out-of-town the last few weekends, and didn’t have Sunday afternoon to put the blog together like I usually do. My primary scheduling goal with this blog is to come out weekly. I’d like to have it out on Mondays, but that’s not always happening. Perhaps I’ll get back to my Monday schedule soon, or perhaps this shift to Wednesdays is going to be a semi-regular occurrence. Either way, I’m thrilled you’re back for my knitting ramblings. Unless this is your first visit, in which case I’m glad you found me and I hope you come back for more.

I haven’t done much knitting this week. Interestingly, however, I’ve run into several things in my knitting world that feature the health benefits of knitting, so that’s what I’ll be looking at later in the post. Before we get to that, let’s take a look at the other knitting-related things that have come across my radar this week.

This Week In Podcasts

I’m getting behind in my podcasts again. It’s like a yo-yo, eventually I catch up. As soon as I do, a whole new slew of podcasts hit my iPod. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining! I love having great knitting-related content to listen to, especially on my commute. Like I talked about last week, there are a lot of great podcasts out there. I only scratch the surface with what I listen to I listened six podcast episodes last week, from TwinSet, Knitting Pipeline, The Lost Geek, Knitcircus, 2 Knit Lit Chicks, and Fiber Hooligan.

On TwinSet #35 (Show Notes To Follow), Ellen and Jan had a great time joking about how far behind they were with show notes. As always, this podcast was full of general fun chatter about knitting and spinning (with some great tips about how to recover from broken singles that would make more sense to me if I knew how to spin). I especially enjoyed the story of the alpaca barn party.

Knitting Pipeline #164 (Spring Retreat Warm Up) was an episode devoted entirely to the recent Knitting Pipeline Retreat. Even though I didn’t go to the retreat (maybe next year!) and the retreat had already happened, I still had a great time listening to the episode anticipating all the fun that the retreat participants were in store for, along with some logistical talk about how the retreat will run.

The Lost Geek #29 (Grafting In Pattern) was my podcast highlight of the week. That’s because, to my surprise, Arlin mentioned the KnittingDaddy blog! (So a special welcome to all of you who have found me because of Arlin’s shout-out!) I was in the process of packing for the trip I went on this weekend and had the podcast playing while I packed when I heard Arlin talking about my blog, giving a particular shout-out to my knitting origin story, and how I started knitting while Blueberry was in the hospital. Thank you so much, Arlin, for the shout-out! In addition to mentioning my blog, Arlin also talked how to graft two pieces of a project together while maintaing the stitch pattern in the project. It’s a great skill to add to your knitting toolkit, and i enjoyed listening to Arlin talk about it.

Knitcircus #42 included talk about knitting events like Vogue Knitting Live in Seattle. Amy and Jaala also talked about several books they’ve been reading recently. They made me want to pick up a copy of Divergent and give it a read, e.g.

2 Knit Lit Chicks is a new podcast added to my rotation this week, at the recommendation of “lkmemphis” in a comment on last week’s blog entry about knitting podcasts. I got the feeling that Episode 64: The Chick Who Is Not At The Beach is an atypical episode, as there was only 1 chick present. Even with just half the team present, it was an enjoyable episode and I’m looking forward more episodes and making this a regular part of my podcast rotation.

In Fiber Hooligan: Mary Colucci, Benjamin interviews Mary Colucci, the Executive Director of the Craft Yarn Council (CYC). Wow, this was one of my favorite Fiber Hooligan episodes! Learning about the Craft Yarn Council was fascinating — how the council has championed the creation of standards for the fiber art, how the council works to empower people who teach the fiber arts, and the good work that the council is doing to promote the health benefits of knitting and crocheting. This podcast episode is one of the things that encouraged me to write this week’s blog on the benefits of knitting, and we’ll hear more from the CYC later in this post.

This Week In Ravelry

You know I’m a Susan B. Anderson fan. She’s currently running a sale in her Ravelry shop, where you can get 25% off any of her patterns by using the coupon code THINKSPRING. This code is good through Monday, March 31. Check out her blog for more details about the sale. I took advantage of the discount code to pick up Bunny Love & Extras, and I hope I’m able to carve some time out to knit this to be able to put in Blueberry’s Easter basket. Also in Ravelry, one of my friends in the IBK group gifted me a copy of The Beekeeper’s Quilt pattern. This is a pattern that I put on my queue/wish list when I first heard about it early in my knitting career, but then dropped it because I wasn’t doing much knitting with sock yarn at all. Lately, I’ve been doing quite a bit of knitting with sock yarn, and I’m ending up with sock yarn scraps, so it seemed like knitting up some hexipufs would be a fun thing to do with the leftover yarn. Back on my queue/wish list the pattern went, and my friend quickly gifted it to me. What a nice surprise!

