January 13th, 2017

Learning to Knit

 

 

Confession: I am 38 years old and I am an avid knitter. What once seemed like an pastime for old ladies has now become my favorite hobby. And despite what anyone says, 38 is not yet “old.”

One of the greatest benefits of working as a freelance consultant is that I have a lot of freedom with my schedule. In my first year as a freelancer, I used that schedule flexibility to learn new things and take classes I wouldn’t have otherwise had the time to attend. In October, I started attending knitting classes on Monday mornings at a local yarn store with a friend of mine who recently retired (who now also has a flexible schedule!). The needles awkward and cumbersome when I first started, and the pot holder that I made wasn’t quite square. Then the scarf wasn’t quite long enough. Then the hat was way too big. Then the fingerless gloves weren’t exactly mirror images of each other. But I got better with each class project and a little more addicted to knitting with each creation I made.

I didn’t set out to knit with any intentions other than to pick up a new skill and maybe make a few gifts for friends. And I learned just enough before Christmas that I was able to make hand-knit gifts for several friends and family members. But I have gained so much more than a new skill: I found this unexpected inner peace when I am knitting. (Stick with me here, I know it sounds a little crazy.) Knitting has become a mediation for me. It clears my mind, calms me and provides me with a sense of creative accomplishment. Additionally, my nightly wine intake was curbed significantly as my hands were too busy to lift the glass. The bottom line: knitting makes me happier.

Curious about its effect on me, I did a little online searching about the benefits of knitting and turns out, I am definitely not alone. There are books, blogs and studies galore about the health benefits of knitting. A recent article on the New York Times website said, “Once you get beyond the initial learning curve, knitting and crocheting can lower heart rate and blood pressure and reduce harmful blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol.” It helps with weight control, breaking bad habits (like smoking), mental focus and arthritis. Knitting is like a miracle drug!

Getting started with knitting doesn’t require attending a class or going to a yarn store, though that was very helpful to me. I have also relied heavily on tutorial videos online for guidance and Instagram knitters for inspiration. Here are a few of my favorite resources:

Learning about yarns and needles and stitches has been fun, and I have really only scratched the surface. I will keep knitting and keep learning, and all my friends and family should expect hand-knit gifts for all occasions.

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