Having a hobby brings us joy. But joy isn’t the only thing that makes them so important. Hobbies also provide us with new skills, or help us perfect those we already have. Hobbies are a challenge. They keep us attentive and make us learn new things. They also make us calmer and more fulfilled because they provide an escape from day-to-day worries, they increase our confidence and they enrich our lives and widen our horizons. And, best of all, they are activities WE choose for ourselves, as opposed to obligations.
Today we are lucky that there are many activities to choose from. In these stressful times, craft hobbies are on the rise amongst adults. Step-by-step guides for do-it-yourself projects, for handcrafted jewellery, clothes, and all sorts of objects are becoming a common thing, thanks to the internet.
If you are looking to learn a new skill, or you are looking for a new hobby, there are many reasons to try knitting. Why grab your Quince & Co yarn and your ChiaoGoo bamboo needles? That’s easy! – Because knitting gives you something to do, while providing you with pieces of clothes you’ll love.
Knitting is Good for You
Like with other hobbies that require attention and focus, knitting helps reduce stress levels. It’s also repetitive, so it acts like a relaxation method. It takes your mind in a meditation-like state, which helps with problems such as anxiety or sleeping problems. It helps against boredom, loneliness and against feeling useless.
With knitting, you are not only having fun, and relaxing, but you are also making yourself or someone else, a unique piece. So, not only is it creative, but it also has a final product. Having something nice that you’ve made for yourself or as a gift, will also boost your self-esteem. Although it’s an individual craft, it can be done in a group. You can get a knitting class or join a workshop, or you can invite your friends and knit together.
Another great thing about having knitting as a hobby is that you can take with you anywhere you go. It doesn’t require much. And every time you do it, you know that you’re really making something.
The Devil Finds Work for Idle Hands
As an activity you would do in your free time, whether to fill your time with something, because you love to knit, or because you have some goal, like a specific hat or a jumper you want to knit, knitting is much more than just a hobby.
Like other pastimes that require attention, focus and being present in the moment, this activity will reduce your stress, similarly to meditation. Knitting helps reduce anxiety and helps improving overall mental health.
When we are bored, angry, disturbed, or anxious, and our hands are idle, bad habits tend to arise, return or worsen. Some will bite or pick their cuticles or nails; some will smoke more than usual or even start smoking again after quitting. We know unhealthy behaviour patterns are really hard to kick, and boredom and idle hands are the biggest promoters of bad habits.
Crafts like knitting keep your hands busy and your mind engaged, so it can help fight those unhealthy habits. Besides, the feeling of the yarn and the needles helps us feel more grounded.
In fact, some therapists and healthcare professionals recommend knitting to promote calmness, and to help with social skills. It’s also featured in craft programs in schools, as well as in prisons, for the same reason.
People with chronic pain report that knitting helps them with pain management. This is due to the fact that it distracts the mind, which helps in reducing the pain and its effects.
Like meditation, knitting can help you with staying mindful, but unlike meditation, with knitting you will have something to show for it. This makes it a very worthy and useful skill. You are creating something useful and beautiful while relaxing and this will feel like a great achievement.
Things You Need to Know Before Beginning
While fun, knitting can be hard to pick up, so if you are just beginning, it’s a good idea to get ready in advance. The essential tools you need are needles and yarn. For beginners, it’s recommended to buy wooden or bamboo needles, since they’ll feel more comfortable in your hands and stitches don’t slide off of them easily. Other materials, like aluminium or plastic needles, might be a bit harder to use for a first-timer.
Selecting the right yarn might be very hard, since the options are endless. For your first knitting project, you should start with a thicker yarn, anything from medium to heavy worsted weight yarn. The goal is to make it easier for you to see what you are doing. This will make it easier for you to see individual stitches and to spot any mistakes. Also, with thicker yarn, your first project will be done faster.
It might seem like a good idea to go for the cheapest yarn you find for your first project, since it’s a new hobby, and you don’t want to spend too much money, in case you decide not to continue. But, why not start this new adventure with better materials, so you are more likely to love the result? This doesn’t mean you should spend some crazy amount of money to have a good first project. Choose a yarn from natural fibres like Belissimo, Blackwattle or Quince & Co yarn, made from a combination or 100% alpaca wool, Australian merino wool, silk, cotton etc.
While knitting activates your brain and your vision, your hands are the ones that do the hard work. If you wish to fall in love with your new craft, you want your first more serious contact with yarn to be pleasant. The way something feels when we touch it, can change our whole perception of it. Touch is not a sense one should ignore. Soft fibres that feel good when we touch them, are more likely to make us fall in love with what we are doing. With quality soft yarns, not only will your piece look great once you finish it, but it will also feel good while you are working on it.