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When Knitting is Healing

June 27th, 2009

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A woman who survived the Oklahoma City bombing stopped knitting because of the trauma.  She returned to her knitting to help her with the healing process.

Has knitting or crocheting ever played a part in recovering from challenges in your life?

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  • http://successfulteaching.blogspot.com Pat

    When I retired 2 years ago, I was anxious about leaving my teaching career which I loved. My husband wanted to travel while we were young enough and healthy enough to enjoy it. I decided I wanted to learn to crochet and knit which would give me something to do while traveling and I love it. I find it calming and rewarding. I have joined a group at church that makes items for nursing homes and third world countries. Without crocheting and knitting, I don’t think I would have adjusted to retirement as easily.

  • http://www.momsknitting.com Momsknitting

    I restarted knitting when pregnant and it really took off when my daughter was born early with a few major issues. When we were flooded in Katrina I sort of became a fanatic and have been knitting ever since. I knit a lot for our NICU now and with a calmer life, the knitting has been tapering off a bit.

  • http://moonstarsstudio.blogspot.com mare

    Almost 20 years ago my husband was struck by a car, turning a very healthy master runner into a quadriplegic. I have been his caretaker all thru this journey, and it can be stressful at the very least. During the 7 months he was in the hospital and rehab, i always brought my little bag of yarn and a crochet hook with me. Over the years, while waiting in doctor’s offices for different appointments, the bags full of yarn, hooks and needles have accompanied me, and made me feel like the time spent waiting has been fruitful. As soon as my daily work is done, i sit on the couch with my dogs and forget about the cares of the day and create. I find knitting and crochet to be a form of meditation, and an ancient connection with my grandmother and all the women who did this work before her….

  • michelle

    i started knitting & crochet at first to make leg warmers, had a sudden surge of 80s blow through.. ha. when i realized it did alot more for my anxiety than an 80s clothing fix!.. keeps my mind focused on what im working on and not what im worried or anxious about

  • Debi

    When my mother was diagnosed as terminal several years ago. I picked up my knitting again after 20 years. After my mom passed away and I faced stressors from my job and my teenager son, knitting is my go to stress reliever.

  • Karen

    I got back into knitting after 20 years. I was going through a very bad depression period. I needed something to help calm me down at night so I could get to sleep. It has with depression on so many levels. It has also helped me with my weight lose, you can’t eat and knit at the same time, my number one rule. I also go to a lady’s house from my church to knit once a week, we get together for a time of fun, sharing, and of course knitting. I’m so glad I picked it up again. It has healed so many people, gives or remembers good memories, and blesses so many people.
    Thanks also for such a great site Lion Brand.

  • Lia

    I have been knitting on and off for years. Five years ago I learned I had mild schizophrenia and could not sleep at night because of “background noise”. I became fearful and withdrawn. I talked to my psychiatrist who is a great believer in medical diagnosis + alternative therapy. Upon his recommendation I attended Zen meditation classes and took up baby blanket projects (mostly repetitive stitching) for the children of friends. Knitting gave me such a feeling of accomplishment, considering I was unable to work for six months after my diagnosis.

    After 2 years of treatment my doctor took me off my anxiety medicine! With just my maintenance medicine I am high functioning again – thanks to knitting, which helped me focus on something other than myself, and gave me back my mental discipline.

  • Lila

    I have crochet a lot in my lifetime. I never ever gave it up but I did slow down for a few years. Two years ago my 30 year old daughter died suddenly and her husband left a few weeks later with my only grandchild to live with a girlfriend. I had a difficult time dealing with her death and went into a depression. I started knitting to help my mind to think and learn something new. I started by making dishclohtes. I have no idea how many of those I have made, but everyone I know has one or ten from me. I found knitting soothing and it quieted my mind.

  • Darlene

    I am not sure if I am doing this right. I have been knitting all my live. More so the last 3 years. My mom was diagnosted with a vary rare Lung Cancer (that is not from smoking) and in the last 4 months it has gotten so much worse. They don’t expect her to make 6 months.
    I am knitting more than ever and I find this is my way to cope with this. I do it when I see my mom and at home. This is really helping me, as I am the only survivor left in this family. It helps calm me down. It also helps me cope with what I am dealing.

  • Darlene

    I am not sure if I am doing this right. I have knitted all my life. But I took it up more in the last 3 years. 2 Years ago my mother was told she have terminal cancer. It is a very rare and aggretive cancer. Now, 4 months on hospice. It have gotten very aggretive. I have been knitting and it has helped me with coping with this. I am the only surviver in my family. I knit with my mom when I am with her, and knit at home in the evening. Now on June 4, my husband was told he had prostate cancer. So I am knitting more than ever since his surgery and my mom. But I am so glad to have the knitting. Thank you Lion Brand for having the yarn and patterns.

  • Linda G.

    When I started to learn knitting,I thought it could NEVER be relaxing. It drove me nuts.Something about it made me hang in there.Wow- what a feeling of tranquility it does bring, under any circumstance! It has brought me through many hard times with flying colors.I will knit on for as long as it allows me!

