This year, put aside the everyday, run of the mill New Year's resolution.
Do yourself a favor. Learn to knit.
We have New Year's resolutions because we want our time to mean something. We want to know that we have the capacity to grow, change and improve ourselves. Sure, we can use that time to do the obligatory lose weight, eat healthily, brush and floss our teeth resolutions, but maybe this year your New Year's resolution should be fun. It should teach you a new skill and allow you to extend that expertise to other areas of your life and make those more traditional New Year's resolutions easier to achieve. Knitting can do that. No joke.
Knitting is fun and you should learn to do it. No really.
All biases aside knitting should be your New Year's resolution. Everyone should make learning to knit their New Year's Resolution at least once in their lives.
1) Knitting is good for your health
Every month there's a new article proclaiming the health benefits of crafting and even specifically knitting and guess what? They're all true and not just because they're articles on the internet. There are actual psychological and medical studies that prove exactly how knitting helps humans.
This Psychology Today article mentions how knitting mimics the EMDR techniques that mental health professionals use to heal trauma victims and how the repetitive motion of knitting actually releases seratonin in the brain, physically reducing your experience of stress.
This Washington Post article reveals how pursuing a knitting hobby makes you less likely to contract dementia in later age and can lessen the effects of depression.
There are entire organizations devoted to studying how knitting can improve your well being, and organizations like Project Knitwell who bring knitting supplies to people in crisis. That's how powerful knitting is as a hobby.
2) Knitting helps you meet people
If you're looking for friends, knitters are where it's at. When you learn how to knit suddenly you develop this entire vocabulary that only other knitters understand. So when you see a knitter out in the world, it's actually pretty easy to say hello, mention that you're a knitter too and ask about what they're knitting. Sure not every knitter is going to be super friendly, but as long as you don't ask them to knit you whatever it is they're making you should be in good shape. In time, should your knitting habit progress you'll be able to identify handknits in the wild.
Knitters have their own social network, Ravelry. They have knitting patterns, all kinds of forums. You can find knitters who are also redditors, knitters who use knitting to help their depression, knitters who love Dr Who, knitters who like to can vegetables. You can make a ton of friends on ravelry.
Knitters like to knit in groups. They like it so much that they organize entire knitting retreats at fancy hotels and even have knitting conventions. Once there was even a sock knitting convention. Seriously. A convention just for people who like to knit socks. Even if you're not down for an entire weekend of knitting, knitters also like to meet in weekly groups to support each other, which is kind of like an emotional support group but without the shrink mediator.
3) Knitting is a physical form of meditation
If you have problems staying in the moment with meditation, knitting can help you stay focused. Some people enjoy how keeping their hands occupied allows them to feel a greater sense of detachment and clarity over their mind. Their beathing evens and they are able to experience a deeper connection to themselves, allowing for a greater sense of enlightenment than just meditating alone. There's also the side benefit of ending up with a physical manifestation of that meditation in the form of a stunning shawl or scarf.
4) Knitting helps you overcome other problems, like cigarette smoking or binge eating
If you take to knitting you're going to find a weird situation. Suddenly you would rather be knitting than doing almost anything else. You might even prefer to knit over other less healthy distractions. For some people they enjoy knitting so much that they binge eat less and smoke fewer cigarettes. Remember, knitting is actually proven to provide stress relieving seratonin, so it's a great idea to pick up knitting especially when you're trying to stop an unhealthy behavior. Besides do you really want your knitting to have food crumbs and cigarette smoke on them? The natural consequence of wanting to keep the knitting you've worked so hard on nice will keep you from indulging.
What's especially wonderful about knitting as a healthy distraction is that you can actually pick projects to keep you busy. Pick a unique hand dyed variegated yarn to knit a new scarf, you'll spend hours marveling at how the scarf changes at every row. You'll want to keep knitting the next row and the next row and the next row instead of wanting that next cigarette.
5) Knitting builds your self esteem.
