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Find joy in making.


Find joy in making, I like to say, because I truly want us to find joy in creating, in using our hands and minds to produce something uniquely made. I especially want us to find joy in making with this special cashmere yarn, bringing honor to the final step of the yarn's voyage from shepherds' hands to our own.

Recently, however, I'm reminded that knitting (and making) can offer the mind, body, and spirit a multitude of benefits beyond joy. Research and anecdotal evidence from knitters tell us that knitting reduces depression and anxiety (lowers blood pressure, relaxes us, helps us to cope with difficult situations); helps slow the onset of dementia and distracts us from chronic pain (can even help arthritis in hands by keeping them moving); increases the sense of well-being (allowing for creativity, self-achievement, reducing loneliness and isolation, providing community, inclusiveness and purpose). That's a lot! And in an age where social media, technology, and television are hindering our ability to focus, it might help us restore that ability too - through breaking habits and addictions by engaging the mind and hands.

Stitchlinks is a non-profit organization whose website details the ways that we can benefit from knitting. They work, in fact, to integrate knitting into British health care programs. They provide an interesting 'Knitting Equation Chart', a formulaic means of explaining knitting outcomes: physical hand movement (exercising hand muscles and brain -body connections) + enriched environments of creativity and relaxation + social engagement with friendship and community possible, while also noting that knitting is portable -- we can take it with us to continually reap its benefit.

There is much to read on the benefits of knitting and I've given additional links for that below. As for me, my own anecdotal benefits of knitting are many. I can relate to its anxiety - reducing advantages, remembering all the times I knit during final exam weeks at university. I can attest to it as a way of building community - I gained one of my closest friends through knitting and even my new career path! Certainly, my closest relationships all share a connection to the love of creating textiles. I know first-hand the satisfaction that comes from making and completing projects, of giving parents hand-knit sweaters and of continued learning through knitting and knitwear design. Next, I plan to use knitting to break some habits and to rebuild my ability to focus. Since research says it can do that, too, I'm hopeful that I can replace addictive scrolls through social media and email and too much television with more knitting; more contemplative zen time while my hands and brain do their thing; more feelings of accomplishment through finished projects rather than the frustration that various UFPs (Unfinished Projects!) yield.
I guess what I'm saying is that I'm going to focus on joy in making. Hmmm. Maybe that's a pretty encompassing wish to give afterall. 
So how about you? How will you find joy in your making?
Until next time, Amy


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