5 Reasons Why You Need to Teach Your Loved Ones to Stitch
It’s not always easy to teach a skill to someone you love, but the payoff can be huge. I was lucky enough to be taught knitting and crochet by some VERY patient friends and family members. In middle school, I was taught to knit by a close friend who was a very skilled knitter even back then, though she didn’t necessarily know how to teach knitting. The trouble was, she is a lefty and I am not. Puberty-fueled tempers ran high and eventually my mom had to step in and teach me the basics. Now, my friend, my mom, and I all love to knit together more than 10 years later.
Learning to crochet went much more smoothly. My friend and coworker Susanna Tobias, the project editor for Interweave’s crochet publications, taught me the ropes. She is both very patient and a very skilled teacher, and we have grown much closer thanks to her tutelage.
I didn’t try to teach anyone to stitch myself until this year, when my boyfriend expressed a desire to learn how to knit. It was my first time teaching the art of the stitch, and I could not confidently say, “I know how to teach knitting” prior to this experience, but I’m pleased to say it went really well! I was surprised to find how rewarding it was to teach someone a skill that I now take somewhat for granted.
If you have shied away from teaching a friend, family member, or significant other to knit or crochet, it’s time to end the excuses! Here are 5 reasons why you should teach everyone you love to stitch, even if you don’t think you know how to teach knitting or crochet, plus tips for getting friends and family on board.
1. Precious Quality Time
I’m currently on year three of a short-distance relationship. My boyfriend and only live an hour apart, but it’s just far enough that quality time is hard to come by. Activities where we can hang out together and also talk (aka not screen time) are in high demand.
Even if you aren’t in a long- or short-distance relationship, I’m sure you could use a little more quality time with the people you love. Knitting and crochet are perfect when combined with a coffee or beer outing, and stitching of any stripe is a great way activity to facilitate conversation.
Here’s How to Sell It: You’re constantly stitching. You know it; your loved ones know it. They almost certainly are as hungry for quality time as you are, so knitting or crochet lessons are a fun way to make time for each other.
Need a little extra help convincing your significant other? Let them know that the best way to learn how to knit is to have a knitter sit on your lap (or sit on a knitter’s lap) and get cozy. That’s a win for everybody.
2. It’s Incredible for Mental Health
Both knitting and crochet are powerful tools for healing. There are countless stories out there of people using stitchcraft to cope with illness, to foster healing during and after wartime, and maintain wellness in old age.
Scientific studies also show that knitting reduces cortisol (stress hormone) levels in the body, helps focus the mind, and can even help overcome addictive behaviors. Plus, it might just get you to put down your darn phone for a bit!
In my own life, I’ve found that crochet, especially crocheting mandalas, is one of the most effective ways for me to practice mindfulness. Meditation is tough for me—I have a very noisy brain and I tend to be really hard on myself when I can’t turn off the noise. But give me a crochet hook and yarn, and suddenly my mind is crickets.
Here’s How to Sell It: You could show them the scientific studies…but does anyone really listen to those? You might have more luck explaining the personal benefits you’ve seen in your own life. Use the words “self-care” a lot—it’s trendy. We’d love to hear your stories too! Share them in the comments and maybe browse them for ideas to convince your own loved ones to pick up a hook or needles.
3. Adorable Matching Outfits
When you have the ability to create your own garments and accessories, there are endless possibilities for fabulous matching and coordinating outfits. Even if you don’t “match,” strictly speaking, two people decked out in fabulous knitwear will turn heads.
Example: my best friends all made matching Harry Potter scarves in high school. We were highly enviable, I assure you. And we had so much fun making them! Matching beanies, mother/daughter hooded scarves, or crochet necklaces are all fun make-along projects that let you spend quality time together while making an object that marks your enduring affection!
How to Sell It: With your best friends and family, this won’t be a hard sell. Significant others might be a little more resistant. Maybe start with matching beanies.
4. You’ll Inspire Each Other
One of the reasons I love to share my hobbies with friends and family is so they can inspire me to new heights. I’m a little on the competitive side, so there’s nothing that lights a fire under my behind like someone against whom to measure myself.
While fiber arts aren’t (usually) competitive, it’s definitely inspiring to see a friend or family member, especially someone who’s newer to the craft than you are, trying out a skill you’ve shied away from!
A few months ago, I brought my boyfriend over to a friend’s house for a knit night. He had brought his “scarf” that he’s been working on for more than six months (it’s currently a whopping 2 inches long), but as soon as my friend offered to teach him to spin, he was all over it. Now, I’ve been shame-facedly turning down offers of spinning lessons for more than 10 years. And let me tell you, watching him spin his first skein was the motivation I needed to finally give it a try.
How to Sell It: This is more of a benefit for you than it is for your potential pupils, but I find that when I frame knitting as a fun challenge and a skill to be learned rather than just a hobby to fill time or a way to make garments, people find it a lot more interesting.
5. It Makes You Better
They say that the best way to learn a new skill is to teach it, and knitting and crochet are no exceptions. Nothing will test your knowledge of stitch anatomy and your ability to troubleshoot the weirdest problems like teaching a loved one.
“What even is a stitch and how do I count them?” “I have way more stitches now than when I started.” “I can’t get my hook in this loop.” “Some stitches just slid right off my needle.”
These are only a few of the questions that just about every beginner runs into. Walking a new stitcher through these problems won’t just help them learn the basics; it will also help you to become better at your craft. You’ll become more skilled at repairing mistakes, more able to judge at a glance whether a problem has occurred, and more confident in trying out new techniques yourself.
If you get really stuck, don’t be afraid to outsource the question to experts like Kate Atherley! You’ll learn a lot in the process and will be able to cement your understanding by then passing that knowledge on to your pupil.
How to Sell It: Again, this is more a benefit to you than to your potential pupils, but you might try asking someone straight out, “Do you mind if I try to teach you how to knit? I’ve heard teaching someone is the best way to make sure you really understand what you’re doing.”
Of course, the best way to convince your friends and family to ask you for stitching lessons is to show off your best handmade garments all the time, as gifts and by wearing them yourself. If someone asks you to stitch them something, you can offer lessons instead!
I am so grateful to have friends and family that respect and understand my love of fiber. It really does make the craft more fun when you have company. So don’t be shy! Ask your loved ones if they’d like to learn how to knit or crochet. They won’t believe the benefits of joining your fiber crew—and neither will you!
Yours in Stitches,