I discovered knitting initially as a way to pass the time in trailers and dressing rooms while waiting to go on set as an actress. The repetitive action, the feel of the yarn and the time spent productively helped me calm any adrenaline or anxious energy that had been building in my body. Knitting helped me calm my mind, focus my breathing and concentrate on something simple and peaceful.
Later in my life I started a period of therapy. At a particularly low point and my lovely and immensely helpful therapist identified that knitting would once again aid in calming me, helping me hold space for myself and boost my self esteem with what I made. Although I had never stopped knitting it became a healthy coping mechanism, a go-to when I needed some extra support and one that I continue to rely on.
We are currently all living in a period of history where our comfort levels are challenged, almost daily, whether as a direct consequence of the pandemic, lockdown, the necessary conversations and spotlight on triggering issues such as Black Lives Matter or the #MeToo Movement. Let alone a million other things like social media, 24 hour news cycles...the list goes on, and on.
For me and many of my students past and present, knitting offers a much welcomed respite from the noise of the world. A positive and proactive activity that is portable and comfortable. It is mediative. I have taught people who have been referred by therapists, recommended by friends after dealing with a mental health issue, trauma, burn out or simply overwhelm. One of the many things I love about teaching knitting is the safe, open space it creates for both conversation and stillness. I learn about my students, their day to day lives, their challenges, we share insights into our cultural backgrounds and experiences, we laugh and connect. But we also just knit together, we share a space of focus and quiet.
Through teaching knitting, a skill can continue to serve people for years to come, whatever they end up making with it, I get to see their confidence grow with their skills. I hear about the encounters and positive conversations it sparks in their life. The reconnections with family it helps bridge. It is truly a beautiful privilege to share a craft that continues to serve me personally, with people all over the world.
Once again I am at a point in my life where the knitting has become a necessary part of my self care routine and like always, it works. I am currently making my second Musselburgh Hat designed by Ysolda Teague. Having just made one for my daughter I am now knitting one for myself using a sock weight yarn. A simple and beautiful Watchman style hat which requires a lot of straightforward knitting (after the shaping section), it is giving me space to breathe and a much appreciated sense of calm and peace. I am so so grateful to have knitting in my proverbial bag of healthy coping strategies for when life gets a little too heavy....plus I get to make beautiful things for my friends, daughter and myself! BONUS!
You can learn all of the required skills for this pattern and more with my Beginner Knitting course or pick the specific skills class you need with the single class options. An Intro to Circular Knitting is coming to the website very soon. Be sure to sign up to my mailing list, The Loop, to be notified.