20 good reasons you should start knitting

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Jean-Baptiste Greuze, "Knitter Asleep", 1759
Jean-Baptiste Greuze, “Knitter Asleep”, 1759

“Knitting is the saving of life.” -Virginia Woolf

1. Knitting is a virtue. “Knitting is a distinct virtue. It’s reflective and repetitive. Whenever you are engaged in doing a purely repetitive thing, your mind can reflect upon life.” -Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury

2. Knit to improve your health. “Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn’t hurt the untroubled spirit, either.” -Elizabeth Zimmerman

3. Knit to make other people happy. “For me, giving a knitted gift is precious as each stitch has been an action I have taken to make something lovely for someone. I hope my knitting will bring a little joy.” -Caroline Wilbor

4. Knit to meet new friends. “It is also true of devoted knitters that they immediately feel a connection and camaraderie when meeting a fellow knitter. There is a sense of trust that opens a door into conversation and often leads to deep long-lasting friendship.” -Ilana Rabinowitz

5. Knit to impress your parents. “It’s a kind of trick, Dad, because it’s just a long, long, fat string and it turns into a scarf.” -E. Annie Proulx

6. Knit to feel good. “[Knitting] changes brain chemistry for the better, possibly by decreasing stress hormones and increasing feel-good serotonin and dopamine.” -Monica Baird, Royal United Hospital, Bath

7. Knit to write better. “Knitting is very conducive to thought. It is nice to knit a while, put down the needles, write a while, then take up the sock again.” -Dorothy Day

8. Knit to be more patient. “You don’t knit because you are patient. You are patient because you knit.” -Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

9. Knit because it is beautiful. “There is nothing more satisfying than casting on and knitting. Passing yarn over the needle reminds me of water flowing over a stone in a stream. It is so soothing, relaxing and ultimately satisfying. You’re giving time back to yourself — it’s like a kind of meditation. Those who don’t knit have no idea what they are missing.” -Brandon Mably

10. Knitting is for the romantic. “I was a foolhardy lover who has always been prepared to throw his loyalty and devotion at the feet of Mistress Knitting.” -James Norbury

11. Knit to prevent arguments. “‘There!’ said Mother irritably, ‘you’ve made me lose count. I do wish you wouldn’t argue with me when I’m knitting.’” -Gerald Durrell, “My Family and Other Animals,” 1956

12. Knit to be a part of a Charles Dickens novel. “‘You knit with great skill, madame.’ ‘I am accustomed to it.’ ‘A pretty pattern too!’ ‘You think so?’ said madame, looking at him with a smile. ‘Decidedly. May one ask what it is for?’ ‘Pastime,’ said madame, looking at him with a smile, while her fingers moved nimbly.” -Charles Dickens, “A Tale of Two Cities,” 1859

13. Knit to be a more peaceful person. “It’s hard not to think of the item’s recipient while knitting, and knitters say that each stitch is like saying a prayer for, or meditating on, the recipient. How freeing it is to stop thinking about problems and hand yourself over to a couple of hours of peace and quiet.” -Renée Blixt

14. Knit to be a more enjoyable person. “I like hanging around people who knit. They are usually in a good mood.” -Mark Frauenfelder

15. Knit to improve your multitasking. “She turned again to Mrs. Ansley, but the latter had reached a delicate point in her knitting. ‘One, two, three — slip two; yes, they must have been,’ she assented, without looking up. Mrs. Slade’s eyes rested on her with a deepened attention. ‘She can knit — in the face of this! How like her … ’” -Edith Wharton, “Roman Fever,” 1934

16. Knit to use your time more wisely. “Everybody tells me that they would love to knit, but they don’t have time. I look at people’s lives and I can see opportunity and time for knitting all over the place. The time spent riding the bus each day? That’s a pair of socks over a month. Waiting in line? Mittens. Watching TV? Buckets of wasted time that could be an exquisite lace shawl.” -Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

17. Knit to connect yourself to history. “Whenever I would take up the needles I would feel myself connected not only to my own mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, but also to the women who lived centuries before me, the women who had developed the craft, the women who had known, as I did, the incredible satisfaction and sense of serenity that could come from the steady, rhythmic click-click-click of one’s knitting needles. These women had experienced the meditative and peaceful quality that overcomes one’s mind while knitting; they understood the way that one’s thoughts get worked right into one’s knitting, discovering, as I did, that whatever I was thinking about when I last worked on a piece would immediately spring back into my mind when I picked up the work again later on, as though knitting were a sort of mental tape recorder.” -Debbie Stoller

18. Knit to solve the world’s problems. “Women like to sit down with trouble — as if it were knitting.” -Ellen Glasgow, suffragette

19. Knit to be brave. “It takes balls to knit.” -Steve Malcolm

20. Knit to be closer to God. “[Knitting is] capable of being made, not only [a source] of personal gratification, but of high moral benefit, and the means of developing in surpassing loveliness and grace, some of the highest and noblest feelings of the soul.” -Anonymous, “The Ladies’ Work-Table Book,” 1845

Quotes and excerpts have been taken from Erika Knight’s book “Keep Calm and Cast On: Good Advice for Knitters,” published by Quadrille Publishing in 2011.

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