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.

  “Knitting and designing continues to benefit me in my recovery, as one of my doctors told me that the mechanics of knitting works one damaged area of my brain and the creativity behind the designing works another. I am eternally grateful for the blessing that my "treatment" comes in such an enjoyable form, that is, through two needles of the wooden kind.”

“Knitting and designing continues to benefit me in my recovery, as one of my doctors told me that the mechanics of knitting works one damaged area of my brain and the creativity behind the designing works another. I am eternally grateful for the blessing that my "treatment" comes in such an enjoyable form, that is, through two needles of the wooden kind.”


“My doctor suggested finding something that I could do just for myself to unwind from a hectic day. Over 18 months later, I can thankfully say my craft has saved me. I look forward to the end of the day, now knowing that my time is still productive with the endless garments I've made. Knitting literally has helped me slow down my once busy life and have a sense of accomplishment.”


“I found myself resentful over not taking time to de-stress after a long day of devoting so much time to other people. I was feeling very overworked. My doctor suggested finding something that I could do just for myself to unwind from a hectic day. I knew I really enjoyed knitting and crochet but just hadn’t done them in a long time. I allowed an economical budget of purchasing the items I needed and then got busy with my hands. Over 18 months later, I can thankfully say my craft has saved me. I look forward to the end of the day, now knowing that my time is still productive with the endless garments I’ve made. Knitting literally has helped me slow down my once busy life and have a sense of accomplishment.”