Knitting as Therapy: Why Knitting Can Save Your Life – or Just Your Sanity

What makes knitting as therapy so effective? Read about two women who say knitting or crochet helped save their lives, and why knitting is so beneficial to our minds, hearts, and spirits. Recently, two Internet articles shined a spotlight on women who say that either knitting or crochet saved their lives. First, this article by Julia Porter: Second, a Lion Brand blog post regarding a recently published book actually called “Crochet Saved My Life“: Why Knitting Makes Good Therapy What is it about knitting that makes it so therapeutic? Here are the reasons I have read and experienced. 1. It is repetitious. There are really only two stitches in knitting: the knit stitch and the purl stitch. Of course, many stitches are variations of these two stitches (like yarnovers, slipped stitches, and many types of increases or decreases). But most stitches are closely related to the basic knit or purl, even if they have found their own special quality. The repetitious nature of knitting allows you to develop a rhythm, and that rhythm seems to speak deep within our hearts and souls and heals them both. Knitting has that in common with dance, if you think about it. 2. It is tactilely enjoyable. To me, there is nothing like the feeling of a warm pair of bamboo or aluminum needles between my fingers with soft yarn flowing through and away from them. Not all yarns are perfectly soft and smooth, of course, but most of them (to me, anyway) have their own charms to the touch. 3. It can be mindless, allowing your mind to drift while you enjoy the rhythm of your stitches. It can be rather meditative, in that way. 4. It can, at other times, be quite mindful. If you are following a chart or having to count your stitches closely, this can take your mind off just about anything difficult or painful that you may be facing. I know from experience that it’s difficult to think about the annoying person I just talked to on the phone when I’m faced with keeping track of a complex bit of knitting. 5. It is creative. You don’t even have to actively knit to enjoy the creative side of knitting. Just choosing your raw materials — whether you’re finding the right yarn, browsing through patterns, or even selecting the right set of needles — contributes to the creative process. And once you launch that process, it is tremendously satisfying to know that your hands will create something new where there was nothing. 6. It makes you think of someone other than yourself. Whenever you knit for someone else, you think about that person, whether it is a loved one or someone you’ve never met who will receive your knitting through a charity. That’s why charity knitting, in particular, can be so therapeutic. I often like to remind my fellow knitters, especially those just starting out, that knitting should be fun. While that is certainly true, I would also like to encourage you, my fellow knitters, to reach for your yarn and needles whenever you’re not feeling at your best. Whether you are facing a serious illness, going through a difficult time in your life, or merely having a bad day, knitting can help. Go ahead — see just how valuable knitting as therapy can be!