Many of us knit, weave, crochet, or otherwise find time with fiber because it’s relaxing. It can be a break from many different stressors and a calming re-set in your day. It’s simply fun! Turns out, we’re not the only ones who have found this. It also turns out that the benefits go beyond personal health – they propagate across communities and beyond!
We first noticed a great article in the Indpendent that highlights recent finds related to knitting in research and by knitting enthusiasts. Then a bunch of papers picked up a literature review by the amazing British group Knit for Peace. The review highlights and collects research that what we’ve been noticing for a while, and thoroughly convinces us that knitting is scientifically proven to be good for your health! How so? To quote the review:
• Lowers blood pressure • Reduces depression and anxiety • Slows the onset of dementia • Is as relaxing as yoga • Distracts from chronic pain • Provides an opportunity for creativity (at a time of reducing capacity) • Increases sense of wellbeing • Reduces loneliness and isolation • Increases sense of usefulness and inclusion in society
It is also, by the way, heart warming to see the work of Knit for Peace! They do many things – like bring together women from traditionally hostile communities in India and Rwanda to knit together, and then distribute the goods created to those in need. They also coordinate distribution of knit goods made by volunteers in the UK and beyond to areas in need such as Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, anyone wondering about weaving? The story of Philippine refugees who weave not only for financial support, but also for the community that comes with it, is a powerful testimony to the healing powers of weaving. Another story about the power of weaving to help displaced peoples comes from Bangladesh, where weaving is proving to be a driving force in rising a village out of debt and into prosperity.
As we pick up our needles, or hook, or begin to weave, or spin, it’s inspiring to reflect upon the traditions that we’re keeping. And it’s nice to know that those traditions are a powerful force for health, for people and communities around the world.
Take a little time for self care and community with your favorite craft, and know that you’re part of a worldwide community of people doing the same.