Published on May 7th, 2017 | by Merion


Mindfulness and Knitting

Knitting and mindfulness – how can it help? Merion explores…

knitting and mindfulness

There is a lot of talk lately, about the mindfulness of knitting. We know that knitting and crochet can be wonderful aids for mental wellbeing, and can be helpful for a whole host of other conditions such as chronic pain, arthritis, eating disorders, anxiety and depression – so what is it that is so helpful about the fibre arts?

In our modern world, self criticism has become inextricably threaded through the human consciousness. We are under constant pressure and bombardment from the media to be better, faster, more attractive, more accomplished, to achieve more, to create more – the list is exhausting, and the simple pressure of being disappears in the haze of anxious need to achieve.

Mindfulness, as described by is “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us” and when we knit, we are fully present and focused on what we’re doing – or at least that’s the goal!

How can knitting help?

yarn shot

The act of knitting – right from the beginning, is positive. Choosing a pattern, and choosing a yarn – in whichever order you do it, is positive! Colours help – to help us feel brighter, or to soothe us, and familiar stitches can bring us calm too. The process of knitting is gentle and meditative – a long stretch of stocking stitch is endlessly soothing, and if you have a stitch repeat to remember in amongst it, it’s a helpful tool for building memory skills.

Keeping yourself focused and mindful as you knit can help to manage many situations more easily – I love the story behind fairynuff27’s baby bump projects in the Community – knitting has really helped her to cope with the constant pain and worry of a difficult pregnancy. This is one of her beautiful little jumpers – you can follow her here.

baby jumper

Most knitters are tenacious – they might start and stop, but they are good problem solvers, and the drive to learn something new and master a technique is usually stronger than the desire to give up. Stephanie B, in our Community, decided to try knitting toys, and the skills involved can often be very intricate – but she did it!

She made these little toy hedgehogs for new babies, and it gave her great confidence too – knitting can deeply improve our sense of self-esteem and the confidence we gain spills over into all areas of life.  You can follow Stephanie B here!

“The process of knitting can be challenging and I think that being able to use my brain for something especially as intricate as making little toys has made me feel so confident and proud of my knitting.” – Stephanie B.

Being mindful as you knit is all about focus. It’s about bringing your knitting to the front of your mind, and putting worries and nagging pressures to the side whilst you knit, letting the calm and structure of what you’re doing flow through your hands, making the most of the meditative process of working each stitch.


Does knitting help you with managing challenges in your life? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below! You can read more stories from the Community #HappyKnitter HotTag here.

community loveknitting


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About the Author

Merion admits that her stash is wildly out of control, but has many projects in dream-form! She loves knitting, crochet, Shire horses, cake and garden swing-seats.

Last updated: May 15th, 2017.

35 Responses to Mindfulness and Knitting

  1. miss agnes says:

    Great post. Knitting helps me become more patient, and I love being able to frog an entire knit and start over. Nothing else in life can be undone so easily. It gives me the freedom to experiment and expand my skills.

    • Gail says:

      I love your comment about “nothing else in life can be undone so easily.” I never mind frogging and re-knitting because I love to knit and I love the process almost more than the finished project. You put a new swing on this with your comment about “undone so easily.” Thanks so much for this view. I will most definitely be passing it on!

  2. Gillian says:

    I start every day with a half hour of sock knitting while sitting in my bed. I have always loved to knit and this sets my day to a good tone. It’s like morning prayers. I knit and enjoy the cosiness of my quilts and focus on the good things in world. I look forward to this time so very much.

    • Julia B. says:

      Thank you, Gillian, what a great idea. I have two projects that are not getting done and i think I will start morning knitting also. I think it would be meditative for me, thanks again, J.

  3. Corinne Allen says:

    Thanks for letting me know about this page. Very good and helpful…

  4. Cate says:

    I’ve started frogging sweaters as a way to be calm after a day at the office. It gives me a chance to recycle yarn and take in the moment. I have PTSD and for whatever reason this is the best way I can go through rouch patches.

  5. Hazel says:

    I love knitting toys and clothes for my grandchildren. Not only is it a great distraction from the pain of arthritic knees but knitting for my littles keeps me focused on them and lots of love goes into the projects. I get to have the satisfaction of creating something and then the kisses and cuddles when the little ones see what I’ve made. In my opinion the joy of creating keeps depression at bay.

    • Diana R. says:

      Hi Hazel!

