We've done a few social posts about the joys of slow stitching. I posted "stitch-meditation" and someone commented knitting is "hand yoga". Did you know knitting and hand stitching have many benefits beyond the sweater, scarf or mended pair of jeans?
Knit for Peace did a study of knitters in the UK and found "that knitting has physical and mental health benefits, that it slows the onset of dementia, combats depression and distracts from chronic pain,” I thought the chronic pain part was interesting but it makes sense, focusing on something else gives you a mental and therefore a physical break. I know I rely on hand work either knitting or hand stitching to help me destress especially after listening to the news.
The Craft Yarn Council sponsors #stitchawaystress in April as part of National Stress Awareness month. This year's campaign is "all about self-care and its intersection with yarn crafts." They'll have all kinds of cool tips including "how to incorporate self-care into your life, meditative stitches to practice, soft yarns to soothe your nerves and so much more!"
I loved Eileen's thoughts on the Stitch Away Stress video where knitting helped her go from "react, react, react to calm down". Kristy spoke about how stitching helped deal with her anxiety and most importantly created an opportunity for breathing. Watching the video made me feel good, sometimes I think the only time I really breath is in yoga class. Now I can consciously expand into breath awareness while stitching.
Don't get stressed if you're new to knitting or crocheting there are plenty of youtube videos and Craft Yarn council's learning center has a list. Even better than a video is a class at your local yarn shop, giving you get stress relief, creativity and community.
A few years ago I discovered the designer and slow fashion advocate Natalie Chanin and her company Alabama Chanin and The School of Making. I bought the book Alabama Studio Sewing + Design and the world of hand-stitching opened up. I stitched every cold winter morning so I can start my day with something good. I made my dress for Carly's wedding using bottle caps as circle tracers. It was such a great project for travel because the materials were easy to pack and therapeutic to use.
Katrina Rodabaugh is another slow stitch inspiration. Her book Mending Matters has specific details for mending mostly jeans including the inner thigh tear. There's a big focus on "how to" with great pictures and lots of details. There's also Katrina's thoughts on "the relationship between fiber art, sustainability, and slow fashion." It's both practical and inspirational.
If you want a bit of community in your stitching think about joining 25 Million Stitches, a public engagement art installation incorporating activism, stitching, community and raising awareness about the plight of refugees worldwide. "There are no bad, ugly, or uneven stitches in this project. Uneven stitches and personal designs make the panels more unique and beautiful. We encourage you to be creative! " It's a chance to be creative and stitch for good but don't wait to get started, panels need to arrive in CA by April 30th.
We hope this blog got you excited about the joys and calming effects of working with your hands. What are you working on? We'd love to hear.