Knitting seems hard and so many people have stories about trying to learn how to knit, or failing at learning to knit to the point where they think that they are inherently unable to knit, when for whatever reason it just wasn't their time to learn how to knit. So invariably everyone has a story about those times when they wanted to learn to knit but grandma tried teaching them left handed knitting when really they were a right-handed knitter. When these people do finally find a way to learn how to knit (and there are so many ways now) they achieve a new level of self esteem. They realize that they were able to do this thing and they were able to perservere and they actually like to knit and they're going to keep doing it.
It also helps that there are many skills to learn in knitting and little tricks that only experience teaches you, but with each newly learned skill comes another opportunity to experience that feeling of mastery. When you realize that you can learn how to knit and knit well, you can apply that same level of focus to anything that interests you, which makes you feel that you can rely on yourself more to succeed instead of fail. That notion brings about an entirely different attitude towards the world that can be downright life changing.
6) Knitting makes you prioritize things... differently
Once you've become a knitting convert so many things revolve around knitting. I'm not joking.
- Suddenly you must have your knitting with you at all times because you could end up in line for something and lose some precious knitting time.
- Instead of fitting your knitting around your housework, you fit your housework around your knitting.
- You realize that there is different kind of knitting for different kinds of situations. Lace knitting and babysitting toddlers rarely combine well.
- Crock pot cooking looks more and more appealing especially when you're deep in the middle of holiday knitting season.
- Summer is not your favorite season anymore.
- Large quantities of what turns out to be fancy string suddenly feature prominently in your budget
- Vacations must involve at least one, if not two trips to a yarn shop.
7) Knitting makes you grounded.
When UPS has delayed your package for the third day in a row you know all too well not to go ballistic on the poor customer service people because this is no where near as bad as the time you knit the third repeat on a cobweb lace shawl instead of the fourth repeat and you have to undo all of your knitting without a lifeline, thereby erasing 3 weeks of knitting. The boxes will be here tomorrow. The knitting will not knit itself and you will burn the air with curses with each stitch you have to frog.
8) Knitting gives purpose
When you find a hobby you love it allows you to experience the universe through that lens. Suddenly everything is about knitting. You dont just watch tv, you watch tv and knit. Standing in line for coffee is now an opportunity to knit a sock and suddenly long car and plane trips become opportunities to finish big chunks of knitting. Knitting is something to do that improves your well being and makes the mundane a little more interesting.
9) Knitting lends character
As we mentioned before, knitting teaches self esteem and when your knitting goes wrong and if will invariably go so very wrong it teaches you to carry on. I believe that they call that building character, the ability to pick up despite distress and continue better than if you had never encountered trouble in the first place. Learning to knit and complete all kinds of handmade items teaches you strength and perserverance. While some people like to build that through hiking or rock climbing or extreme bungee kayaking (not really a thing), knitters earn their stripes by knitting ever more complicated projects, which they wear as personal badges of accomplishment, if only for their own pleasure. To be sure, when a fellow knitter sees a completed piece of exquisite knitting they will stop and they will compliment you on your success (and note the pattern for their ravelry queue).
10) Knitting Gives you beautiful handmade items you cannot find anywhere else.
When you knit anything, it becomes a part of you and your history. You remember choosing the yarn for the project. Heck, you remember buying the yarn and putting it in your stash. The project becomes a part of your life's scenary. It goes with you on the bus, in the car to the hospital, and even to the office, or to your grandma's, growing all the while into something functional, fashionable (one hopes) and warm. There will not be anything else on this earth that will be more yours than a handknitted item that you made for yourself. They are reflective of your style, taste, skill and focus. Handknits, and knitting are pursuits of which to be proud.
So get thee to Michael's or to a local yarn shop and get all the things you need to learn how to knit. Or just check out our Learn to Knit page and get started within a few hours. The time is now. Get knitting. You'll thank me for it next New Year's Eve.