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Sarah E. White

The Power of Knit

By January 17, 2013

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When I went to that fiber festival last month, there were competitions for the fastest knitter and fastest crocheter. I happened to win the fastest knitter contest, though I know I was knitting a lot slower than I can (it's strangely stressful knitting on a stage while someone is timing you!). One of the prizes I got for winning was a collection of books from Annie Modesitt, who had been the keynote speaker at the event the previous year.

cheaper than therapyCheaper than Therapy, edited by Annie Modesitt. Mode Knit Press.

I'd read Modesitt's Confessions of a Knitting Heretic before and really enjoyed it. Her driving force, like so many of the great knitting teachers out there, is that if we could get less caught up in fear and what's supposed to be hard when it comes to knitting, we'd all be a lot better off. A self-taught knitter, her first project was a colorwork sweater, so you can see why she thinks we need to throw skill level designations out the window.

That book is both educational and inspiring, so I was excited to take a look at another book that was in my goodie bag that I hadn't read before. Cheaper than Therapy is a collection of essays from a range of knitters and crocheters exploring the healing power of sticks and string. The authors talk about how working with yarn has helped them through grief, social anxiety, debilitating illnesses, the sicknesses of family members, and all sorts of other difficult circumstances.

This book is comforting and a nice reminder that knitting is so much more than something to do while watching TV and what we get out of it is more than a sweater or a pair of socks.


January 19, 2013 at 10:25 pm
(1) Hamimono says:

Congratulations, Sarah! You must be a very fast knitter. That is so cool. English or Continental? (Probably Continental . . .)

Regarding knitting as therapy, I couldn’t agree more. I got seriously into knitting about six years ago when my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had to be her rock and keep everything else going in the family, work, community as well. I was so stressed out! Who knows why the knitting I had learned as a kid occurred to me but when I sat with the tactile repetion of hands and needles and wool something soothing and centered happened in my mind and body. I knit as a process—although I do like to finish things sometimes too!— and knit in a quiet place while thinking about each stitch. Knitting has been my thinking time and daily meditation for a long time now and I imagine it will be there for me until I drop.

January 20, 2013 at 10:34 pm
(2) knitting says:

I’m actually an English knitter, but I’ve been focusing on improving my form lately. Kay Gardiner said my style is very efficient for an English knitter, and I guess she was right!

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