Women That Yarn
Issue No. 3: Words from the Wise
WORDS - Sarah Guenther
Illustration - Actual Footage of Me
Is there anything better than receiving a handmade gift from someone you love, the kind where it’s clear that a lot of love and time went into the creation of it? For many people, a hand-knitted or crocheted item is that gift. A sweater or pair of socks takes a lot of time and patience to make, and crafts like knitting and crocheting have been around for hundreds of years, passed down from generation to generation.
Knitting and crocheting, along with spinning, weaving, and a variety of other crafts, are known as fiber arts, and the community of people who practice them spans age groups and the globe, with traditional methods and patterns passed down as a way of preserving culture. These skills not only provide a creative outlet and a way to give homemade gifts, but for many people, they help when times are tough. The Craft Yarn Council has surveyed hundreds of people and the results are clear: 57% of women who are 55 or older say that knitting or crocheting helps them manage pain, 78% say it helps them reduce stress, and 57% say it helps decrease their anxiety. The fiber arts community isn’t the only one that recognizes the positive health benefits of this craft either; doctors agree too.
Fiber arts keep hands busy, and by extension, minds. Rather than dwelling on the stresses of everyday life, the rhythmic and repetitive movements of the stitches are therapeutic, similar to meditation. It’s no surprise that fiber arts are increasingly being used in hospitals, clinics, schools, and even prisons to help people lead healthier, happier lives.
As self-care continues to be a priority and as more women seek to connect with their heritage or ancestry, fiber arts can be a way to accomplish both. It can also be a way to learn about another community or culture through a craft. There are classes and lessons in fiber arts led by people of all ages so learning and practicing this craft can be a powerful way to connect across generations. If you already know how to knit or crochet (or weave, spin, embroider, cross stitch, etc.), join a community of thousands of women who have passed these crafts on to their daughters, granddaughters, nieces, friends, and communities. It’s traditional wisdom that you can touch and share with others.