knitting therapy

Another testimony to the importance of creative work

Although we have read many articles about how knitting reduces stress and creates a sense of well-being, this Guardian article by a doctor about how being creative drew her out of her depression and continues to be an important part of her balancing the work in her life, is a personal testimony that speaks to anyone in the medical field.  As busy as she is, she makes a little time every day to be creative, whether knitting, writing, or drawing.

The rise in popularity of “paint and sips” makes me think that there are many people who have written off their creative talents– “I can’t draw.  I’m not creative.” — but who, in fact, feel a need to create and feel safe in a class where everyone is doing the same painting.  The arts at all levels, and our ability to participate in them, define who we are as a society.  Let’s celebrate and support them in our communities by attending public performances, classes, art shows, and by making time every day “to knit four rows.”


Embrace Your Stash

Working with yarn is a sensual experience.  Some people like the softest yarns:  cashmere, alpaca, merino.  They gently stroke the fiber.  Some like the wool that still smells of the sheep.  They’re the ones that pick up the skein and stick their noses in it.  Most drink in the colors with their eyes—color-therapy.  It’s no surprise that crafting with yarn has grown in popularity as a therapeutic activity.  There is no doubt that it increases your endorphins, and if we assume it has the same effect as laughter, then even the anticipation of working with yarn increases your endorphins:  making you happier and less stressed.

Now, to the subject of the private yarn stash.  On a regular basis, customers share with me information about their yarn stash.  Many tell me they have more yarn in their personal stash than I do in the shop.  I believe them.  After all, I have a small shop.  Some keep their stash in plastic totes, some in cedar closets (I wish!), some on shelves behind glass doors like a private library.  All that yarn.  If left on its own too long it will start to entwine with the other yarn and soon you will have a chaotic orgy of yarn.  So it needs to be managed.  Separated into color or weight, re-rolled, bagged, touched, prioritized.

What I want you to do, though, is embrace it.  Yarn is therapy.  Bring it out of the closet, enjoy it.  Find stash-buster projects and plan ahead.  This morning I took out all my naturals, which I am collecting to make a shawl.  Every time I go to a festival or another yarn shop, I buy a natural yarn for this project.  When will I make it?  When the time is right.  How will I know?  I will begin.  In the meantime, just the anticipation makes me happy, and that, as the Master Card ad says, is priceless.

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