  • Patty P

    My son and his wife took off out of state and we did not know where they were. They had our five year old grandson and she was pregnant. Months after the babies(she had twins!) were born we found out they gave them up for adoption. I had a very difficult time with all of it and went into a depression. So much has happened over the years with my family this was the final straw. A friend(God sends them to us) had shown me a thing called crochet on the double and I had been making little dish rags for anyone that wanted one. I realized there were other babies that might need my help so I did little afgans and donated them. I don’t like to count so I wanted the least stress with the most feeling of accomplishment. I found a couple of different organizations. One I do little squares for orphans in Africa and the other I do little rectangles for our wounded troops in hospitals. Others(more talented) put mine and others together. It has really helped me heal from all the feeling of failure I have had with this family stuff. Oh and at age 50, I recently learned to knit! (well just the basic stitch) :)

  • Bobbie

    I learned to knit and crochet when I was young, thanks to a very talented grandmother. I probably made dozens of bedroom slippers and ponchos back then. For many years I didn’t do much crafting of any kind (kids and work) and always missed it.

    When I quit smoking I was desperate for something to keep my hands busy so I started knitting again and it helped tremendously.

    Even now, years later, I still feel the need to avoid idle hands. I’m at a very stressful point right now with the economy and the return of grown children with their own children so I knit even more. I find the more complicated the pattern the more I relax.

    Also, thank you for the knit and crochet alongs. I enjoy that sense of community.

  • http://www.urbangranny.com Sharon

    After a severe car crash I was wheelchair bound for almost 5 years and was operated on more than 10 times. Throughout I knitted squares. All colors and all patterns. This activity helped me get through this period in my life. As a result I have several wonderful afghans that are enjoyed as constant reminders of how strong a human being can be.

  • Deborah

    I took up knitting after my mother died from Alzheimer’s Disease. The concentration necessary to learn a new skill and follow patterns took my mind off things; also, I loved the feel of the yarn and watching a project “grow” right before my eyes. It was comforting and distracting, and helped me get through a difficult time.

  • Ilana

    Thank you everyone for sharing these beautiful stories with us. Your words are comforting, hopeful and inspiring.

  • Docaye

    I had a liver transplant in 2005. As the doctor was closing the incision my heart stopped. They got it restarted, but it stopped another three times. As a result I had a very difficult time recovering from the surgery. During that period I had dedicated and loving help from two sisters, two sisters-in-law, and a cousin. To thank them I crocheted the then-popular “Coming Home” poncho in Homespun. The motions helped me regain strength in my hands, following a pattern helped me regain strength in my head, and the giving of permanent ‘warm hugs’ to ones I loved helped me remember that love.
    Oh, my husband also helped me recover, but he would have looked funny wearing a poncho. He gets original warm hugs direct from the giver.

  • http://everythingisundercontrol.blogspot.com Catherine

    When my son was stillborn (2005) I was given a little hat and blanket for his body. I started stitching for charity then and haven’t stopped since. I’ve always enjoyed the calm of crocheting and now I can say that it literally saved my life…by distracting me from the heartbreak with something positive.

  • Cathy

    My aunt taught me to knit when I was visiting her after I graduated from high school. I managed to knit a passable sweater and a scarf or two, then set my needles aside while I pursued a college degree. When I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma a few years later, I picked up my needles again as something to do while sitting in waiting rooms and hooked up to chemotherapy machines. It was such a relaxing escape, not to mention a “sanity saver” to concentrate on the soothing repetition that knitting can provide. I’ve been in remission for 11 years, but I still knit for the same reasons – relaxation & stress-relief – as well as for handy Christmas and birthday gifts for family and friends!

  • pat

    After a hand injury and surgery I couldn’t crochet for a while. But as healing occurred I was able to start slowly. It was a continuation of my physical therapy. I find I wind down at the end of the day as I crochet and it helps to relax before my night shift. Patty P you are not a failure, those parents will never know the joy of those twins,but if parents can do that the twins probably are better off or who knows maybe they were surrogates.

  • http://craftygal1965.blogspot.com Cora Shaw

    I first picked up knitting when I was 8 as part of earning a Brownie badge. I just didn’t get it. Fast forward 10 years later, I find out I am pregnant and will be raising my child alone. My mother, a firm believer in hand knit items for babies, who taught me to knit.

    Mom taught me to knit using a garter stitch baby cardigan. Not the easiest project to learn on…lol. I thank God everyday for my mom. I had a very difficult pregnancy and knitting got me through.

    I had 2 other pregnancies of which I was on bed rest. I didn’t find out about why I was having difficulties with them until my third child. After him I had my tubes tied so that I wouldn’t go through another difficult pregnancy.

    While pregnant with the youngest I learned to crochet and I loved it. I now do both and I have even been designing my own designs in the last couple of years.

    Knitting and crocheting have helped to work through alcohol cravings. I am a recovering alcoholic, 3 1/2 years now. Knitting and crocheting are my way of meditating and to quiet the “voices” in my head. I was diagnosed as bipolar and this has truly helped.

