Last month I wrote an article called “Why bother knitting a scarf?” Much to my surprise, I received thousands of positive reactions from readers who share my love of homemade, local, and beautiful “slow fashion” items. Clearly, knitting is being embraced by people from all walks of life who benefit from its peaceful, relaxing repetition. It got me wondering – what’s really going on when people knit? Why is it so tremendously popular?
It turns out that knitting has incredible health benefits. It makes people feel good in just about every way. A bit of research has revealed a wide range of ways in which knitting helps humans cope, physically and mentally.
1. Knitting is used for therapy. It’s a powerful distractant, helping people manage long-term physical pain. For those who are depressed, knitting can motivate them to connect with the world. It is a conversation starter, allowing people to interact politely without making eye contact. It builds confidence and self-esteem.
2. Knitting is supremely relaxing, which is extremely important for reducing stress and anxiety. Dr. Herbert Benson, founder of Harvard’s Mind/Body Medical Institute, wrote The Relaxation Response, in which he recommends the repetition of a word, sound, phrase, prayer, or muscular activity to elicit “the relaxation response” – decreased heart rate, muscle tension, and blood pressure. Knitting is likened to meditation, sometimes described by knitters as “spiritual” and “Zen-like.”
3. Knitting connects people. By joining a knitting group, a solitary activity turns into a social one. One study, called “The Benefits of Knitting for Personal and Social Wellbeing in Adulthood” and published in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy, found that “knitting in a group impacted significantly on perceived happiness, improved social contact, and communication with others.”
Join Audra Kurtz and learn how to create a 30 minute infinity scarf using a very simple arm knitting technique.
So easy, anyone can do it!
Now that the holiday season is coming to a close, you may be thinking of ways to improve your knitting skills in the new year. If you’re wondering where to start we have the perfect opportunity for you.
Whether you’re a beginner just learning to knit or you’re a stitch afficionado looking take your afghan knitting to the next level, you’ll want to try “My First Slip-Stitch Afghan,” one of four classes that Lion Brand offers on Craftsy.
Slip stitch knitting is such a beautiful method that creates a woven colorwork effect. It’s an easy but complex looking stitch, but even a novice knitter can handle it. One of the best qualities of this stitch is that you work with just one color per row, no changing colors or stranding. With “My First Slip-Stitch Afghan,” knitwear designer Rhonda Fargnoli, will teach you how to create our Slip Stitch Sampler Throw, which is composed of six different slip stitch patterns.
The great thing about buying a Craftsy class, it’s yours to own; you can watch it as often as you want until you’ll have a newly completed slip stitch afghan.
Order now at $19.99 (original price of $29.99)*
*Price is for a limited time only
Get the look of knitting without using needles. Using the simple technique of arm knitting, you can make a scarf in just half an hour!
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If you’re an avid crocheter like myself, you’ve probably always wanted to learn to knit. I’m especially moved to learn how to knit when I know a new baby is on the way.
I think so many people want to learn because they know that it really is a great skill to master … plus, it’s nice to know you have many of options when it comes to creating a handmade gift.
Now you can learn to make precious keepsakes with Lion Brand’s latest Learn to Knit Baby Kit. This all-in-one kit will teach you to knit while making a hat and booties set for a baby. We have two kits available: one for girls (pictured right) and one for boys. This kit includes everything from the instructions, to the yarn, needles, and gift supplies.
Just learn it, make it, and give it. All for 9.95!
One of the most important things we do at Lion Brand is offer education through tips, techniques and step-by-step how-tos. That’s because we know that learning will enhance your ability to enjoy working with yarn.
This year, we asked ourselves how we can get more deeply involved in teaching knitters and crocheters all over the world to grow their skills in a way that can mimic the classroom setting. That’s where Craftsy came in. Craftsy is the premiere online education platform for crafters. We are combining Lion Brand’s beautifully designed patterns and quality yarns with Craftsy’s know-how in online education and their sophisticated, interactive technology.
You, our readers, asked for it and we’re happy to oblige! Designer and teacher Heather Lodinsky joins us for a new article on understanding the fundamentals of your knitting.
Knowing exactly where you are in a knitting project requires knowing where you have been. “Reading” your stitches by identifying a knit versus a purl stitch is helpful in showing you where you are in a stitch pattern. In the last article I wrote, I showed how to identify the stitches already worked to know where you are in your knitting.
Sometimes no matter how hard I try, I can easily lose track of which row I am working in a pattern. Life happens—the phone rings, we get talking or we just have to leave our knitting for some reason. Then I come back to my knitting and…what row was I working? There are various tools out there to help us keep track of our rows. Row counters exist that either attach to your needle, or need to be clicked and there are even “counting boards” where pegs are moved to show what row we are working. Even the simple “hash mark” on a piece of paper works well, but there is still that human element of just plain forgetting to mark the paper, move the peg or click the counter to the next number. As a knitting teacher, one of the most common questions I am asked is: “What row am I on?”
A skill as important as identifying your stitches is the ability to count your rows without a “counter”. The best way to count stitches is by first identifying a stitch and then being able to count stitches up and down, which will tell us how many rows we have done and what row we need to work next.
Lets’s first look at stockinette stitch – which, when we are working a flat piece, is knitted on the right side of the fabric and purled on the wrong side. First, we have to be able to identify a “knit” stitch. Look closely at the right side of stockinette stitch and see that a knit stitch looks like a “V”. This is what we are looking for in order to help us count our rows.
We asked our customers on Facebook what lessons they’ve learned from crafting over the years. I was so inspired by the responses we got that I created an animated series! Share your story and you might get animated!
Throughout this season, we’re reposting some of our favorite columns by Barbara Breiter, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting, previously featured in our Weekly Stitch newsletter.
Short rows are partial rows of knitting. They are used to shape projects in a way that decreases or increases cannot accomplish. They can create darts in a pullover and heels of a sock. You can make wedges or “slices of a pie”; when the wedges are continually made, you have an entire “pie” and, depending upon the scale, you will have a cloth or a large circular throw. Short rows can also be used to create a bell curve, which knits up as a wonderful shawl collar on a sweater.
Don’t shy away from a pattern using short rows because it just seems too complicated. Once you get the hang of it, it’s no more difficult than knitting or purling.
There are two important concepts in short rows: turning and wrapping.
It may seem incorrect, but turn whenever your pattern indicates to do so. You may be at the end of a row or you may not be; if you’re not at the end, turn your work just as if you were at the end of the row, and then work the next set of instructions going in the other direction. Sometimes you just have to have faith that it will turn out correctly in the end. So even if it seems totally wrong, keep going!
Wrapping prevents holes from forming. There are several ways of accomplishing this and your pattern should give specific instructions. What’s important to note is that the working yarn is literally wrapped around a stitch; usually this is a slipped stitch.
Writer and avid knitter Selma Moss-Ward joins us for a series of blog posts about becoming a first-time grandmother and knitting toys. Click here to read her previous blog posts.
If you’ve ever played with stuffed animals, you know that proportion in the Toy Universe has its own logic. In the Toy Universe, unlike our own, Leo the Lion’s much smaller than William the Hedgehog—and that is perfectly fine. In the Toy Universe, it doesn’t matter if someone’s face is the size of another’s paw. What matters is having stuffy friends, and a person who loves you.
As soon as I began knitting Leo, from a buttery shade of Lion Brand’s Martha Stewart Crafts™ Extra Soft Wool, I knew he’d be a great pal for William, who’s metaphorically prickly on the outside, but soft within. The two of them are excited about traveling to California to live with my new grandson.