Though many people associate knitting with grandmother’s clicking heavy needles in rocking chairs, knitting has been revolutionized in the past few years and is now a hip hobby and even livelihood for thousands of Americans.
Thanks to yarn bombing and Vogue Knitting Magazine, knitting has now been identified as a unique art form, worthy of our adoration.
Many people are baffled by knitting as a hobby. Ten hours to make a scarf seems like work, but repetition helps to relieve stress, a tricky pattern helps to work the brain, and finishing a project gives a knitter a sense of completion which might provide fulfillment not felt in everyday life.
I was one such person. With constant stress from a busy life, I found that knitting helped alleviate that stress and calm me after a long day. Additionally, an active learner who fines happiness in learning new things, knitting is a constant opportunity to learn new techniques and stitches.
I have literally credited knitting to saving my life: more specifically, my sanity and my sense of self-worth. Like others, I found myself at a crossroad where I didn’t get all of the fulfillment I thought I should out of life. It seems silly that I would find that fulfillment from yarn and needles, but through research and my own contacts, I’ve found that I am not alone.
Knitwear Designer, Laura Zukaite, notes that knitting is therapeutic for her. “It is like yoga without sweat. Even if I am knitting the most complicated pattern, it relaxes me,” she says.
“I take knitting with me on my train commute. In thirty minutes, I forget about the world around me and I get off of the train with a clear head."
Working with fiber is often a career path for many, like Laura, who have made a living out of knitting, designing, and even spinning and weaving.
In every city and even in some cases, small town, in the United States, you will find a yarn shop and with new sites like Etsy, lots of knitters, weavers, and dyers are selling their wares online.
Personally, I find this a great way to earn extra money doing something I would be doing anyway, so it’s a win win. Also, after a trying day, it’s nice to know that I can come home and make something that will be meaningful to someone else.
“Knitting gives you a sense of accomplishment,” says Laura. “No matter if you are making a sweater or a scarf, you feel productive. It is still one of the things remaining that you can accomplish with your own hands.”
Knitting items for others, whether it be for charity or gifts, added an additional layer of self-worth and happiness.
“I don’t knit,” says Rachel of Garnerville, NY. “But, I’ve been the beneficiary of a good number of knitted items over the year. My favorite is a gorgeous afghan my friend Debbie made us as a wedding gift. She used all the leftover wool from 5 years of knitting gifts and it has ever color and an abundance of love knitted into it.”
Rachel is not the only one who feels this way and from asking around, I found that people who receive handmade items feel special knowing that the creator spent so much time and attention on a special gift for them.
I have found a lot of pleasure from knitting personally and professionally, but also find that in times of tragedy, though I may not be able to do a lot financially, I can knit prayer shawls, afghans, hats, and scarves. I have also found a sense of community with other knitters both in my town, across the country, and online. Without knitting, I’m not sure I would have the sense of accomplishment I do today and I am eager to share this skill with others as it was to me.
“It is very important to pass this skill on to other generations. With the boom of technology, we sometimes forget the joy of making things ourselves,” Laura notes.
To learn more about knitting and to get lessons, find your Local Yarn Shop (LYS) and challenge yourself to create, gift, and inspire yourself.