Stix & Yarn

Stix & Yarn-pin

Top models are doing it, kids are doing it and the wrinklies have been at it for years!  Don’t miss out on adding a new skill to your life CV.

Get a domestic survival craft under your belt that will:

-save you tons of money
-provide you and yours with a totally unique wardrobe
-save you from munchie attacks and keep the waistline in order
-resolve all gift giving problems
-give your creative energy an outlet when you’re on overload
-help you relax while creating something practical and fun

And you’ll get oodles of brownie points and plenty of oohs and aaahs without even trying. And the name of this wonderful craft? – Knitting, of course!

Before you rush away fearing the worst scenario of being a wrinkly old grey haired witch who clacks her needles at everyone all day long – stop! The vision is scary enough.

As I said before, top models knit between performances. It’s a calming exercise and practical. (Did you know knitting can burn 100 calories an hour?)

Children in the Shetland islands learned to knit as part of their school curriculum. Survival skills for youngsters will stay with them all their lives. I learned to knit when I was four years old and the skill has got me out of trouble a few times in my life – but that’s another story!

And the wrinklies are at it. Well many of them. During the war years and the years following when rations were tight, survival skills were needed. The choice of tools and materials they had were limited and many knitters were obliged to knit for long hours to produce a simple pair of socks. These socks, made from 100% wool would no doubt need darning within a few weeks.

But now, with technology at our fingertips and no rationing going on, except in my house where there is a serious de-caff regime happening, we can explore textures and styles beyond the wildest dreams of our predecessors.

Knitting is in fact simply a series of slip knots made with a couple of pointy sticks and a length of yarn.

Yes, that’s all there is to it! Fishermen of old could teach you how to knit a fishing net and probably a cosy jumper as well. Tradition has it that men dominated the craft of knitting for many centuries. Information is a bit sketchy as to when women took over – but they sure did.

During the 17th century, a clergyman invented the knitting machine out of sheer frustration at being made to wait for his beloved for hours because she was knitting.

Whether his motives were valiant or lustful, the male of the species seems to have lost touch with hand knitting around that time and domestic crafts started taking second place to industrial based products.

This is a shame because every man, woman and child can knit almost anything with a couple of sticks and a length of yarn.

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So let’s recap the benefits in more detail:

1. Save a ton of cash

Once you establish you have a new hobby, the materials you need will start appearing from nowhere. I have pounds of yarn and hundreds of needles and I’ve no idea where most of it came from. I like to believe the law of attraction was at work for me. 🙂

Put the word out you’re looking for spare balls of yarn, look in charity shops and end of sale clearances. You could even unpick hand knitted garments – as long as they haven’t been washed too often as the fibres lock together too tightly to unpick. Then when you knit your own garments and gifts, you’ll save tons of cash.

** If you have a little cash spare to start you off, it may be worth grabbing a pack of multi coloured yarns from Amazon or Ebay, or if your budget will stretch, support a local knitting shop and get to know them. They are often very helpful and friendly!

 
2. Provide you and yours with a totally unique wardrobe

How could it be otherwise? Every hand knitted product has it’s own mark of personality in it. Just as writing a story or an article will have your style injected into it or a certain chocolate cake you make will be better than any other cake on the planet.

You can choose colours, styles, change patterns to suit you. It takes a little practice – and a knowledge of multiplication tables helps when you start designing your own patterns, but before you start your own designing, simply creating an unusual colour scheme will make your item unique to you.

“You could start with simple accessories – experiment or practice following simple patterns – Fun Knits over on the knitsulove page is proving to be a popular starting block”

 
3. Saves you from munchie attacks

What more can I say? Knitting is totally incompatible with eating chocolate or salty snacks. You need both hand free from stickiness to knit, so you won’t even be able to get that late night bowl of cornflakes eaten before they go soggy! And an added bonus is that knitting can burn 100 calories an hour – win-win-win!

 
4. Resolve gift giving problems

You could knit toys, clothes, accessories and even Christmas decorations. The patterns available are awesome and often very easy to follow. Have a look in knitting supply shops, online stores such as Etsy or Amazon and browse the amazing designs available. You could also find knitting patterns often published in women’s weekly magazines. Check out your local newsagents for these type of publications. They may even have monthly knitting magazines which often have free gifts with them.

“I don’t mean to harp on about the knitting page we have here, but definitely check it out for gift giving ideas!”

 
5. Give your creative energy an outlet when you’re on overload.

If you need a break from your desk, kitchen or anywhere else, sit in your favourite chair and get out your knitting. If you only knit for ten minutes, while searching in your mind for that elusive word or brainstorming some ideas that are still at the thinking stage, or simply finding a solution to a problem, you will not only have added to the item you’re making, you will have removed yourself physically from the problem or issue you were facing. You don’t always need a five mile hike to get to grips with the world again.

 
6. Helps you relax

There have been scientific studies showing a significant reduction of stress in the physical body while knitting. You get relaxed before you start – although I have been known to have my knitting in a large pocket and whip it out every now and then if I’m watching a pot come to the boil in the kitchen – but really, best to relax.

The simple act of moving the needles in the right way, even if you are following a complicated pattern, will create a an amazing sense of achievement which equals a feeling of worthiness and joy.

 
7. Improves your literacy and numeracy skills

Yep, there have been scientific studies apparently that show an increase in literacy and numeracy skills after knitting. Now, I’m not a scientist and couldn’t tell you how this can possibly make sense, but I do have a theory or two:

1. You can often find yourself counting or calculating how many stitches or rows you need to knit – and this gets way more complicated when you start designing your own patterns.

2. When you read a knitting pattern, however simple, you do have to focus and read every word or abbreviation, which can help with reading skills.

They are just my interpretations of the science. Google if you need to know more but for now, these seven extraordinary reasons are all you need to grab those ‘stix and yarn’ and award yourself a new life skill…

Give yourself a gift. Learn to knit today.

Happy Knitting!
Linda x

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