I signed up for 2 swaps in the IBK group — a mini-swap, and a medium-sized one. I’ll write more about them over the next several weeks/months.

This Week On My Needles

It’s been a slow week on my needles. After getting the Beekeeper’s Quilt pattern, I knitted up my first hexipuff.

Hexipuff

My first hexipuff. Knitted from leftover yarn from my dad’s socks.

I think it’s too small. I used Size 3 needles because I couldn’t quickly get my hands on my Size 4 needles. It’s OK, though — the hexipuff knits up quickly, so it was no problem knitting up a test hexipuff to see how it would turn out. And even though this hexipuff probably won’t make it into my finished object, Blueberry can enjoy playing with it all she wants.

I also started my gift for the bunny-related mini-swap. No pictures, yet — as River Song would say: “Spoilers, sweetie!”

The Health Benefits Of Knitting

Ever since I fist started knitting, I have been especially interested in the health benefits associated with knitting. If you’ve read my knitting origin story, you know that I became a knitter partly as a means of coping with the stress associated with the premature birth and subsequent 5-week NICU stay of my daughter. Knitting is great therapy, even almost 2 years after the event that started it all for me. Whenever I hear about a news article or bit of research that validates the health benefits of knitting, especially as it relates to PTSD, I always perk up.

So it was very cool to hear the FIber Hooligan episode I mentioned earlier where they talked about the Craft Yarn Council’s efforts to promote the health benefits of knitting. Take a look at this video that they put together. It’s about 12 minutes long, and worth watching every second.

On top of that awesome video from CYC, I also ran across an article on CNN: This Is Your Brain On Knitting. The “human interest” hook to the article is the story of someone who was able to better deal with PTSD she suffered after the death of her brother by learning how to knit. The article goes on to point out gems like this:

Crafting can help those who suffer from anxiety, depression or chronic pain, experts say. It may also ease stress, increase happiness and protect the brain from damage caused by aging.

For those of us who are knitters, reading this is no surprise. However, it’s nice to see the therapeutic effects of knitting are starting to get a more detailed look out in the world at large. The article quotes clinical neuropsychologist Catherine Carey Levisay, who hammers home this point:

“There’s promising evidence coming out to support what a lot of crafters have known anecdotally for quite some time,” says Catherine Carey Levisay, a clinical neuropsychologist and wife of Craftsy.com CEO John Levisay. “And that’s that creating — whether it be through art, music, cooking, quilting, sewing, drawing, photography (or) cake decorating — is beneficial to us in a number of important ways.”

The article goes on to describe how knitting is a natural anti-depressant and may help protect the brain against the effects of aging. It’s a great read, and I do hope you check it out.

Another great resource for the health benefits of knitting (and crocheting and doodling) is Heather Ordover’s Cognitive Anchoring site. Heather collects tons of research about how helpful knitting is for our health, with a focus on why it is the perfect activity in which to engage when your brain really needs to pay attention to something important — a seminar, a business meeting, etc. If you’re the kind of person who finds that it’s easier to pay attention if your hands are busy doing something mindless, this site is for you! Heather encourages us to use her research to present to your boss, e.g., to show why you’ll be a more effective employee if you’re allowed to knit during meetings.

The health benefits of knitting is also something that Dr. Kelly frequently touches on in one of my favorite podcasts: Ewe University. Her “In The Classroom” segment often explores this topic in depth. I highly recommend her podcast.

Before closing the chapter on this blog entry, I want to point out that the CYC has a page dedicated to knitting and crocheting’s health benefits: The Truth About Knitting And Crochetting…. They’re Good For You! Notably, there is a form on that page that you can fill out to describe how knitting or crocheting has positively affected your health. They are collecting these stories, effectively crowdsourcing anecdotes as a form of “citizen science.” Please go over to their site and add your story.

Then when you’re done sharing your story with the CYC, join the conversation over here by dropping a comment describing how knitting has positively affected your health.

Until next week, keep on knitting for the ones you love!

-greg

Ravelry: KnittingDaddy

4 thoughts on “The Health Benefits Of Knitting

  1. Pingback: Checks, Socks, and Fish Lips – Unraveling

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