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October 2018
October 2018

Sue Stratford: Can Knitting Improve Our Mental Health?

Sue Stratford: Can Knitting Improve Our Mental Health?

There’s been a lot of publicity in recent years about the mental health benefits of crafting and I would have to agree with it. When life is stressful – which it can be too much of the time – concentrating on a simple pattern and watching your stitches turn into rows is very therapeutic. Not only are you creating something beautiful, your mind clears and you can focus on the positivity of what you are doing – this is partly why I always have multiple projects on the go. Although I love complex designs which challenge me, I also enjoy making something that is straightforward and that I can do without thinking too much, I find a sense of calm just letting my hands work on the repetitive, meditative stitches. Although I’m talking about knitting, this is true of most crafts. Especially of those where you can sit in a comfy chair with a cup of tea and a biscuit (or three) within reach. When life feels a bit too much and you’re losing that positive mojo, starting a new project can really make you feel better. The promise of what it will become and the pleasure of making lift the gloom and allow you to get on with your day, knowing that when the work is done, you can return to your crafting.

You’ve probably realised by now that crafting makes a huge difference to my state of mind. I work for myself and my daily team are two cats and two dogs who, although are great company, are not the best at holding conversations. Joking aside, I’m part of the ‘sandwich generation’ meaning I care for both my children and my mum. Meeting people at craft shows has made me realise just how many of us are in this situation and just how stressful it can be to satisfy everyone’s needs. This is why it’s so important to have time to sit, reflect and come to terms with your daily life. I think crafting gives me this. I have also started yoga which has made a big difference to my life already. After years of hating exercise, I’ve finally found my thing! My balance has improved and I’m learning how to switch off, stop thinking about the outside world and concentrate on myself for five minutes. If we don’t look after ourselves we can’t look after everyone else, so get that project out, take ten minutes and think about yourself for a change.


Stuart Hillard tells you why you need to buy the latest issue of Let’s Get Crafting.

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