JENNIFER KOCH: BEING A KNITTER
Knitting is the new yoga. Hold on and stay with me and I will explain how knitting changed my life, or at least my perception of things and how it could change yours as well.
KNITTING MAKES YOU HAPPY
Knitting makes me happy. I knew that much but I just recently found out that it actually makes people happy: According to British and American studies focusing attention on your hands increases the production of dopamine and serotonin (happiness hormones) and lowers the stress hormone cortisol.
Making a scarf, hat or jumper also builds your confidence, creating something from a ball of yarn is deeply satisfying and rewarding. And wearing a cozy, soft handmade item pleases anyone (especially in this weather). For me just getting new yarn and thinking about what I can make with it makes me happy and excited.
All photos in this post is taken by Liz Seabrook
KNITTING IS SUSTAINABLE
It probably goes without say that making a jumper is so much more sustainable than buying one on the high-street. It starts with the production. Lang Yarns, for example, offers a ‘trace your yarn’ service: Type in the product number of the yarn and get a list of places where the yarn has been. The whole yarn production is traceable unlike most shop bought items, since these normally just show the country where the item was assembled.
When knitting a jumper most people will option for a natural fibre: Merino, Alpaca, maybe even Cashmere. Prices for yarn can be high depending on quality, but what you should consider is how much longer you will wear something you made yourself. Make a wool jumper that might stay with you a lifetime, and will always keep you warm, or buy a cheep acrylic jumper that might look the part but will not live up to the expectations (warm, soft, cozy) for long. And once you made your first piece you will treat clothes differently, they will become precious to you. Every piece you make is absolutely unique and personal, you spend time and love to create something for yourself or for someone you hold dear.
KNITTING IS RELAXING
9 year old me would laugh at this statement, my first knit project ever has never been finished and was probably the most frustrating thing I had to deal with up to that point. Initially knitting is intimidating and your motor skills might not be up for the task yet (mine certainly were not). But something always dragged me back to pick up those needles again and again, and with practice came the relaxation.
Knitting is like learning an instrument, no one would expect to pick up a violin and be able to play it perfectly. It might a take a little while until you get the hang of it. It will soon become something you can do while binging on Netflix or waiting around at castings. At some point it might become second nature.
When I started to knit more advanced pattern I caught myself repeating the pattern (2 purl, 2 knit, 2 purl….) like a mantra in my head. Focusing on the task in front of you will keep your mind clear and focused and helps you to overcome stress and anxiety.
Knitting offers a break from the constant stream of information and the haste and hurry of this day and age.
I hope I am getting you excited to give it a try and I hope you can find as much happiness and peace as I did.