“Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn’t hurt the untroubled spirit either.” - Elizabeth Zimmerman, hand-knitting teacher. I took up knitting during a turbulent time in my life. A time when I had to deal with a lot of medical questions; a lot of ups and downs that I felt like I had no control over. I also began knitting because I wanted to continue giving back to the community, even when I physically could not continue volunteering where I was. So I decided to make a blanket - because I figured making rectangles would be the easiest thing to do.
When I began, I watched YouTube tutorials; I read books and instructions. I poked myself with my knitting needles and bought way too much yarn (yes, I have a lovely collection now). I started and restarted often and I learned new stitches, while also trying to make something that will actually look like a blanket. I also learned how to sew, in a sense, in order to be able to join up the pieces that I had - so that the blanket actually looked like a blanket. Why did I want to make this blanket? So I could pass it on to the Children’s hospital, to give a child something made by my hands.
I finished the blanket and felt satisfied. I had made something with my hands. I felt good. This project had occupied a few months of my time, as I dropped and picked it back up. But I wanted to do more. I wanted to knit while I waited for people; while I spoke to others; while I worked on my readings; while I watched movies. I learned how to make slippers, mittens, scarves, hats and stuffed animals.
I have found a method of self-care I did not know I needed, and yet was so glad I had. For me, self-care means creating things for others, allowing my hands to be busy while I engage in thinking and learning. It makes me feel productive when I finish and provides an opportunity to discuss with others when they see me sitting on a bench, knitting away.
Knitting has taught me patience and has taught me the satisfaction of following a project through to its completion. Learning how to read designs, seeing the excited and interested looks of others, and having conversations with them, provides me an opportunity to make new connections. For myself personally, knitting helps me work on my fine motor skills, and has taught me to listen to my body, and to be content in the quiet. For myself, knitting is a great self-care tool, because it allows me to go into a type of “meditative” state in a way that I find challenging by myself. For myself, and for others, finding a hobby is so important for self-care. For myself, I have found knitting. If you feel like wanting to try, I encourage you to do it - there are so many ways of knitting, of crocheting, of finger knitting, lace making, etc. There is always something for everyone!