So as you can imagine I have been thinking about knitting a great deal over the past few weeks. Knitting is something I learnt as a child. My Nan and Mum were rarely in front of the television of an evening without a pair of knitting needles in hand. I was taught to knit by both of them from about the age of five - I had great teachers. Knitting continued to be part of my life for many, many years. We knitted to wear. We had two fantastic dedicated knitting shops in the town where I grew up and we made clothes that we would love to be seen in - it was also great value and invariably cheaper than trying to buy the same thing in a shop.
Today's resurgence in knitting it seems to me is different. Making an item of clothing is now an expensive pastime and available patterns seem to focus on decorative items or accessories. So this has got me thinking - why should we knit and what does it have to offer a potential whole new generation of knitting enthusiasts? Here are the answers I have come up with....
There are just a few basics to master
Knitting may look tricky to the untrained eye, but the great thing about it is that there really are just a few basics to learn and then you can achieve anything. Once you have learnt to cast on, make a knit stitch, make a purl stitch, cast off, increase your stitches, decrease your stitches and learn to read a pattern you can make something wonderful.
You can make things to wear.
This seems like an obvious one but don't underestimate the pleasure of being complimented on what you are wearing on to respond that you made it yourself!
You can make things to use
From blankets to tea cosies, from dishcloths to purses, the list is huge. There are untold possibilities when it comes to knitting useful items to have in and around the home.
You can make things to Decorate
How about knitted bunting, coasters, cushion covers? The vintage look remains on trend and you can bring that fabulous look to your home by getting out your knitting needles.
It's Great for Gifts
We all love to receive a handmade gift and knitting something is the perfect way to show you care. Whether knitting a toy for a child or a pair of gloves to keep a friend's hands warm in Winter, a knitted gift is a great way to share the love.
It Enhances Creative Skills and Thinking
Even if you are following a pattern knitting stretches your creativity - something as simple as colour choice encourages creative thinking. Do these colours go together? Will it suit the person/purpose/room I have in mind? Adapting a pattern or making your own opens up further creative choices - there are so many directions in which knitting can take you.
It Enhances Technical Skills
In learning to knit children in particular can benefit from the technicality - measuring and counting are key when embarking on a knitted project. Decoding a pattern can also require technical thought - a great way for stretching the brain.
This is what knitting means to me and this aspect can only be beneficial to young and old alike in today's busy times. Knitting is often referred to as a "mindful activity", and I have to agree that it is the perfect way to take time out from the stresses of everyday life and relax.
It Provides Huge Satisfaction and A Sense of Achievement
With knitting you really do get a sense of making something from start to finish. You are not just crafting something from fabric, you are making the fabric from which you make it and can take an enormous amount pride in this fact when a project is completed.
It's Portable, Accessible and Sociable
Portable, because all you need is your knitting needles and wool and you can take it anywhere, either just to your sofa or on public transport.
Accessible, because wool is becoming available to buy in most towns (I have just seen it for sale in my local garden centre), and knitting magazines are on the shelves in most supermarkets and newsagents.
Sociable, because knitting groups are springing up all over the country. They are easy to join or you can make your own. This brings me back to our children's clubs where children can sit and chat whilst learning the brilliant new skill of knitting.
OK so I have just given three reasons in one, which just goes to show how many brilliant reasons there are to get knitting!
So with all of the above, what's not to love? Come on people let's get those knitting needles out and pass on this brilliant skill to future generations just as my Nan and Mum did to me.
To find out more about Hope & Gloria Knitting Clubs take a look at www.hopeandgloria.com