Crafts and Your Mind, Body and Soul

by Ragtimelil

Many people enjoy handicrafts because they find it soothing, but there may be even more benefits than many people realize.

Knitting, crochet, weaving and other crafts have been taught in schools over the years. Waldorf schools still offer knitting as an important part of their curriculum. In the 1800s and early 1900s weaving was taught to youngsters who were regarded as retarded. These crafts have more value than just being able to knit your own mittens or weave your own scarf.

From the beginning, we explore with our hands. Linda Skolnik and Jancie MacDaniels say in their book, "The Knitting Way," that we pray with our hands when we knit. Our head, heart and hands join together to make order from the materials. The physical act of creating with crafts such as knitting or weaving has been shown to alter our state of being. There is scientific evidence that it connects the right and left sides of the brain. Even more there are claims that these types of crafts l can release oxytocin, the “cuddling” hormone.



Knitting is definitely a cross –brain activity. Following a pattern is very analytical and is a left-brained activity, but the soothing and repetitive motions are very right-brained. Weaving, knitting and many other crafts can become very repetitive and can be done almost aromatically. This can lead to a mental state that is very much like meditation. Mediation decreases the blood pressure and slows down the heart rhythm. Rhythmic motion has been shown to reduce tension.


Both Sides Now



The left side of the brain is very analytical. This is the side that deals with following a pattern or calculating the amount of yarn needed for a warp. The right side deals with emotions. The two sides communicate through the bridge called the corpus collosum. When the two sides are communicating freely, we become a more harmonious being. There is evidence that this can change not only or brain activity, but our moods as well. It is thought to block the flow of unwanted and disturbing images.

Muscle Memory

Learning a new craft can be a struggle, like any new skill. It can be frustrating trying to remember how to move your hands and make the stitches, but once learned, the hands themselves remember the motion, often referred to as “muscle memory” and the craft can be accomplished on autopilot. I've experienced this sensation while playing an instrument. I couldn't remember how a tune went, but my hands did it anyway.

Weaving class


Many knitters like to knit while watching TV or visiting with a friend. The knitting gatherings have become very popular over the past few years with everything from a weekly knitting group gathering in the local library to an official Stitch 'n Bitch group made popular in 1999 bDebbie Stoller.

Our grandmothers knew all along that there was a peace to the practice of crafts. Spinning, weaving, knitting and other crafts weren't only done for the sake of the products, although that was the reason given. They knew that everything was connected, mind, body and spirit. 

Man Weaving on a Large Hand-Loom
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Updated: 10/29/2012, Ragtimelil
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Ragtimelil on 02/08/2013

Funny. I've been watching some old Miss Marple movies and knitting along. Crochet is nice too. I use to do a lot but got tendonitis in my hands Can still knit though

AngelaJohnson on 02/08/2013

I love to read Agatha Christie books and her character, Miss Marple, was always knitting. I don't knit, but some day I might try crochet.

Ragtimelil on 11/25/2012

You are so right. I need to get started on Christmas gifts!

Ragtimelil on 11/15/2012

We need the young people to learn these crafts and keep them alive!

katiem2 on 11/15/2012

The the titles for the guides to learning cross stitch, crochet and knitting. These will make for great gifts all year round. Nice for younger people too, maybe they'll pick up the art. :)K

Ragtimelil on 11/15/2012

I could use one here too. I used to belong to the weaver's guild in NH. I haven't been able to join the Houston one.

BrendaReeves on 11/15/2012

I'm a knitter. I had a knitter's group going at a Starbucks in CA. I sure miss it and need to get another group going here in Kentucky.

Ragtimelil on 11/14/2012

I used to knit watching TV when I had one. Now I watch movies on my computer. Not as comfortable, but still entertaining.

dustytoes on 11/14/2012

I like to knit while I watch television. It keeps me from snacking! I find it to be very calming as you have said. That picture of the woman at the loom reminds me so much of my grandmother!

Ragtimelil on 11/07/2012

Thanks. You are so right - now, where is my knitting....

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