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I learned to knit when I was a little girl still in elementary school, and I have continued knitting throughout my life. I also learned how to play hopscotch as a little girl, but I didn’t continue playing hopscotch all my life! So what’s so special about knitting that has kept me at it throughout so many seasons of my life?

#1  Knitting involves a plethora of interesting tools and supplies.

Just think, yarns come in an ever-changing variety of fibers, textures, and colors. There are needles of metal, wood, or plastic; needles that are straight, circular or double-pointed; needles in sizes from teensy weensy to big and chunky. And the accessories — be still my heart — snips, markers, gauges, holders, bobbins, and assorted gadgets and gizmos. Altogether, I enjoy the knitting paraphernalia in its own right, even when I am not actually making anything! Of course, it seems impossible to ever part with any of it, so my collection is now quite extensive. I think I still have yarn from every project that I have ever made plus quite a few projects that never got off the drawing board. I really should give up some of my stash before it overflows its storage. (Anyone have experience with a good charity that could use it?)

#2  The creative process of knitting is fun and satisfying.

Learning new techniques always fascinates me. And I love the process of imagining, planning, and creating beautiful objects using all the techniques I have learned. Sometimes the technique comes first – I learn a technique, then dream up a project to use it on. Other times the project comes first – I want to knit a particular thing, and I have to learn a new technique to do it. Knitting is also satisfying because it appeals to all of my senses. There is the visual delight of colors, patterns, and designs; the touch of the yarn – soft, rough, smooth, nubby; the solid feel of the tools in my hands, and the sound of the rhythmic click-click-click of my busy needles. Often I will listen to music while I knit; right now I am on a classical music kick, listening to my Vivaldi channel on Pandora.

#3 Custom-made knitted items have a special appeal.

There is nothing quite like a pair of Maine wool mittens knit in an heirloom two-color pattern and shaped perfectly for the wearer’s hands. Or a soft and cuddly knitted piglet created especially for a cherished child. Or a warm and cheerful afghan to cover the bed of a homesick college student. Or a stylish scarf designed to match a favorite coat. I could go on and on (and I have for years!) A handknit item is more than the sum of its purpose and its construction; it carries with it all the love and care with which it was made.

#4 Knitting is relaxing, centering, and energizing at all once.

For me, knitting is one of my “flow activities”. One stress management expert, Elizabeth Scott, has described “flow” as “a state of absorption in a given activity to the point of being in a near meditative state, [which] can be great for your mental health and wellness.” There has been interesting research on “flow” in the field of positive psychology. Activities that fit the description often have elements of skill, creativity, deep involvement, and more. It turns out that most of my favorite “me-time” activities fit the bill: knitting, sewing, jewelry-making, scrapbooking. Of all the reasons that I knit, I suspect that this is probably the main reason that I have managed to fit knitting into my life for decades now. It’s nice to know that scientists have decided that something I enjoy is actually good for me! Now if they could just find that out about cheesecake…

— Penny

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5 Responses to Blog: Four Reasons Why I Love to Knit

  1. Cynthia says:

    I learned to knit in my 20’s and besides scrapbooking the only hobby I have consistently stuck with. Although I do know about the stash being quite overflowing – digital content seems to be the same way! I donated a bunch of my yarn to the local senior center. They used it to make mittens and scarfs for their craft fair.

  2. Deanna Emmert says:

    My daughter wanted to learn to knit when she was young, but I never learned so I could not teach her. When she was in 4th grade we found a knitting kit with a book on how to knit for kids. We gave it to her for Christmas that year. From that book she taught herself to knit. She has been doing it ever since and she is now 22. She loves to knit but between work and college she doesn’t have a lot of time for it. Still she squeezes out some time for it when she can.

    • Penny says:

      Deanna, I am so happy for your daughter! This is something that she can enjoy the rest of her life. And there are so many great resources and patterns available now, compared to when I learned. The only problem will be deciding which to do next!

  3. Jan says:

    I am so impressed! I have lots of friends who are knitters, but somehow it’s not just hypodermic needles that I stay away from. That doesn’t keep me from being a bit envious of my friends who can sew and knit!

  4. Suzanne Kusko says:

    Oh Penny, how I can relate! I have been a knitter and crocheter all my life and just love it.
    And I have just discovered beading!!!
    Head down and 4 hours later, I wonder where the afternoon has gone. I have to make deals with myself, to finish a scrapping project before I start on another necklace. Now, what should I do this afternoon??

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