A couple of weeks ago I told you about one of my friends who was having a rough time. Remember how I was going to send her a learn to knit kit? She's the friend of mine who has been documenting her jouney through a stress-related breakdown. Anyhoo she finally received the kit, which included a Lion Brand learn to knit kit (it's the one I used to learn myself), a Clover Notions kit, copies of Rachel Herron's My Life in Stitches and Debbie Stoller's Original Stitch n Bitch.
I sent the kit for two reasons
- I truly believe that knitting can change your life, especially if you're going through a difficult time. There's something about using your hands to figure out a new skill that rewires your brain and allows you to get outside of your regular struggles. I'm not the only one who feels this way. You should check out Stitch Links, a non profit organization in the UK that is studying knitting's ability to activate healing and decrease stress when used in combination with traditional medical treatments.
- When you give the gift of knitting you are giving your friend the opportunity to access not just a new craft, but a new culture, a new way of living.
Well guess what? She is using the kit! This is what she has to say about knitting:
It is oddly soothing and frustrating at the same time.
I thought this was hilarious. I even tried to tell her that the frustrating parts go away once you learn how to knit. But then I realized that they don't, especially as I was getting to the diminishing part of the Diminishing Rib Cardigan (more on that in another post). And that's ok. The frustrating parts are what keeps knitting interesting. It's the difficulty that makes knitting so rewarding. It's a reminder that if we try hard enough, hold ourselves to a high enough standard, be patient with ourselves and go back and fix our mistakes that we are capable of high achievement, even if that achievement is simply casting on stitches for a scarf and ribbing without creating yarn overs by mistake.
So when you're giving the gift of knitting, you're not just giving someone the gift of distraction by hobby. You're giving them a chance at raising their self esteem and showing them how truly capable they are. Because learning to knit is not easy. You are training your brain to do something physically new. It can be as difficult as learning to a bike. When you're casting on the first stitches your fingers are clumsy. You're insecure as to whether or not you're doing it the right way. You might be holding the needles so tight that your hands cramp. But then as you become used to the motions and your brain creates new synapses, knitting stitches and moving from needle to needle becomes second nature. Your muscle memory takes over and you're able to admire the finished work as it grows row by row.
This is the magic of knitting.
Was was learning to knit like for you? What did it bring into your life? Have you tried to teach others too? Please share your story in the comments.