Your Interest in Make by Hand
Maybe you’ve become interested in knitting…. That would not be that surprising since in our modern world knitting has become top of mind for many creative people like you. There are plenty of on-line instructional videos to guide you. One of my favorite sources of knitting info is from Expression Fiber Arts….
The Benefits of making by hand
There are so many options. You can make for yourself. You can make for others. You can find your work/life balance through knitting.
But why would you make by hand?
Two, of the many reasons would be relaxation and altruism.
Your maker world for health and work/life balance
From a maker’s perspective it’s not surprising for me to learn that knitting is a popular pastime during cancer treatment at Georgetown Hospital in Washington, DC. Making things by hand has emotional and neurological connections to wellness and beneficial outcomes for everyone. Reducing stress in a hospital setting is beneficial. That's what we all want. Reduced stress !
Nurses there at Georgetown report that knitting needles, yarn and training classes are offered, through a program called Project Knitwell, to the pediatric floors where the brave young women and men, being treated for their cancer and other chronic conditions, can knit hats and scarves for themselves, their new friends and their roommates. That would be community building and altruism.
This is the power of making by hand.
In addition to the fun of trying a new skill, there are a growing number of neurological studies that show the health benefit of the meditative and stress reducing results of making by hand. A Mayo Clinic study in 2011 showed that knitting and other hand made crafts offer significant neurological benefit to the makers.
Other benefits for these makers:
Through this project there is a building of community at the hospital. For many, the new skill of knitting and making by hand can become a way to lessen the impact of a gloomy prognosis. Beginner knitters can learn from the more experienced, long-time crafters. Long timers with more time on their hands can become more skilled and accomplished in their craft.
Altruism-Making for others.
There is an altruistic component to this making, creating a sense of wellness and good feeling in a place often known for sadness and heartbreak. The patients can make for themselves, for a member of their biological family or for a new friend who has lost her hair from the effects of the chemotherapy.
Hanging out in a hospital room with bland color palette and unchanging ceiling tiles can be very dull. Having something to do where focus and consistency of effort is rewarded with the creation of a valuable object is an attractive ideal. Knitting is something that these cancer warriors can do while seated or lying in bed, day after day, until they are released to go home.
The knitter can focus their attention on the thing they are making instead of waiting there compounding their anxiety about their next MRI or chemo session. The negative effects of the stress hormone, cortisol, and neurological insults are reduced through the efforts of making by hand.
Knitting for the health and wellness benefits.
So knitting might be the solution you seek to create work/life balance for yourself, or to create something for others. Humans have been making by hand for centuries, perhaps making by hand is what you can do today to re-join the that human experience.