    It helped me after being the survivor of a home invasion that left me emotionally and mentally paralyzed for months. I love the skills that I have learned over the years. My husband loves the projects as they come off the needles or hook.

    Cora

  • Ilehlia

    My mother taught me to knit when I was seven and recovering from measles, bored, but unable to return to school. That was over 45 years ago and I have been knitting since. I taught myself to crochet from a book when I was 14. I set them aside for awhile during high school and university, but took them up again.

    Two and a half years ago, my ex-husband had me evicted from the house. It was the end of January, and I couldn’t fit much in my little car. For some reason, I grabbed a bag of knitting needles and crochet hooks that I had just bought, all in large sizes because I had been making prayer shawls. No yarn, just the hooks and needles. For a year and a half, I was in shock and depression, and living at the mercy of people who let me stay with them. One woman gave me a bag of small-size knitting needles she got at an auction. I picked up leftover yarn at second-hand shops for very cheap. Other people gave me yarn left over from projects or that they realized they would never use. At first I felt like the “stuffing” had been knocked out of my creativity, and I couldn’t get back into it. But I made some Christmas presents for friends who helped me through the period, and with the leftover yarn I made myself a cute tea cosy with knitted roses on top (like the latest newsletter!) That got me going again, and this past winter I made things for eight different babies being born in my circle at church. I thank God for my computer and the Internet, where I can find patterns to replace all the ones I had to leave behind. I miss my stash and my steel crochet hooks that I made lace with, but slowly God is replacing everything. Like the others above have said, knitting and crocheting are very soothing and life affirming. When you can make something to bless others, you forget about your own situation.

  • Heidi

    For most of my life I have had to deal with depression. I had been able to keep it in check without medication or therapy. A year and a half ago it became severe. At that point I lost interest in all but one of my hobbies. That one hobby was knitting. I could only do small projects since anything large seemed to overwhelming. I had learned to knit socks and that was the perfect fit for me. Easy to take along and do while waiting for my therapy sessions. In an otherwise unproductive time in my life, I could feel that I had accomplished something when I had a completed pair. I’m back to doing larger projects, but I still keep sock yarn handy.

  • Sandy

    I learned to crochet while hanging out with my boyfriend’s “garage band” in the late 70’s. I made afghans for friends and family – then put down my hooks to start a family. One snowy March Saturday – I looked at my two sons (ages 7 and 9) and said – “Either I find yarn and hooks or I’m going to throw you into a snow bank!” So off we went to find yarn and hook (in a very small Wyoming town…) But find them we did – and other than carpel tunnel surgery and a broken wrist – I haven’t put my hooks down since.

    Crochet has gotten me through a divorce, depression, death, graduations, marriages and births. I lost count long ago how many afghans, baby blankets and Easter baskets I’ve made. All my sons friends received an afghan from me when they graduated high school – it was a hug from me as they headed out into the world.

    Now I crochet prayer shawls with a group at my church and for a local hospital. I’ve started a ministry (again, through my church) to make afghans and blankets for children, family and homeless shelters. I find joy in knowing that my crocheted “hugs” are wrapping people in prayer, hope and love. It doesn’t matter anymore if I know who those people are – as long as they know that someone, some where cared enough to care for them.

  • Sharon Sferrazza

    Knitting has helped me cope with the death of my mother, my son’s cancer diagnosis, a rocky marriage, and everyday life. I just became a grandmother and our son won’t allow us to even see the baby. I had already started a Big Bad Baby Blanket for my grandson and was crying (sobbing) as I knit. My husband reminded me that just because I couldn’t see our grandson right now, that didn’t mean that I couldn’t keep knitting things for him. I also knit for Project Linus out of gratitude for my son’s remission, and for the sick kids who need something that isn’t “hospital colored” while they receive treatment.

  • Pam

    I have been knitting off and on since I was 8. I still have the original size 8 needles given to me from the dear neighbor that started to teach me. My Dad being an old farm boy from the Prarie in Canada where the Winters were beastly showed me a bit too. I have been knitting cotton dish cloths for a number of years and have taken my knitting and quilting to many of my kids sporting events. Just something to keep my hands busy. Recently, my husband has decided to be unfaithful and he and his girlfriend decided to start calling me a name having to do with knitting. The name got back to me and I stopped knitting because of the pain it was causing me. I recently realized how much I had missed doing it and decided to heck with them and am back to my dish cloths!! I have been knitting them for a lot of people whom have done wonderful favors for me as I don’t have a lot of money right now, but I give them to those who have helped me and it feels good to give back and I too find my knitting very relaxing and theraputic for my broken heart. I am thankful that knitting has come back from being a lost art.

  • packrat1

    I decided to (finally) learn how to properly crochet (and knit and loom-knit) when I had a back injury that I thought was going to permanently prevent me from sewing any more. But after three years I am able to get back to sewing, but it’s hard to find time while I am so ADDICTED to all things yarny now! Ravelry and LIONBRAND.COM are two of my favorite places on the web.

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