Just about any knitter can tell you what scientific research has been trying to prove for years: knitting is therapeutic. It's not hard to get lost in the soothing, repetitive movements of fingers, yarn, and needles. Knitting has been compared to meditation in the same relaxing qualities it produces.
I admit to picking up projects after a stressful day. Even if there are no hassles to wind down from, just the simple act of knitting helps to calm my mind and body.
Sometimes I knit when angry and, as a result, my tight stitches remain as a testament to that strong emotion, it's nearly impossible to continue to feel uptight when I continue to knit. As I create, as the yarn evolves from one long string into an actual item--whether clothing or accessory or swatch--I can feel tension being released.
I knit during all times of my live, happy and sad. I nearly always remember what was going on during a certain project, especially if the circumstance was unusual. It's not uncommon for me to recall that a scarf was knitted after a breakup or that a blanket was made after a death in the family. These objects can have emotions knit into each stitch.
But why knit during these sad and stressful times?
When I knit, I’m focusing on what's in my hands. Even though my thoughts are still present, there's something being created by me, something that's also calling my mind to it so I’m not solely concentrating on my sadness or stress.
Whether making something for myself or something to comfort someone else, the act of knitting gently forces my attention elsewhere. The bonus is that I’m creating, I’m making a thing of beauty, so unlike eating chocolates after a bad day or tuning out in front of the television, and I’ll have something to show for it.
I’m usually able to knit during more happy times than not, but like many other knitters have discovered, this cherished hobby becomes more than just a pastime during the more difficult times in our lives. Knitting may or may not be "the new yoga," as it's been said, but it's a gift that you can keep with you forever.