Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Preaching to the Choir: The Chill (Out) Factor

If you're reading this, chances are pretty good that you already know about the benefits of knitting. But just for fun, let's take a minute to really think about it. So how beneficial is knitting? Okay, let me (try) to count the ways:

1. There's the tactile delight of running your fingers over fiber.
2. There's the visual joy of walking into a knit shop and seeing all those colors.
3. There's the rhythmic, meditative element of gentle repetitive motion.
4. There's the not-exactly-instant but still very gratifying moment when you finish a project.
5. There's the pleasure of either enjoying your project yourself or gifting it to a loved one.

My friends tease me about my knitting sometimes, seeing as I am never show up anywhere without some work-in-progress. It's gentle teasing and, in fact, I've taught more than a few of them the craft. In fact, I'll teach anyone who asks me-- I've given my contact information to complete strangers in restaurants and other public places when they've stopped to ask me what I'm working on and then wished aloud they might be doing the same.

So I wasn't surprised when I read this article recently about how one avid knitter has taken it upon herself to cheer up folks stressed out by the economy by teaching them to knit. Sher Gunden King, a yarn shop owner in Goshen, Indiana started YO! (Yarn Overcomers!) to show folks just how soothing knitting can be. She got a lot of instant support from other shop owners who were quick to donate supplies to help her get the project going. (There's another story about the project here.)

And, not that we really need any more excuses to knit, but in addition to the immediate uplift knitting can bring, there are also some cool long term benefits, too. Check out this video to learn how one study has shown knitting can stave off Alzheimer's and dementia.

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