The Yarnologue

Yarn Time Unplugged

Many newspaper articles recently have extolled the health benefits of knitting and crocheting.

There was an article in the Washington Post about research showing that crafts like knitting and crocheting help keep your brain sharp.

A CNN article discussed how the repetitive nature of knitting and crocheting can help relieve depression and anxiety.

This Tree Hugger article about the health benefits of knitting went viral.

No Batteries knit

Pinning it? There is a crochet version further down.

As these articles were published, I dutifully shared them to our Facebook page and other social media accounts.

As knitters and crocheters, our fans and I already knew about the benefits of our crafts, including awesome finished objects to show off. It was nice to have both confirmation and validation for the activities we pursue on a daily basis.

While I read the articles, and felt smug since I’ve been knitting and crocheting for years, I didn’t really think about whether or not I was actually getting those health benefits until the other day.

….and knitting


My Buttercup Top saw a lot of country side.

I’m a multitasking knitter and crocheter.

I knit while I’m watching TV, as a passenger on long car trips, and while sitting in waiting rooms. I even pretend to knit during my local yarn store’s social time every week, but, honestly, there is usually more talking than stitching going on.

While I don’t knit or crochet while I’m surfing Ravelry and Facebook, I know people who do.

The point is, I don’t knit “mindfully“. My hands make the motions automatically while I’m focused on other things.

But knitting and crocheting are such tactile activities that we should pay attention, at least some of the time! After all, visually stimulating colors and the delicious sensation of holding the yarn is part of the appeal of the crafts.

Lately I’ve been so focused on finishing knitting projects that I’ve forgotten to enjoy the process.

Weaving Zen

My recent epiphany came last week when I was working on a weaving project.

Normally my loom sits in a corner of my office, where the dogs can interrupt me and I can play the radio and look out the window.

However, in March I had signed up for a weaving workshop with a guest instructor through my local fiber arts network. Since there were more students than looms, I took my personal loom up to the studio.

I left it there when I signed up for a class with our regular, local teacher as I wanted more practice on my own equipment.


Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn

Last week I was alone in the weaving studio finishing up my project.

As I fell into the weaving rhythm of treadle, shuttle, beat, I felt my thoughts quieting. My cares drifted away as I focused and became “present” with the task at hand.

All the benefits mentioned in the newspaper articles came washing over me. All because I had been forced to stop multitasking and unplug.

No Batteries crochetI became so engrossed in my weaving that I lost track of time. The maintenance man had to kick me out of the building because it was after hours.

As I drove home, I realized I have been shortchanging my knitting time. By always making knitting a secondary activity, I was missing out on all the benefits aside from having a pretty new sweater.

Every evening my knitting time is an opportunity to regain that feeling of peace and relaxation I found in the weaving studio.

All I have to do is turn off the TV and focus on the yarn in my hands. And I don’t have to wait until evening! I can knit anywhere at any time of the day, including outside.

Well, I can knit outside as long as I can convince my dogs that we don’t have to play fetch the entire time.

I’m not saying I’m going to stop watching TV while I knit, but I might try to do it less often.

Have you fallen into the same trap I have?

Have you been shortchanging your knitting and crocheting time?


  1. Thank you so much for the article that Elsebeth Lavold wrote , Time Unpluggled.
    It was very thought provoking. Made me think that kitting daily is very relaxing and good for our brains.

  2. Oh, Elsebeth didn’t write it. I did. 🙂
    I just used my pretty balls of Hempathy yarn to dress things up.

    I’m glad you enjoyed it!


  3. I’ve been crocheting most of my life. …but it really saved my life when two years ago (6/9/I 2) my son was killed in a motorcycle accident and when therapy didn’t work. ..I turned to crocheting & knitting. …is my only therapy and I can go to it anytime, anywhere. …!!!

  4. I’m sorry for your loss.

  5. Yes, to me all the fiber arts are extremely calming. I definitely make lots of time for spinning, weaving , and knitting every day, with a dab of crochet thrown in for fun!!
    I’ve been doing this for many years and wouldn’t change any of it. Thanks for sharing your letter with us, Ann.

  6. I have been doing some kind of needlework for over seventy five years and it is my first choice for relaxation.

  7. Crocheting kept me sane during my recovery from major back surgery. Forced to lay in bed for a month and then with limited mobility, I crocheted 2 sweaters, a shawl and 2 baby blankets in 5 months. To say it was cathartic would be an understatement.

    My mom knits and at 85 doesn’t have arthritis in her hands. The doc said the constant motion has kept her joints healthy.

    Thanks for the article!

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