AdvantagesGood HealthKnitting Yarn

Knit or Crochet Your Way to Good Health

A mental work out

Often described as yoga for the brain, knitting & crochet provides an exhilarating mental work out, forcing devotees to focus on the job in hand, unless they want to end up with a finished item which is out of shape and full of holes.

The repetition involved in the task can be soothing, and induce an almost zen-like state. This in turn can help to ease anxiety and stress, and lift depression.

For this reason knitting has been introduced in places such as hospitals, clinics, schools and even prisons, to help improve the state of mind. Many experts believe that the combination of simple, repetitive movements together with the focus of having a pattern to concentrate on is an effective formula for improving mood and emotions.

Knitting has proved particularly useful in conditions such as eating disorders. In one study almost three quarters of participants said that knitting helped them to think about food and the desire to binge or purge far less, and quelled their obsession. More than half agreed it provided a sense of achievement and encouragement.

So we’ve established that knitting and crochet is great for keeping our brain cells in good shape and keep stress levels down what else is it good for?

Grieving and bereavement

It can be difficult to function normally following bereavement where there’s a great sense of loss and little inclination to do much.

Knitting can be a great way to start to do things again; the repetitive, non-demanding nature of knitting can slowly soothe the soul, providing something to concentrate on and shutting out all unwanted thoughts.

Other activities such as reading can be too demanding, but knitting hits the ideal point between two extremes.

Dementia

Dementia comes in many different forms but probably the two best known of them all are Alzheimer’s disease and senile dementia.

The various types of dementia manifest in a similar way, with patients becoming confused in familiar surroundings in the later stages of the disease.

Certain cognitive activities have been found to be beneficial to the brain functioning of sufferers, and can help to delay the onset or rapid development of symptoms. Cognitive activities which have been identified as being particularly beneficial include painting, crossword puzzles and knitting.

The key is that the activity must require the individual to focus inwards in order to complete the task, giving the body a powerful shot of dopamine. Dopamine is often referred to as the “natural anti-depressant” and has many benefits relating to mood and emotion.

However, for the activity of knitting in particular, the areas in the brain that are stimulated include those used for attention span and memory. These are the same two areas which are typically attacked by dementia too. Although knitting doesn’t offer a cure for the disease, some research has suggested that it may slow the progression down by as much as 50%.

And for those individuals who started knitting earlier in life, before age 50, their chances of developing dementia at all is significantly slashed.

Sleep disorders

Suffering from insomnia is particularly unpleasant but it can provide the ideal opportunity to learn a new craft.

Picking up a project which isn’t too taxing mentally has been shown as helping to ease the symptoms of insomnia and increase the chances of sleep. The Mind/Body Medical Institute reported a study from Professor Herbert Benson that suggested all of the patients on their study had recorded improved sleep patterns with knitting, with nine out of ten able to eliminate the need for medication as a result.

Conclusion

No-one is suggesting that knitting is a magical panacea for all ills but there’s certainly evidence that it can help with a number of different medical conditions. If you want to protect those brain cells and lift your mood, regardless of your age, bring out those knitting needles and tell anyone who asks that you are looking after your long term health

AdvantagesKnitting Yarn

5 great reasons to take knitting up as a hobby

Here at Little Lamb Wool we are avid knitters and believe there is a lot of enjoyment to be experienced from this rewarding hobby. Thinking of having a go at knitting but need a little more persuading? Check out our five great reasons to take up knitting as a hobby below.

1. Make personalised and affordable gifts for others

Once you have mastered the basics of knitting and had plenty of practice, you will soon be able to make good quality knitted gifts for others to wear and enjoy. Not sure what to buy your friend for their birthday? Why not knit them a new jumper? Or if a family member has had a new baby, you could knit them a pair of booties or mittens. The possibilities for gifts are endless!

It is also worth considering donating your knitted creations to charities. All sorts of charities ask people to send in their knitted goods, including those located in the UK and elsewhere in the world. By donating a knitted blanket, a hat or scarf, to keep someone warm and comfortable, you could be making a real difference to his or her life.

If this is something you would like to do, we recommend contacting your local neonatal ward, as many premature babies are in need of blankets and hats or your local homeless charity.

2. Knitting is a rewarding hobby

We don’t know about you, but for us, there is nothing more rewarding than learning a new skill. Some people find knitting easier than others, but with a little practice you will master the basics in no time! There are a number of interesting techniques you can learn and an endless number of projects you can try out, so you will never get bored. Just wait until you finish your first knitted project, you will be so proud of yourself that you will be showing it to as many people as you possibly can!

3. Social knitting is a great way to meet people

Many people think of knitting as a hobby you do alone, but that is just not true! There are so many different social knitting groups to join in the UK – we bet there is even one in your local area. Social knitting groups provide a great way to meet new people and share passion for your hobby. Of course, the topic of conversation isn’t always knitting-related; the great thing about knitting is that you can multi-task so you will be able to chat for hours on end whilst still being productive!

If you have moved to a new area or work from home and are looking for a way to meet new people and make new friends, joining a knitting club is a fantastic idea. Simply do a quick search on Google and we bet you’ll find a knitting club you can join.

There is also an avid online knitting community that you can get involved with. As well as numerous forums and Facebook groups related to knitting, many hobbyists also set up blogs where they share their creations, tips and knitting related news to communicate and engage with others. If you are a Twitter user, you may want to consider joining in with #knittinghour chat that takes place every Thursday from 7:30pm until 8:30pm.

4. Knitting is a way to make money

What many people don’t realise is that knitting can be a hobby that pays. Although some knitters are happy giving their creations away for free to friends and family, if you wanted to supplement your current income, you may want to consider selling your creations at local craft fairs or online. Knitted items are particularly popular in the winter, so we recommend asking around to see if any of your friends want to place an order. If you fancy selling your creations online, we recommend checking out Etsy and creating your own Facebook page.

5. Knitting is very relaxing

Whilst your hands may be constantly moving, knitting is still one of the most relaxing hobbies you can do. One of our favourite things about it is that you can actually knit whilst doing other things, like watching TV! Of course, in order to multi-task well, you will need to master the knitting basics, but once you have done that, you’ll be able to watch TV, chat to your friends and watch your kids all whilst knitting your next project.

Many people find knitting very therapeutic, particularly those with highly stressful jobs. Because you can get into a routine with it, you will be able to let your mind wander elsewhere and relax whilst still being productive.

Now can you see why we think knitting is one of the best hobbies? Not only can you get enjoyment from it but there is also the opportunity to help others and make a few extra pennies!