Back when I was fourteen and first saw Jenny Humphrey killing it on Gossip Girl, I wanted to be a fashion designer. I wanted to know everything: how to draw, cut, sew, knit, the whole shebang. That dream fizzled out when I realised that I was actually a rubbish fashion designer, but the desire to knit never left me. Finally, this summer, at twenty years old, I picked up my first pair of knitting needles and a ball of yellow yarn, and I learned how to knit.
A lot of people think that knitting is just reserved for old ladies gossiping about Barbara’s bad perm, but that’s not the case at all. Knitting is a great way to pass time, and once you know the basics, you can make something adorable that will leave you feeling super proud, whether it’s a scarf, a pair of socks, or a jumper for your begrudging cat.
For me, knitting came with a surprising benefit. I’ve struggled with anxiety for a good few years, and I’ve always found it hard to find something soothing that doesn’t overwhelm me. Music makes me feel worse, I can’t focus on reading when I’m in a state, and it’s not always possible to just drop everything and go for a nap. This is where knitting changes the game for me.
Once I start knitting, all I have to do is focus on my stitches. All other thoughts seem to evaporate from my head, and the only thing that matters is remembering if the next stitch is a knit or a purl. I may only be making the most basic scarf, but it’s enough to focus on to get me through those times when my head feels like it’s about to burst at the seams.
Everybody experiences anxiety in different ways, so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Knitting may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but sometimes these things are just worth trying. If you’ve never even set eyes upon knitting needles before, then it’s easy enough to get started with the abundance of YouTube tutorials out there, which I found really helpful and easy to follow. An added bonus is that knitting is a relatively cheap hobby to pick up; you can grab a ball of yarn for just a couple of pounds, and knitting needles are cheap as chips too.
I’m no pro-knitter, but I do owe some of my sanity (or what’s left of it) to knitting this summer.