Monday, June 06, 2016

Knit Away Stress with Adult, Teen Knitting Groups in June

A gladiator hat available on Etsy
Many knitters are now making extra cash selling
their unique creations online on websites like Etsy.
The word “knit” comes from the Old English word “cnyttan,” which means “to tie in a knot.” In modern English, the verb “knit” not only refers to this specific way of crafting, but it also can mean “to unite or cause to unite.”

If you feel like your life’s one big knot, this process of rhythmically looping yarn has been proven scientifically to help you unravel the stresses of the day. So get ready to unwind and feel connected with others who are eager to learn a new craft at the Birmingham Public Library (BPL).

Learn the basics of knitting in BPL's "Learn to Knit" beginner classes for both adults and teens. Choose a time and location convenient to you and call the library to reserve your spot.

Needles and yarn will be provided, but participants may not take needles home.
Wednesday, June 8 ~ 10 a.m. ~~ Ensley (785-2625)
Tuesday, June 21~ 2 p.m. ~~ Titusville (322-1140)

Participants must bring their own needles and yarn.
Wednesday, June 15 ~ 10 a.m. ~~ Southside (933-7776)
Wednesday, June 22 ~ 10 a.m. ~~ East Lake (836-3341)
Tuesday, June 28 ~ 2 p.m. ~~ Central (226-3670)
Wednesday, June 29 ~ 2 p.m. ~~ Powderly (925-6178)

Space is limited, so please reserve your spot in advance. For more information, visit

Hand-knit Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles beanies from Etsy
These hand-knit Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles beanies are for sale on Etsy. Cowabunga!

The Research

Dakota Fanning, Julia Roberts, Ryan Gosling, and even the royal Kate Middleton are famous self-proclaimed knitters. But if you couldn't care less about celebs or royalty, here are some scientifically-tested facts about knitting’s health benefits to get you purling yarn for a healthier you.

1) Elevates mood and alleviates depression. In a survey published in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 3,500 knitters were asked to describe their mood before knitting. Thirty-four percent reported feeling “happy” and 23 percent reported being “a little sad” to “very sad.” When asked to report their mood after knitting, less than one percent remained sad and 81 percent described themselves as “a little happy” to “very happy.”

2) Relieves stress. The rhythmic nature of knitting keeps the mind absorbed in a healthy way, thus providing an escape from stressful thoughts but allowing for internal reflection. The therapeutic effects of knitting may be related to similar effects achieved through meditation.

3) Enhances dexterity. Knitting is a great workout for the fingers, hands, and forearms. Moving the joints of the fingers forces fluid to move in and out of the surrounding cartilage thus keeping the joints well-hydrated and reducing the risk of arthritis.

4) Improves self-esteem. Crafting gives us a creative and productive outlet. The process of visioning, making, and completing a project boosts our sense of self-worth and encourages us to connect with others.

5) Boosts mental power. One study shows that practicing crafts reduces your chance of developing mild cognitive impairment by as much as 50 percent. Similarly, a French study found that elderly people involved in crafts, specifically knitting, are less likely to develop dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.

The Books

Check out these knitting books from BPL for inspiration on your next project. Happy knitting!

Bethany Mitchell and Haruyo Miyagawa
Arts, Literature and Sports Department

Merriam-Webster's "Words at Play: Knitting Words"
"Health Benefits for Those who Stick with Their Knitting"
"A Knit a Day Keeps the Doctor Away: 5 Health Benefits of Crafting"
"The Truth About Knitting and Crochet...They are Good for You!"

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