      I just wanted to share with you that I too have arthritis in my knee and also agree with you. Knitting helps keep my mind off the pain and uncomfortable throbbing. I would love to learn how to knit toys and clothes. Can you offer any advice for someone that has been knitting only about 2 years?

      • Star says:

        You tube has wonderful videos on just about any knitting topic or problem you may have. Ravelry is a great knitting website with lots of groups, discussion and knit alongs. I had the frustration of trying to learn everything from books by myself years ago. Now if I am struggling with something, I hop on you tube and the videos show you how. Keep knitting, as with all things practice makes perfect.

      • Janet M. says:

        Also, there is a website called Craftsy that allows you to purchase classes that are yours forever. There are a couple of toy making classes by Susan B. Anderson. They require knitting with double pointed needles, but I had never done that before and now that is my favorite skill! So don’t be afraid of learning a new knitting skill, making toys is such a joy!!!

  6. Linda Reedy says:

    I try to knit every day whether it be a project for myself a loved one or a stranger. I am presently making teddy bears to put into shoeboxes sponsored by Samaritans purse projects sent to children thruoghout the world to let them know we love them and to share the word of Christian teaching to children that may never hear Gods word.I also love to make projects for my family.

  7. Diana says:

    Knitting has help me physically and mentally. I have artritis and knitting is great as physical therapy for arthritis.
    I also suffer from anxiety and panic attacks and knitting has help me during all those difficult moments.
    Knitting is also great fun!

  8. Michele says:

    Knitting is consuming and therefore calming. It gets me through difficult times when I would be twiddling my thumbs like on a plane or train or just in front of dull tv. It keeps me sane.

  9. Janna says:

    I turned to knitting when my brother died suddenly two years ago. Knitting occupied my brain when all I wanted to do was sit and think about my grief. It got me through many rough days, and still does. However, I tried to fill the hole in my heart with yarn. My stash will outlast the years I have left to live.

    • Linda W. says:

      I hope your yarn collection does not bring feelings of guilt or grief, Janna! You did what you needed to do to get through a terrible ordeal.

      If you do want to destash and you’re a Ravelry user, you can create a stash library for “Will trade or sell” items that you don’t think you’ll use. There are also tons of destash threads in the forums for specific brands.

      You may even find a place to donate some yarn — my local yarn store collects donations (whole or partial skeins) for a knitting program at a men’s prison in our state!

      I hope your grief is easier to bear with each passing day. <3

  10. Mrsshaker says:

    My husband and I are undergoing fertility treatment, it’s difficult not to panic and overthink during the long periods of waiting. Knitting is my mindfulness technique, I let the repetitive motion and counting wash my overstimulated and usually emotional brain clean of all of it. It works so quickly, it is definitely my therapy!

  11. Effie says:

    Knitting helped me thru one of the most difficult times in ny life.
    It helps me stay calm and forget about the world.
    I love the quietness of knitting, no matter where I am knitting.
    Who needs yoga when you having knitting!

  12. Maria Rowan says:

    The texture and yarn colour are therapeutic.
    I find it calming and love making gifts for others. There is a lovely community among knitters. 🐑🐏💜👍😊

  13. Bev Ericsson says:

    My husband learned to knit when a boy. He was in hospital in the 1950’s quite ill and the nurses taught him to knit. He now knits beanies for charity. Recently he was hospitalised for 6 weeks, with an autoimmune blood disease while needing heart surgery. He knitted beanies for nurses as well as for charity. He said it kept him calm while waiting to be well enough for surgery. His biggest gripe about 6days in ICU was he couldn’t knit, too many canulas to get in the way. By the way, he is left handed.

  14. Kay Derr says:

    On days that are extremely stressful, I stop at my favorite yarn shop and walk through touching different yarns. My mind calms immediately. I always pick at least one skein that I can make fingerless glove to take to the local veterans home.

  15. Jennifer says:

    My grandma Hattie taught me to crochet as a young girl, and I looked forward to her lessons. I’d cozy up to her while she worked on one of her many afghans. As a young adult, my mother taught me to knit baby blankets, and in the last 10 years, taught me to knit socks. She now has Alzheimer’s, and as I knit, I remember our many hours of “binge-knitting”, and sharing, and it brings me close to her. I can’t visit her as often as I would like, but, through the art of crafting blankets and socks, I can keep both my grandma and my mother close to me.

