My sister in law, Jeanette travels the world and send me pictures and notes about wool where ever she goes. I guess she sees a skein of yarn and thinks of me. On a recent trip she sent me this from a New Zealand magazine, Good Health, June 2012
“Not only do knitters show reduced memory loss but one Harvard study shows that knitting bring the mind and body to the ‘relaxation response’ and can lower blood pressure, reduce stress and help the heart rate drop by up to 11 beats per minute.”
My guess is that most handwork, knitting , crochet, hooking, quilting might have a similar effect.
Last night my friends met to knit. We travel from house to house on Tuesday nights just the four of us. Last night we even went out in the storm because we needed to get together. We knit together because we need to get together more than we need to knit. Last night two of us were knitting dishcloths, the other was knitting a scarf for next winter. We rumbled on about the coming of summer and how we would miss knit night.
It was cancelled during March break and on the Tuesday night I just felt lonely. No knit night. My knitting was right there beside me but my friends were not. I knit at home and watched tv but I missed the social.
This morning I read Jan Wong’s article in the Herald about her group called sewing. She said they get together for cake and do not even sew but the real reason for the getting together is the togetherness. She talks about how important it has been for her in her move to Fredricton where she teaches at UNB. I really like her column thoughI do think her sewing group should try knitting.
Knitting might be good for your physical health but I am pretty sure it also good for your mental health. It promotes gathering and socialization. It takes lonely to lovely a stitch at a time.
I look forward to my knitting night because it is a chance to wind down with friends. We are a tiny group and happy with that really. We don’t cook for each other. It is a no fuss kind of night. A cup of hot chocolate or mint tea might be poured but mostly in our winter of getting together what gets poured is our thoughts.
As mothers we talk about our children. As women we mumble about our husbands. We share the news. I cannot say we gossip because the four of us our careful about that, but we do talk about the truth we know. We make a few plans for this or that but mostly we sit together and just enjoy the presence of another soul who likes the feel of wool slipping through their fingers, another should who knows that handmade is worth the time, not for the product , which is beautiful but for the process.
We gather because we have a need for each other’s company. We could easily knit at home with netflix but our lives become richer when we can share a story. We fell less alone when we hear a story that is our own coming from someone else.
I highly recommend handwork. Knit or hook or crochet or felt or quilt. It does not matter.
I also believe in the beauty of doing it together. Listening, while you weave your hands together, to the sounds of familiar voices telling stories similar to your own, creating memory, lowering your blood pressure and slowing your heart rate…who knew? We all did.