I’ve always loved knits — as a teenager I’d spend most of my earnings from my part-time job on sweater sets and cozy socks.
However, I used to cringe at the sight of the homemade mittens I’d get from my grandmother. They were not “chic” enough for me. Because of that, I coined knitting as something old, bored people did to occupy their time.
But when I became a stay-at-home-mom, I decided to put my ego aside and give a pair of needles a go after seeing a glorious throw blanket someone had knit.
This was not your grandma’s afghan. It was chunky and soft and looked like it belonged on the cover of Martha Stewart magazine. I had to have it and it wasn’t available in stores. I went to my local craft store to get the supplies and had my sister give me a knitting lesson. This may sound dramatic, but that’s the day my life changed.
You must know, I’ve never considered myself to be a creative person. I loved to write poetry and draw, but I didn’t think I was good at either and figured trying to knit something would be a shitshow.
It wasn’t long after I got started on my blanket I found myself imagining all the things I could create for me and my kids while my babies slept— leg warmers, scarves, hats, sweaters, and blankets.
Daydreaming was part of the fun since the actual knitting and making the actual things takes time and practice. Though I can tell you in hindsight that it’s definitely worth it to stick with it. And heres’s why:
Knitting reduces stress.
I’ve always struggled with anxiety and OCD. When I started knitting, I could feel some of that melt away. I’m not waiting until my 60s to reap those benefits.
Knitting has been proven to lower cortisol levels. It keeps my busy mind occupied. I love nothing more than to sit in front of a show and keep my hands and brain moving. It helps stop the over-thinking monsters that like to creep in when I am still because I have something to focus on.
It’s so exciting to create.
It’s so enticing to always have a fun project to look forward to. The possibilities with knitting are endless, not to mention it’s easy to undo your work and start over if you’ve made a mistake.
You can take it anywhere.
Knitting is portable too. You can throw your needles, yarn, and instructions in a bag and take it wherever you go. Have I been known to embarrass the hell out of my kids and knit some arm warmers at a baseball game? Of course I have. Those games are long and an easy project that you don’t have to pay attention to is perfect for a game (or movie or concert or the beach).
It makes you happy.
Most importantly, I noticed after I started knitting, I was a lot happier. In fact, knitting has been proven to be good for your mental health. There were mornings after I learned to knit when I’d wake up so excited to get out those needles and finish a sweater I was making for my kids or a friend. It was like a whole new world. Since I’ve been knitting I have a huge boost in my self-confidence because it takes time to learn and I’m proud of myself for sticking with it.
Finishing a project gives me a sense of accomplishment and it’s so fun to look for a new pattern to try. You also find other knitters online, or while you’re browsing the yarn store, who give you tips and want to talk knitting for hours — your circle will grow, for sure.
You can become an expert.
When I first started knitting, I noticed some knitters were so good they didn’t even have to look at their projects. And I kid you not— I joined a knitting group once where I watched a woman fall asleep each week, but she kept on knitting! I’m not that good, but I can now knit without looking at my hands. (Yes, I am proud.)
Keep in mind there is a learning curve. When I first started knitting, it was hard and my shoulders were aching. Here’s what I learned from those early days:
1. Start simple. Practice your knits and pearls until you feel comfortable before diving into a project.
2. Don’t wrap your yarn around your needle too tight; give it a bit of slack and relax those shoulders.
3. YouTube videos are a great help. The one below is my favorite.
4. Purchasing a knit for your first project which has everything you need to get started will keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
Bottom line: knitting is the best. I won’t put down my knitting needles, and I don’t care if it puts me in #grandmastatus. It makes me happy and makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something. That’s reason enough.
If you’ve been wanting to give it a try but have been thinking you’ll wait until retirement, don’t.
Get to the craft store, pick out some yummy yarn, and start a simple project. I promise you, it will improve your life.