  16. Joyce Rickman Williams says:

    Knitting helped distract me from severe constant pain while waiting weeks for surgery on a ruptured disk in my neck. I made little sweater sets for a premature baby I knew of. The little projects worked up quickly and let me focus on something besides pain.

  17. Marie Green says:

    I have knitted on and off since I was a child. I knit most things but find it hard to finish off projects as I find a new wool or pattern and hey ho I’m off again. I suffer from depression and have just had surgery on my left knee so knitting is helping me greatly. Even just looking at wool cheers me up.

  18. Donna says:

    I knit each morning and evening on the train on the way home from work. I find it a way to make the transitions smoother.

  19. Judy Momot says:

    I started knitting two years ago, after a big health scare and 3 major surgeries (I didn’t even know I was sick). During my 2 months in hospital, I experienced delirium and visual hallucinations over a prolonged period. I was diagnosed with PTSD, haunted by the experience.

    Knitting helped me learn to establish the valuable skill of mindfulness practice, which has been most helpful in my recovery.

  20. Bee says:

    My auntie, who taught me to knit, left me a beautiful sweater that is much too big for me to wear. I never thought of it before, but now I will frog it and make something new that fits me, rather than leave it in a shelt! Thank you for the idea!

  21. Bee says:

    My auntie, who taught me to knit, left me a beautiful sweater that is much too big for me to wear. I never thought of it before, but now I will frog it and make something new that fits me, rather than leave it on a shelf! Thank you for the idea!

  22. Marilyn Shekell says:

    The book “The Loving Stitch” is the history of knitting in NZ. A very entertaining book. One of the stories it relates is of people getting up very early to travel long distances on a horse and cart to get to church. The minister allowed his congregation, both female and male, to knit during the service. That way they stayed awake and heard the sermon. I knit, when allowed during staff meetings. That is what keeps me awake so that I know what is happening instead of drifting off after a long day.

  23. Rina Novia says:

    I knit everyday, yes every single day, and crochet sometimes. But now I only can read and watch about knitting etc because I broke my right wrist 3 weeks ago. It makes me sad. Sometimes I just sit in front of WIP…….have been tried to crochet with my left hand, but it was not easy.😭😭

  24. Judy Woodlock says:

    After two operations in three weeks I found it hard to settle. I was fidgety and not able to walk more than a few steps at a time. I’ve always knitted so I began to knit beanies for a charity as the winter is coming here in Australia. Delivered 35 beanies of all sizes last week. Now I’m making more as well as fingerless gloves. Although I’m well again I still use knitting for relaxation each evening.

  25. Angela Dent says:

    After a serious accident ,that left me with mobility problems, I used knitting to get me through the recovery time. I had to learn to walk again and spent so much time in hospital and my knitting became my way to pass the time. Now it continues to help me live with my disability giving me something meaningful and soothing to do. I love the process, and the finished article,I love that my confidence has grown as I tackle new techniques , and I just love the beauty of knitting.

  26. Peter says:

    I used to play way too much Xbox in the evening and was looking for something more creative to use with that time and stumbled upon a half knitted scarf I had in a drawer. That was a jumper and several hats and socks ago. I still play but now far more often will sit a create before bed.

  27. Kathy Durance says:

    I am currently undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. I have been off work for a few months now. I don’t know what I’d do without my knitting. I have taken my projects everywhere: to appointments for the inevitable waiting, to chemotherapy to occupy my brain & hands for the long infusion hours, & to the back deck where I listen to the birds & gaze at the trees. I think I would go stark raving mad if I didn’t have something to do, that I could just pick up & put down as my energy requires. The recent chemo has caused a lot of joint & muscle pain, so my knitting has help keep my mind off the pain. Knitting is definitely meditative! My stress can drift away as I work away. I can concentrate on my sock pattern, & the person I am knitting for, as I put my love & attention in each row. All my family have said that they love the socks I make, so, not only do I have something constructive to do, Christmas & birthday presents are almost all done for the year!!

  28. Teresa says:

    My mental health therapist advocates during every meeting about mindfulness. I can’t wait to show her this article. I have dysthymia, a mild form of long term depression, I am obese and live with constant and chronic pain. I love crafting lots of different things but knitting comes first. I guess I was being a lot more mindful than I thought.

  29. Tracy says:

    I love knitting…. best relaxation…… wish there was a pattern for the lovely hot water bottle at top of this page????????

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