Health Benefits of Knitting and Crochet

by BrookeVanBeek

They are the "hidden arts," being stitched away in silence in lounge rooms across the world. But knitting and crochet can benefit your health in ways you've never considered.

Too often we associate crafts like knitting and crochet with adorable old ladies, cozied up in their rocking chair making miniscule little booties for grandchildren yet-to-be. But these crafts of long ago are the pastime of many a youthful individual, turning to yarn work to satisfy their need to create unique and beautiful items to decorate the home or give as special gifts to friends and family. But handling the hook or needle can do wonders for your emotional well-being as well.

It's Creatively Inspiring

Feeling a bit stagnant? Looking for a creative outlet? Take up a craft.

There is something incredibly satisfying about creating something, making a useable item from a few balls of coloured string.

It starts out as nothing, lumps of yarn sitting in a bag.  Then the twists and turns of the hook, the clacking and clicking of the needles, and a piece of fabric begins to emerge.  The fabric begins to take shape, and before you know it, you can see the item it will become--a warm jumper for your child, a handy market bag for fruit and vegetables, or a soft blanket for a new baby.

The first thing you make may be a bit bland, but keep it easy in the beginning to avoid feeling overwhelmed.  As you learn to read patterns and begin to get a feel for how the yarn and stitches come together, you will begin to create more unique gifts with greater colour and texture. 

And it will become addictive.  You will find yourself looking at clothing and your mind will design a pattern.  You will peruse the craft aisle at the art store and new projects will flood your brain.  The sense of creativity will begin to overflow into other areas of your life--cooking, fashion, decorating, even your work life will benefit from the new sense of creativity blooming in your mind.

It's Unique

Do you know many other knitters and crocheters? Neither do I. Be special.

What I love about creating a one-of-a-kind handmade gift is that I know the gift recipient won't be getting two--no worries about including a gift receipt so something can be exchanged, or wondering if the size is suitable.  When I have made a blanket, it is always unique in both colour and design.  Even when following patterns, I almost always make changes to suit my creative interest.  In an era when pretty much everything and anything can be bought, it is incredibly satisfying to know that my gift cannot be bought, that it only comes from me and my heart.

Perhaps there are people out there who would think a handmade gift is cheap or tacky--and maybe some of them are--but it is easy to make something modern and wearable through a pattern book.  One of my new favourite pattern books is "Candy Crochet" by Candi Jensen.  Her patterns are simple but polished and fresh.  She has a fantastic-looking argyle pattern for sweaters or vests and an adorable teddy face baby blanket--both are high on my to-make list!  You will also find patterns for dresses, jackets, hats, jumpers and booties--all of them cute and trendy.

Pattern books are also available showcasing hundreds of different knitting and crochet stitches.  That way, you can still create your own unique gift and embellish it with the stylish stitch of your choice.  The "A to Z of Crochet" book is for beginner to advanced crocheters and has hundreds of stitches to choose from.  Similarly, "400 Knitting Stitches" offers the same benefits for knitting projects.

A to Z of Crochet: The Ultimate Guide for the Beginner to Advanced Crocheter

Whether you're a new crocheter or just want to try new techniques, this must-have resource offers all the know-how you'll ever need. And it's now in paperback!* Walk step-by-ste...

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400 Knitting Stitches: A Complete Dictionary of Essential Stitch Patterns

Whether you're a beginning knitter or advanced, whether your tastes range from simple knit-purl stitching to fancy Daisy or Moroccan screen, a dictionary of stitch patterns is i...

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Candy Crochet: 50 Adorable Designs for Infants and Toddlers

Now all the very best designs from Candi Jensen have now been anthologized in one volume! Jensen's innovative patterns for cosy blankets, snuggly hats and charming dresses have ...

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It's Relaxing and Satisfying

Spend your evenings relaxing with a knitting project instead of just zoning out in front of the television.

Once we are finished work for the day and the kids are in bed, it's tempting to just chill out on the couch in front of the television.  You still can, but pick up some knitting needles or a crochet hook and get your hands busy.  There is something calming about twisting and knotting yarn into a cozy hat or handy dishcloth, or slowly working on a large afghan or sweater.  And when your hands are busy knitting, they will be less likely to stray into the fridge, keeping your waistline nice and trim!

The sense of satisfaction that comes with completing a project is well known to anyone with a creative side.  Sometimes you look at the pieces of a project, gaze at the balls of wool sitting before and wonder how you will ever finish your project--but when it's finally done, the sens of accomplishment is heart-warming.  And you will be racing to start another project! 

Plus, my daughters love when I make them something, be it a little jumper or a toy--a seeing them enjoy something I've made, just for them, is a delightful feeling.

Get To It! Start Knitting and Crocheting Now!

If you've lost your creative flare; if you're looking for something to give you a sense of satisfaction, a feeling of accomplishment; if you need something to keep your hands busy and calm your nerves; if your trying to keep yourself out of the refrigerator in the evenings; get to the craft store and run your hands over the shelves full of bright, beautiful, colourful wool.  Inspiration will quickly follow and you will marvel at your own talents and the uniqueness of your creativity.  Knitting and crochet has true benefits for your mental well-being others will adore the amazingly thoughtful and unique gifts you will create.

Updated: 03/08/2013, BrookeVanBeek
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BrookeVanBeek on 02/21/2013

I'm like you--often have too many things going at once! I have learned to complete on project before buying yarn for the next though. Then, when I have heaps of scraps left I try something different, like a crocheted tote bag. Knitting has to be simple for me also, and scarves are best for that! But you doesn't love a plethora of scarves in their wardrobe??!!

BrookeVanBeek on 02/21/2013

Thanks Katie! Have you ever tried to take up knitting or crochet yourself? I would say crochet is easier. Youtube is quite handy for how-to videos--I often refer to them to learn something new, like cable knitting or something.

katiem2 on 02/21/2013

I adore anything knitted or crochet. I love afghans, sweaters, stuffed animals and more that are made with yarn crafted with love by someone talented and giving. I wish I could do it myself. I have many very treasured gifts that were either crocheted or knit by friends and family and i treasure them as there is just nothing like it, I enjoyed this article. :)K

dustytoes on 02/21/2013

I so totally agree that knitting and crocheting are calming and also have many other benefits for us. I use my television time to knit something simple (actually that is all I knit) like a scarf, so I can watch a show and knit - which does keep me from wanting to snack. The problem I have is that I have about 10 projects going so I can switch between them and not get too bored. Where I live in New England there are many people who do yarn arts and also some who grow their own yarn on sheep and bunnies! Locally made yarn is easy to find.

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