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4 reasons to stop what you’re doing and pick up your wool

Ok, so we have to accept that unless your WIP goes horribly wrong, knitting and crochet isn’t going to raise our heartrate or burn many calories, but it might surprise you to know it’s actually doing more for your health than you might think. So if you ever find you need a good excuse to pick up your needles and leave the housework for another day, here’s 4.

1. Alleviates depression and anxiety

According to research carried out by Mind, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year in England. Although these figures have sadly been exacerbated by the loneliness of Covid, it did spark a huge knitting and crochet revival. LoveCrafts reported a 166% jump in orders year-on-year as people turned to sewing, knitting and crochet during lockdowns. According to the experts this wasn’t just to fill the time, the repetitive rhythm of knitting and crochet increases the release of serotonin, the chemical transmitter that regulates happiness and mood. It was actually making us all feel a lot happier.

2. Reduces stress

You don’t often find yourself in situations more stressful than that of an athlete at the Olympics, but following Tom Daley’s gold in Tokyo, he divulged that the one thing that kept him sane throughout the whole process was his love for knitting, crochet and all things stitching. He even knitted himself a union jack pouch to keep his medal in.

Since the mid-1990s the Craft Yarn Council has surveyed hundreds of thousands of knitters and crocheters about why they enjoy these crafts. Consistently over time, stress relief ranks at the top. It’s believed the calming movement of the needles and yarn results in less of the stress hormone cortisol being released. In turn this causes your blood pressure to lower and your pulse to slow down.

3. Slows the onset of dementia

Medical research suggests engaging in certain types of mentally stimulating hobbies such as knitting, and crochet is associated with decreased risk of cognitive impairment. By following and recognising patterns, learning new stitches and using both hands and math, knitting and crochet improves your fine motor skills whilst keeping the mind active and engaged. It’s believed this cognitive activity promotes the development of new neuro pathways or cognitive reserves which act as a buffer against the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

4. Supports mindfulness

I must caveat this last point as a benefit to the experienced yarn crafter. I’m sure we all remember the endless YouTube videos and frustration that comes with learning to knit or crochet!

Contrary to popular belief, human brains are not designed to support the level of multi-tasking modern life often expects of us. Knitting and crochet allow you to focus your awareness on the present, clearing your thoughts and taking time to be in the moment. I’m sure we have all experienced that time warp where you lose hours engrossed in your project.

These relaxing, meditative qualities, mean knitting is increasingly being used in hospitals, clinics, schools and even prisons to help people lead healthier, happier lives.

Last but by no means least, according to Forbes, knitting is actually considered cool now. But we always knew this didn’t we….

Now you have a great excuse to pick up your needles, here's some of our most cheerful yarns. Happy, healthy knitting :)

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