New scientific research is showing that needle crafts like quilting and knitting are good for our health. Researchers at the University of Glasgow found that members of a local quilting group reported feeling happier and more relaxed during and after quilting. As one quilter put it, “You get out of yourself…you forget what you were worrying about.” The researchers also found that the quilters had decreased blood pressure and lower heart rates.
According to Kelly Lambert, Ph.D. and a member of the neuroscience department at Randolph-Macon College, quilting leads to a sense of accomplishment that eases stress by giving people a sense of control. Similar results have been reported for knitting. In her recent book, Knitting for Health and Wellness, Betsan Corkhill describes the data she collected from over 3,500 knitters from 31 countries. The vast majority of the knitters (81%) reported that they were happier and calmer during and after knitting. Her website, Stitchlinks.com, describes how knitting is being used as a therapeutic tool in healthcare settings to help with stress, chronic pain, and even dementia. Corkhill maintains that the rhythmic, repetitive, and bilateral patterns involved in knitting induce a brain state similar to that of meditation. You don’t need to be a grandmother to knit or quilt. In fact, the Craft Yarn Council reports that a third of women ages 25 to 35 now knit or crochet. And you don’t need to be alone: quilting and knitting groups abound, and your health will also benefit from the sense of community and social support.
Find a local group or come to the Heartland for our tee-shirt quilt workshop on March 19th. All ages and genders welcome!