Is knitting only reserved for grannies? Is the hobby really difficult to learn? Why did knitting became popular again (even to younger women, men and children)? If learning how to knit takes a lot of time and practice, will it be worth it?
First, you can now see people of almost all ages (not just for grannies) who are busy knitting and creating a scarf, beanie, sweater or a full blanket. Second, learning how to knit could be really hard at first but with regular practice, you can really get good at it. Third, knitting has undergone resurgence maybe because more and more people are getting into handicrafts.
But if you decided to take the time to learn how to knit, will it be really worth it? The short answer is yes. That’s because knitting provides relief from stress and anxiety. While knitting, you’ll experience a sense of calm and focus. When our hands are busy, our minds become focused on the present (which is similar to the benefits of meditation).
Staying on the present
Why are many people anxious and stressed? That’s because they’re busy thinking or worrying about the past or future. Their focus is far away from the present moment. As a result, they don’t feel at peace. Worse, they imagine things that haven’t happened yet or won’t happen ever. In general, our minds can’t just tell the difference between the reality and our thoughts.
On the other hand, when your mind stays in the present moment, you’ll enjoy a sense of calm. That’s because you’ll only have a single thought filling your mind. You won’t think much about the past or future. Instead, you’ll be focused on the present which is a lot better for you.
Right now most of us don’t have any real problems (unless we’re starving or in pain right now). Most of the “problems” are just in our thoughts because of how we think about the past or future. Perhaps we have regrets about the past (e.g. a dozen what-ifs) Or, we’re worrying about a few things that might happen in the future. In any case, these are not happening in our present reality unless we accept them.
So if we focus on the now, we don’t have any real problems. We put behind the past and face the future when it comes (cross the bridge when we get there). There will be a lot fewer thoughts in our mind which results to a better well being.
How knitting makes us focused on the present
It seems that humans evolved to become busy with the hands (instead of thinking about a dozen things) and focus on the day to day instead of the long-term future. Back then, our ancestors were only concerned about daily survival (hunting and gathering food, evading and fighting predators and competitor tribes).
Also, there were no farms and permanent settlements back then. Our ancestors went where food was present. They didn’t worry much about if there would be a bountiful harvest. Constantly moving around was the way of life. There were no strong attachments about the future or past.
In contrast, today we’ve become attached to many things. We’re strongly attached to stability and security. As a result, this attachment brings worry, loneliness and anxiety. Instead of focusing on the now, our attention is always on the past or future.
Back on knitting
So how does knitting fit in with all of these? First, knitting brings us back to the present. Whenever we’re busy with our hands, our minds become focused on the here and now. It’s similar to writing on a piece of paper to organise our thoughts and express our feelings. When we use our hands and get physically busy, our focus shifts from random thinking into focused thinking and creation.
In fact, knitting is often said to be therapeutic. In many cases it seems that further analysing our own thoughts (e.g. rationalising, changing our mental perspective) doesn’t bring much benefit. Instead, the more effective approach is to focus on something external and performing certain physical actions such as knitting. Perform the motions first and the emotions will follow. It’s similar to smiling first before thinking of any happy thoughts. Smile first and happiness will follow (instead of the other way around).
Right now many groups of people take this approach. At first they just want to try knitting (add a new skill or hobby to their list or they’re just curious). But after a while, they are slowly realising the benefits. They’re noticing that they’re gaining mental clarity and focus while learning and doing the hobby. Some even reported that they experience a lot less anxiety and depression because of doing the craft.
Satisfaction of creation
There are dozens of other hobbies out there that may also give you focus, happiness and mental clarity. But what’s special and different about knitting?
Knitting will allow you to create something tangible and useful. You’ll gain a satisfaction of creation because you’re creating something you can show or use. You’ll also take pride in your accomplishment because you’ve created something out of your time and effort.
In contrast, most other hobbies don’t offer this kind of benefit. You might feel delighted or excited while performing those other hobbies (e.g. swimming, yachting). But will you have something to show for it aside from pictures to post on social media?
Other hobbies are still good and beneficial. What makes knitting stand out is the act of creation. This is in huge contrast with unproductive “hobbies” such as surfing the web, browsing other people’s activities in social media and watching funny YouTube videos. Have you ever been proud or gained a sense of satisfaction doing those things all day?
It’s entirely different when it comes to knitting. After a whole day of knitting it’s likely you’ve created a scarf, vest or a small sweater (well, expert knitters can get done a lot more in a day). At bedtime you’ll feel satisfied because you’ve done something productive the whole day. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment which can really boost your self-esteem.
An additional reward is you can give your creation to someone. It might be your partner, a child, a friend or a colleague. Whether it’s a hat, beanie, vest, a full sweater or a knitted home decor, the receiver of your creation will surely be delighted and thankful.
Should I start knitting? How to get started
Did you have other things you wanted to try but didn’t get the time to do them? If only you had done them that time, you might have more accomplishments today (or you’re not wondering what would have happened if you pursued them).
Time will pass anyway. No matter what we do, the clock will still make a move. It’s especially the case with knitting. If you start today, time will pass and you might as well use it for something nice and fulfilling.
So how to start with knitting? You can attend a beginner knitting class or get a mentor to teach you. Tutorial videos might also be helpful but there’s no substitute for in-person mentoring and training. You should also start small like knitting clothes and clothing accessories for babies and kids. You can also begin creating a dog coat or a home accessory.
At first you might get overwhelmed because there’s a wide range of knitting needles, yarns and patterns available. You’ll also encounter a lot of unfamiliar terms such as knit stitch and purl stitch. You might even struggle at first even when choosing a yarn, needle or pattern for your first project.
Notice that we’re setting clear and realistic expectations here. Knitting can be fun but learning it can take a lot of time and patience. After all, you’ll be learning a true skill which requires precise movements of the hands (and hand and eye coordination). Also, getting familiar with the different tools for knitting also require some good knowledge so you can get started properly.
To make the task a bit easier for you, you can enquire us here at The Aussie Knitting Co. As one of the most trusted destinations when it comes to knitting supplies and accessories, we’ll be delighted to welcome beginners in our store at 6-8 Brice Avenue, Mooroolbark Victoria 3138 Australia. We’ll be glad to assist you when you choose your first set of knitting supplies.
For over 23 years many Australian hobbyists visit us and buy from us when it comes to their knitting requirements. Call us today at + 61 03 9726 7291 and you can enquire us about our Specials or any recommendation for you to get started with knitting.