DROPS Design kindly shares heaps of knitting patterns online. This vest pattern is one we particularly like.
Whether you’re a pro out of practice or a complete knit virgin, here are six reasons you should get knitting. Plus a pattern to get you started.
A way to unwind
A study in 2020 by The Craft Yarn Council showed 85% of knitters and crocheters experienced reduced stress when stitching. The repetitive movements of the craft have shown to trigger serotonin (the happy hormone) in the brain, making us relax. This in turn lowers blood pressure and reduces anxiety. The movement forces your hands and brain to work together, helping to maintain fine motor skills. Knitting also makes an amazing digital detox. As the craft requires both hands, the pesky urge to scroll social media is lulled (something which Kiwis do for 18 hours a week on average).
So what if you’ve got a bunch a half-finished scarves, you’re all the better for making them.
Wool is cool
100 percent wool yarn is a renewable, natural material. It is fully biodegradable and in soil can break down in just three months (synthetic materials can stick around for decades). Outside of composting conditions, wool is incredible resilient and long lasting. It can absorb up to 30 percent of its weight in water without feeling wet, meaning you stay cosy in the rain. It will also absorb sweat and release it back into the air, so less laundry for you.
Fun fact: wool is often used in firefighters uniforms as it’s fire resistant and self extinguishes once removed from the main flame.
The comeback kid
Not a season goes by without knitwear gracing the fashion runway in one form or another. Autumn sees thick wool jumpers in store windows, and in the warmer month’s sweater vests and cardigans start to spring up. Small changes to the neckline or length may pop up (2022 is the year of the super-crop jumper), but a warm knit will always be in vogue. Plus the care and energy that goes into a handmade piece will mean it doesn’t go unloved at the back of the wardrobe.
From bags to beanies, culottes to crop tops – if you can dream it you can knit it.
Have a yarn with some fellow crafters by joining a knitting group or club. Around the world, thousands of clubs meet to chat and knit together. Help each other out with tips and tricks and enjoy a beer while you’re at it (if a bar is your chosen meeting point). Some knitting groups also meet online, so you can still be involved if you’re not able to attend in person.
Become one of a skein of knitters, share the drama of a dropped stitch and hopefully get a hand fixing it.
How often do you pass someone wearing the same outfit as you? Knitting your own clothes means owning something that’s one of a kind. Garments are completely customisable – you choose the shape, size, length, thickness, and colour. Knitted items also make great pressies. Even the person who has everything may not have a pair of mittens in their favourite colour, or a cushion with a picture of their dog. Some knits can be speedy, such as a hair scrunchie. This should only take an hour to make, but will feel much more personal than something shop bought.
Show your local craft shop some love by hitting them up for your knit kit. In Wellington there are plenty of shops to get your goods: Wellington Sewing Centre in Kilbirnie, and Thimbles & Threads in Upper Hutt are a few. There you can get everything you need plus advice from experts on what will work best for your project. With balls of yarn for as little as two dollars, knitting is an inexpensive hobby that helps support small businesses. Buy some home grown wool and you’ll also be helping bring new life to the New Zealand wool industry.