Another school year comes to an end and the joy of summer approaches. For many students, summer is especially uplifting because it means the end of a chapter of their lives and a year of both struggles and cheerful memories experienced in school. Although many high school students may still be busy over the summer with internships, summer camps, and other extracurricular activities, there is still some leeway to gift themselves a greatly deserved break. One way to relieve stress during this summer break is to start knitting.
Knitting may seem difficult at first glance, but after some practice, it can be quick to become a new favorite hobby. Supplies are simple: yarn, knitting needles, knitting gauge, stitch markers, and a tapestry needle. Among the several knitting needle sizes, a 6.5 mm needle can be comfortable to hold since it is close to the standard pencil size. Simple knitting projects to begin with are baby blankets, scarves, hats, or mittens.
Ko-Eun Lee, a rising senior at Northview High School, says that “looming is an easier and faster way to knit for beginners.” Loom knitting is similar to knitting, but instead of using two needles, a knitting loom and hook are used instead. Knitting begins with a slip knot to secure the yarn onto the loom, then one must perform a cast on, which is knitting the stitch on the left needle and drawing a loop through. This process continues until more rows are added around the loom, creating knitted fabric.
The rewards of knitting do not end with just satisfaction, but also come with mental and physical benefits. Focusing on knitting in rhythmic patterns can take the mind off of negative thoughts and relieves stress, anxiety, and depression. The content from finished products made completely by hand can boost self esteem as well. In fact, knitting is used as a form of art therapy to relieve stress and improve self confidence. It is also used in group therapy to facilitate conversation. Knitting should not be limited to any age because even children can learn to knit, which is proven to help them learn to read better, and it is also useful for the elderly to exercise motor skills and delay dementia.
In addition, the physical benefits of knitting can also be life changing. Knitting can reduce blood pressure, heart rate, and relaxes the body so that it is better able to fight illnesses. The repetitive process of knitting and the needles’ clicking sounds psychologically trigger a lower heart rate that reduces heart strain. Activating finger and wrist movements also improves functional skills and builds up cartilage in the fingers, making them stronger.
It is amazing how just a few balls of yarn and knitting needles can transform into a variety of items like cozy accessories and sublime homeware. After several days of practicing, knitting can become a hobby that rewards effort with creative products to be proud of.