Quick + Easy Knits for a Calming Experience
The Interweave knitting team is excited to announce the brand-new special issue that is Quick + Easy Knits! This issue features 20 knitting projects that are all both quick and easy to make—regardless of your knitting skill level—thanks to thick yarns and simple techniques. From the brand-new beginner who wants to learn how to cast on stitches and knit up a hat with absolutely no experience, to advanced knitters who are just looking for some peace of mind through simpler projects, this issue is for everyone.
In her article entitled “Knitting to Calm,” New York-based yoga instructor and knitter Cyndi Lee reflects on the mental and emotional benefits of knitting even the most basic projects. Take a look at what Cyndi has to say, and experience the benefits yourself with some Quick + Easy Knits!
Knitting to Calm
People are often surprised to learn that even yoga teachers need to relax at the end of their day, but it’s true! After an intense period of teaching yoga, I get a powerful hankering to sit down with yarn and needles and knit in order to calm myself.
The basic act of knitting naturally integrates mind and body. I find that dropping into my latest knitting project gives my mind something fresh and friendly to settle on, which helps me to let go of the day’s unfinished business. The rhythmic aspect of simple repetitive stitching soothes my tired nervous system, and after being on my feet all day, it feels wonderful to sit down and let my hands do the work. The physical, emotional, and mental health benefits of knitting are akin to restorative yoga, a practice of stimulating the part of our nervous system that allows us to “rest and digest.”
So, as a yoga teacher and knitting lover, I am thrilled about the projects offered in Quick + Easy Knits. All these beautiful and unique projects are composed of a pleasing combination of repetitive stitch patterns and something different to keep you interested: striping, alternating stitch patterns, binding off a foot stirrup, or making a little mitt thumb. I’m especially delighted to discover the Simple Slippers, a creative redesign of the very first knitting project I ever made, which my grandmother taught me. It’s like meeting an old friend, only the friend is you and the good feeling engendered by knitting a project that is both engaging and relaxing.
It’s well known that meditation and yoga are effective methods of creating calm, but it’s finally been proven that knitting does that, too. Knitting requires you to place your focus on the task at hand. When you notice your mind straying, you simply return your attention to the action of knitting, again and again.
This mental process, combined with measured physical motions—knit, purl, knit, purl—can help lower blood pressure, reduce cortisol levels, and keep your mind off other things that you might want to avoid, such as stress eating, smoking, or worrying.
Knitting is also about patience, forgiveness, and curiosity. Just like in yoga, if you get off track, you can always make a fresh start. Or, if you make a mistake, you can be generous with yourself and decide that it’s just fine. Call it your special “signature” and keep knitting. It’s so much fun to just wait and see how it will all turn out.
This may be the most relaxing benefit of all—to realize that knitting is not about being perfect, it’s about being present. Recently, a helpful woman in my local yarn shop informed me that I’m a “process knitter,” because the thing I love most about knitting is the doing itself. The process of sitting and knitting is just as valuable as the product that you get at the end. I’m excited to pick up my needles and start knitting, relaxing, feeling my yarn, and making some of these very special projects to give to my friends . . . or maybe I’ll just keep some for myself as a reminder of the goodness and calm I find in knitting.
CYNDI LEE is a yoga instructor and knitter based in New York City. Find her online at www.cyndilee.com.
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