Was one of your New Year's resolutions to learn a new skill, quit a bad habit, meet new people, or just relax?
Well have I got a one step solution for you: KNITTING!
Before you freak out, just know a few things:
1. You don't have to learn to knit a sweater right off the bat. Instead, learn something simple like a dishrag or a scarf.
2. You do not have to be an artist to learn to knit. Out of all the ways I could be described, "crafty" is not a word that would be used.
3. You don't have to start when you are young. I actually learned from a group of lovely ladies at our church by joining our Prayer Shawl Ministry. I had no idea how to knit prior to attending that first meeting.
Handicrafts have made a kind of comeback in recent years - lots of stars have made it chic (Scarlett Johansson, Catherine Zeta Jones, Julia Roberts, and Ryan Gossling!)
Here are a few reasons to consider knitting as one of your new hobbies in 2014:
- Helps keep fingers nimble - those that suffer from arthritis can benefit from the movement.
- Crushes cravings - your hands are not idle which can result in a replacement for addictions like smoking or eating.
- Equalizer - you can knit at any age, whether you are a man or a woman, and you can knit anywhere.
- Relaxing - repetitive movements cause your brain to slow down and relax...unless one of your animals get a hold of your yarn...ah hem. My friends and I actually take our knitting with us when when we travel to calm anxiety. Which brings me to...
- Therapeutic - knitting has been shown to aid people with depression, ADHD, anger management issues, and even PTSD because it increases Dopamine in the brain and let's their minds slow down and focus on the task at hand (pardon the pun.)
- Learning tool - there are visual, aural, and kinesthetic learners as well as combinations of all three. Some teachers are using knitting and other handicrafts as teaching tools for kids that learn better by doing.
- Community - like I mentioned, I learned to knit via a Prayer Shawl Ministry group at church; we are a varied group from children to grandparents, boys, girls, men & women. When people see me knitting out in public, it is always a conversation starter. Some of my girlfriends and I get together during the week for "Coffee & Crochet" (although since some of us knit, I prefer "Sip & Stitch.")
- Sense of accomplishment - that feeling when you finish a project is almost euphoric. It is so cool to sit back and admire what happens when a couple of needles, some yarn, and time all come together.
- Gifts - if for nothing else, the fact that you can make meaningful gifts for those you love is a pretty neat byproduct of the process.
Just for fun...
I had a pretty muted purple skein of yarn and thought it would make a nice scarf so I made up this non-pattern. Much like my non-recipes that are very much by tasting, this non-pattern is very much by seeing.
This simple non-pattern will continue until your scarf is the desired length. If you knit it short, you could use it as a dishrag or facecloth depending on if you used cotton yarn or not. If you cast on more stitches, you could turn this pattern into a place mat - just make sure that you cast on a multiple of 5. This is so simple, flexible, and adjustable.
I call it 5 x 5 because each stitch is repeated 5 times for 5 rows. It makes a sort of basket-weave pattern with ever-so-slightly ruffled edges.
5 x 5 Scarf (or Dishrag) Pattern
1 small skein yarn (cotton if you want to use it as a rag or facecloth)
#7 Knitting Needles
Cast on 30 stitches.
Row 1: Knit 5, Purl 5, K5, P5, K5, P5
Rows 2-5: Repeat Row 1
Row 6: Purl 5, Knit 5, P5, K5, P5, K5
Rows 7-10: Repeat Row 6
Repeat Rows 1-10 five times to make a dishrag or facecloth.
Repeat Rows 1-10 until you have reached the desired length of your scarf.
This is part of WFMW.