There are quite a few articles out there on the benefits of crocheting and knitting, but hang around a yarn shop long enough, and you don’t need scientific data to tell you it’s good for people. When talking with many of you over the past few weeks, one theme keeps resurfacing. For so many of us, the act of creating something out of fiber or string is a truly rewarding process. And that should be celebrated, not frowned upon.
For some reason, when the general public thinks of knitters or crocheters they picture a blue-haired old lady making blankets for their grandkids. And honestly, those women exist. And we love them. My own Gmom was one of them (although she took great pride in the fact that her hairdresser kept her hair “champagne” and not blue). Many family members still have the blanket she crocheted specifically for us.
But that woman is not the retiree of today. Today’s retiree’s are much younger - thanks to the longer life expectancy and general health of today’s society. And retirement is still about doing things you love. This combination, youth and finding your passion, has fueled many of today’s retirees to search for something they can do that’s productive, creative, and mentally stimulating. Guess what? Learning new tasks, picking colors, reading patterns, and finishing projects, hits all of those requirements.
Then we’ve got the work-a-holics and those with high-stress jobs. Thanks to technology and changes in the economy and how we do business, many of today’s jobs require long hours of staring at a screen. Some people spend so much time working out advanced formulas and computations all day that by the time they stop for groceries and need to make change at the end of a day, they can’t. Then there are those in other sectors, like health care and education, whose jobs are becoming more and more stressful every year.
Many of these people are also looking for something they can do that’s methodical, to allow their brains to reset at the end of the day, or week. Often they would like something physical to show for the effort and time they invest in a project. And sometimes they are searching for interactions with others that doesn’t involve work, or anything remotely work related. Guess what? Working a sweater in the round, making a granny square blanket, discussing projects and how to fix a dropped stitch or work a new to them crochet stitch, fills all of those requirements too.
Let's not forget the often undervalued SAHM (stay at home mom), Mr. Mom, or care giver. These hard working people are constantly under pressure, working around others’ schedules, and can become isolated as their home life becomes their work life and their world is condensed into the walls of their home, school, hospital, and grocery store.
This group is often searching for conversations with people taller than knee high or not connected to the person/people for which they are caring. Sometimes they need something to do while they wait, and wait, and wait. And sometimes they are looking to do something that’s productive but unrelated to cleaning and cooking. Guess what? Crocheting and knitting fill all of those requirements too - especially if they are able to get away once and a while and join a stitching group.
Again, I’ve got no science to back any of this up. It’s just what I’ve gleaned while talking with a few of you over the past few months. When asked why you crochet, knit, spin, or weave, the answers are all very similar. It’s relaxing or meditative (really, it is, despite the frogging, dropped stitches, and wrong stitch counts), rewarding, allows you to be creative AND productive, and, when you find the right community of like minded stitchers, it’s a social outlet.
Regardless of where you are in life right now, as it’s unraveling around you, many of you seem to be winding your memories into your yarn and working those memories into your projects. And that’s what it’s about.
This is not your grandmother’s hobby. It’s stress relief. It’s grief counseling. It’s creative. It’s rewarding. It’s mathematical. It’s hand-eye coordination. It’s physical therapy. It’s mentally stimulating. It’s tactile. It’s meditative. It’s productive. It’s a skill. It’s traditional. It’s edgy. It’s fun. It’s social. It's a part of you.
So, keep stitchin’. We’re here to help you with that.