Saturday, 21 September 2013

How Learning to Knit Reduces Stress

I have a long list of things I would like to learn, my very own bucket list if you like.  I would love to learn how to take wonderful photographs, to be able to speak Italian, to paint a picture...the list goes on.

Thanks to my resolution challenge I can now tick one thing off my list - knitting!  Yes, at the sprightly age of 41 I have finally picked up a pair of needles and clickety clacked away to my hearts content. 

Don't ask me why I wanted to learn to knit.  My grandma was a seamstress and could run up a three piece suit in next to no time, my mum followed in her footsteps and then expanded her
creativity to cake decorating and card making, I don't remember either of them knitting!  Maybe I used to knit in a previous life?  Whatever the reason, I had this burning desire to learn and as luck would have it, my very wonderful friend Sarah, happens to be the best knitter in the Wild West - oops, the West Midlands.

Armed with her bag of wool and a selection of needles, Sarah very patiently began my first lesson.  I used short 4mm needles and chose a gorgeous blue wool flecked with red and pink.  Sarah cast on for me as she wanted me to get a feel for the stitch before teaching me anything as complicated as casting on or off.

Starting slowly I manoeuvred the needle up the back of the stitch, wound the wool around and looped it back through, Sarah watched as I carefully started another stitch.  She was full of praise as I managed to complete my first row - I was exhausted!

I have watched Sarah knit before and she goes so fast my eyes begin to blur after a while, she knits and she natters and she watches the telly, pets the cat and instructs the household on what jobs need doing and never drops a stitch.  I watch in awe as she creates beautiful jumpers and cardigans.

Once I got the hang of it Sarah let me knit a few rows as she made a cuppa, I was concentrating so hard I gave myself a headache.  This wasn't turning out to be the relaxing past time I thought it would be. 

Roll of the shoulders, crack of the neck, sip the hot tea and back to it - like a production line.

After several rows my Yoda inspected my work...I had somehow managed to add a few extra stitches and my work of art was veering off at an angle, Sarah expertly got me back on track and away I went again.

It took me some time to knit a handful of rows but the more I did, the more I began to enjoy myself.  As one of my favourite quotes says, 'Allow yourself to be a beginner, no-one starts at the top.'

My first lesson was complete and Sarah left me with the needles and the ball of wool so I could keep practising.  As it so happened I fell ill a few days later and took great comfort in sitting up in bed with my knitting! 

My resolution challenge has opened up so many opportunities for me this year and I have been able to do so many of the things I had only ever dreamt of. 

I receive so much feedback on facebook and twitter about the activities on my blog and I am so proud of that; quite a few people have told me some of the things they wish they had done or learnt, all I can say is - Do It!  Today - Now!  Don't keep putting it off, if you fancy learning to knit then have a go, if you want to crochet - do it.  Learn something new and I guarantee you will feel like a million dollars and reduce all that stress and tension that plagues our daily lives.

I am very proud to say I have continued with my knitting and can now unveil my creation - even Sarah hasn't seen the finished piece but I know she will be as pleased as I am.  Wait for it, wait for it - here it baby's blanket! 

I can't wait for my next lesson!

What have you always wanted to learn but kept putting off?

Let me know if you have just started on a course or class that you had always dreamt of doing, I'd love to hear your stories.