Well hello again. Sweet, I just found out I can configure my photos on the sides!
An activity I find fun and stimulating for therapeutical (and not just physically) reasons is the age-old hobby of knitting.
Knitting?! you say (especially, perhaps, if you are male). But I don’t know how to knit.
That’s fine. Neither did I. But in 2008 my very kind and patient roommate took out the time to teach me — and where she fell short (like casting on and binding off), I filled in the gaps with how-to books to learn on my own.
Then, when I decided to take the practice more seriously, I joined a knitting group at my local library (I think they call themselves the “Knitpickers”). The support and collective knowledge of all the ladies (yes, I am the youngest member of the club, something that should change — and quick! — because it truly is a relaxing and useful hobby) is worth more than any books you could possibly pick up.
My tips on knitting.
- get a mentor to teach you and help you learn just the basics — casting on, knitting, purling, and binding off. Their expertise on the subject will save you a lot of frustration and get you out of a lot of knotty messes.
- also get a book — or rent a DVD from the library — on these same basics: When you know those four fundamentals, you can make anything from scarves to sweaters. The book will help you where your mentor cannot.
- join a group of knitters, which will keep you accountable and provide a comprehensive wealth of knitting tips and supplies. It could also be a fun social outlet.
- don’t knit too tightly at first. It’ll make things a LOT easier.
- don’t get overwhelmed by the ladies in your knitting group who can knit with their eyes closed and come in every week with a new addition to their wardrobes that they made in two days. Their experience trumps yours, and you can’t expect to reach their level without the practice — again, a marathon and not a sprint. Rather, learn from them.
- Keep practicing. I promise you, as hopeless as it can sometimes seem in the beginning, the more you do it the better it gets. I stuck with it and now knit much more perfectly than I did in my first, like, ten to twenty attempts.
The knitting engages both hands, so it attacks some fine and even minor gross motor skills. I think probably the way it incorporates both hands is even more stimulating, and precisely why I recommend first taking on knitting rather than crochet, which involves just one hook rather than two needles. (Although I could be wrong. If you’ve crocheted and think it’s just as beneficial, shoot me a comment below and/or an e-mail and I’ll stand corrected!)
And once you become proficient, you can even make any of the cute winter accessories you see at Urban Outfitters or what have you, for a fraction of the price and just a little “sweat equity.”
Speaking of which, even just making things, some basic arts and crafts if that’s your thing, while incorporating both sides — and perhaps enlisting a little help — can be a fun and useful home therapy technique. Observe the headband I made based on a $20 headband I saw at Urban, which I replicated for only nine dollars!
Feed into your creative outlet . . . and who knows, you may even be able to start making some beautiful, handmade-and-from-the-heart gifts to the ones you love or if I can be candid, sell some of your creations for a profit sometime.
To our healing,
PS. A few nice knitting books include Stitch ‘N’ Bitch: The Knitter’s Handbook and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting, both of which you can get below. (I’m so excited about all the new features I’m learning to add to the site! Can you tell? Let me know by commenting below if you find these changes useful, or at least my ideas.)