I often refer to myself as an eternal learner as I am always looking to update myself. Be it courses related to my work or some skill I am passionate about or some craft, I am constantly looking to learn something new. In 2014, after I quit my corporate job, I reconnected with my ‘artsy’ side. Apart from teaching craft work to little kids in my apartment, I also learnt new art forms like belly dancing (I have 2 left feet and can’t dance to save my life, but I had fun), pencil sketching, decoupage, clay miniatures, and knitting to name a few.
Knitting is not a skill that is as popular or ‘cool’ in India as in some other countries. It has been looked upon as something that only ‘old aunties’ do. Especially in South India, which is warmer than the northern parts of the country, it is not a very popular skill. For some unknown reason, I have had an interest in knitting since I was a teen. So when someone posted in one of our apartment groups offering to teach knitting, my friend and I decided to explore the opportunity.
Coat & Booties For A New Born
As a teen, because of my interest, I bought myself one set of needles and tried the knit & purl and thought I had learnt the art of knitting. Then when I met Mrs. Gunni Singh in 2017, I realized I was clueless and there was SO MUCH MORE to knitting.
Gunni Aunty (as we came to fondly call her) gave freely of her time and knowledge and taught us a lot. She is an amazing knitter and has been knitting since she was a little kid. Living part-time in Australia also meant that she had a more cosmopolitan knowledge of knitting which benefitted us greatly. From learning how to choose the yarn (yes….everything we knit is not wool!), the correct needles and accessories to reading complicated charts for the project patterns, she taught us everything. Starting with a simple project to identify stitches, we moved on to creating washcloths, coasters, kids’ booties, and baby coats.
Today, I am proud to say that I am an independent knitter and love creating stuff for my friends and family. Unfortunately, getting good-quality yarn is difficult in India. While we do get acrylic yarn, after having knitted with natural fibers like merino, bamboo, or cotton I now can feel the difference when using acrylic. Similarly, while we have the regular knitting needles I also invested in a ChiaoGoo circular set from abroad, because the experience of using those needs brings a new joy to knitting. While I am a slow knitter and don’t knit constantly, I choose projects that I think will be of use to me or can be gifted to someone. Beanies and lace-stitch shawls are my favorites to knit. I have also tried my own version of some patterns and managed to create some headbands for my group of girls as a women’s day gift.
I am a big advocate of learning a new skill as it can help you in so many ways. Apart from the joy of seeing something you created, it also keeps the mind and body active. It can help you connect with other people who enjoy similar activities and open doors to communities where your learning can be much greater.
Beanies For Friends & Family
Here Are Some Benefits Of Learning To Knit
Helps You Relax
When I started my knitting classes, I honestly did not think I had it in me. There were times when I made so many mistakes and my work looked so bad. And each time I did this, I was asked to rip out the work and start again! Believe me, at that time I was very stressed. But once I understood the basics, it was a cakewalk. Many seasoned knitters just keep knitting while watching TV or reading or chatting with friends. They don’t even need to look at the pattern. The repeated act of weaving the yarn and making something beautiful can completely relax you.
Helps Hand-Eye Coordination
It is a well-known fact that knitting requires motor skills. It is highly skilled work and requires coordination of your hands and eyes. In fact, it is recommended as a form of therapy for some people with problems with their motor skills or if they are recovering from injuries.
Keeps You Stimulated And Thus Healthy
Many people suffering from anxiety disorders or depression or who lead very stressed lives have found knitting to soothe their nerves. The repeated act of weaving the yarn with the needles and the concentration required, keeps your mind off other things that may be stressing you out. If you are a loner, joining a knitting group can help start conversations and build relationships. In certain cases, knitting has also helped as a form of physiotherapy for people with arthritis.
Lace Stitch Hairband Made With ChiaoGoo Needles
Slows Down Onset On Cognitive Illness
Knitting can help slow down cognitive illness related to memory loss, dementia, or Alzheimer’s. Knitting uses many parts or lobes of the brain at the same time and hence provides it with the required stimulation to keep it active. Studies have shown that seniors who knit had approximately 30% reduced chance of developing cognitive impairment.
The joy and satisfaction of seeing someone wear your creation cannot be measured. Plus, in India at least, not many of the younger generation knit these days. So you would have a unique hobby or skill to showcase. When you gift someone with what you have knit, it is extremely personal as it is not just the product but the time and effort that you have spent. People are very appreciative of such gifts. You could also scale up and turn your hobby into a business and sell your uniquely handcrafted products online!
Lace Stitch Triangular Shawl
This last year I have slowed down on my knitting because of some change in my eyesight. I am still adjusting to the new glasses and am not yet comfortable with peering through them when I knit. I also have a new family member in the form of my dog Smokey. Keeping away knitting from pups is a good idea if you don’t want them to play with the yarn ball and unravel whatever you have knit 🙂 . However, I still did some small projects for my family and myself. I am currently experimenting with lanyards for masks!
Do any of you knit? If yes, I would love to connect with you and share ideas.
We recently celebrated Guru Purnima which pays tribute to our teachers. So I dedicate this post to Gunni Aunty, who fulfilled my dream of learning to knit and to Amrita who was my fellow-learner in this knitting journey and also my Belly Dance instructor.