Knitting Therapy

I was puzzled to see an article in the Independent (UK) displaying the ten best men's scarves. I was puzzled because mine wasn't there. That seemed like an odd oversight. The Independent is a pretty good newspaper. Don't they know I have the best scarf in the world?

My scarf is 80% wool and hand knitted. The colour is a conservative blue that goes equally well with my red and black checked hunting coat, my azure blue parka, and my black leather jacket. It's long enough for double-wrapping, but not so long that it drags on the wet floor when I'm untying my snow boots. And yesterday, it worked with my hat to keep me happy, safe and warm even when the wind chill forced temperatures down to minus 24 c.

My good friend who knitted the hat and scarf also runs a "knitting therapy" group on Monday mornings. She's a Choice Theory (Rt/Ct) counselor, adult literacy specialist, and a bunch of other things - besides being an avid knitter. I don't really know what goes on in her group. I'm not there. (I encouraged one of my adult learners join, with wonderful results.) I guess they sit and knit and talk. I do see and hear about the fun and funky scarves and mittens, hats and dish-cloths they produce. I also see the positive impact knitting has on people's mental and physical health.

Google associates "Knitting Therapy" most closely with Betsan Corkhill (Sticklinks) who may be from the U.K. I lost patience trying to navigate her site, which I found long on enthusiasm and commercials, and short on basic info. A better short read is this U.K. hand-knitting site (with a dedicated therapy page). Closer to home is Karen Zila Hayes' Knit Magic, part of the Brainwaves School of Creative Arts in Toronto, Canada.

I don't know if my friend Cheryl heard of any of these people, or if she just thought up knitting therapy on her own. I'll find out because we're going to have to write it up sometime soon.

Anyway, we were talking about the group last night. She said they women were sharing how knitting at home helped them get through the day or week. She said, "I talked about how, when I'm working, sometimes I just stop and knit for a little while. Then, when I go back to it, whatever I'm working on seems a little clearer. We all agreed that knitting gives your brain a break from things. It's great."

It sounds great. Women together, talking, healing, learning a skill and craft they can practice at home - maybe even make a little money from.

Who knows? Eventually, they may learn to knit the best scarves in the world.


John said...

Closet knitter, yes I am. Only a hat and scarf to my name. My daughter was the only one willing to wear the lumpy products. Winter is here, and it feels like time to start something new.

shannon said...

Great post Wendell!! You have captured some key benefits of taking up a knitting as a hobby.