Hi friends! I hope you had a wonderful weekend and that you begin to get in the knitting groove with your projects this week. I'm excited to dive into this week's blog topic and hope it will resonate with you! This week I write all about why making things is so important and how it's changed me for the better. My hope is that this encourages you to lean into knitting, making, creativity of any sort. Resoundingly, I’ve found creativity to have an incredible impact on my life and in the midst of corona times, I’m clinging to it with everything I’ve got! I absolutely love geeking out about knitting with my fiber friends - what yarn, pattern, modifications did you do etc! But this creative happiness can also be found in cooking, reading stories to my kids, making a fort, etc- creativity is everywhere! These small things bring a lot of joy during a time that can feel uncertain and scary. So I want to talk about what knitting has meant to me and at the end circle back with some of the health benefits!


At a conference I attended in the spring of 2019, I got really clear on why I’m in business. I wholeheartedly believe that knitting has the power to transform us into better versions of ourselves and I hope to share that through my business in every single thing we do here at Knit Collage. Last April, I spent the better part of a day tuning into this and writing down all of my thoughts on the subject. My list was LONG! I’ll share a few of those things here with you today but what I’d really love to hear about is how it’s impacted your life. What can we lean into during this KAL to encourage this part of you?  If you are newer to knitting, and it hasn’t had too much of an effect yet, I hope this post and the words of others in our KAL group encourage you to stick with it. 


I touched on these things in the intro videos for the KAL as well. I’d love to spark some conversations around them this week online….here we go!

There are countless ways that making things has changed me for the better. The first is the confidence I gained once I started to comprehend patterns (also please note that is an ongoing process!). I can remember the first pattern I took on that was tricky to figure out, once I finished it, I felt on top of the world. I taught myself a number of new skills and was so excited! It wasn’t smooth sailing through that project, there was ample ripping back and redoing but it led to a feeling of confidence.  I learned that I could figure hard things out on my own, not necessarily hard emotional things but challenging technical things like knitting a tricky pattern. This permeated into other areas of my life.  It might sound silly if you grew up in a family of DIY-ers or parents that were always fixing up things, but my house was not at all like that and I had to come to it on my own. In the same manner in which I took up knitting, I took up cooking and became a little better in that area of my life. Over time, this feeling that I can figure anything out started to have a bigger impact on my life. I began to feel more confident in my business. I felt like I could tackle hard challenges (QUICKBOOKS!!!) and get to the bottom of them on my own, even if that meant consulting others that had more knowledge than myself. This feeling has grown and compounded over time and turned into the lifelong-learner mentality I try to embrace. I’m constantly thinking about how I can do better and be better in all areas of my life and business. I love learning from experts and taking in information anywhere I can. I embrace this mindset through podcasts, reading (or listening!) to books, traveling and practicing yoga. Knitting has brought me to this powerful intention of becoming a lifelong learner. I love that it started with something as small and simple as knitting!


Knitting has also brought me in closer touch with my own creative spirit. After a few years of more seriously knitting all the time, I started expressing myself more freely through my designs and projects. Knitting and designing yarn became a way for me to tap into that little girl who was endlessly creative growing up and who didn’t care too much about what others thought about her. That has been extremely liberating and fun and it’s hard to overstate how much that’s meant to me. It feels like most of our lives, at least for me, our sense of creative expression is beaten out of us by society and the idea of trying to fit in. For me, fear has played a role.  I have a lot of fear around being able to support myself and my family through my work, even owning a business feels like this incredible risk. This fear negatively affected my creativity, creating a state of low level but constant worry. It was my Penguono Sweater that inspired me to begin moving past the block of fear. As I knit this sweater (which took the better part of a year and involved a garbage bag of yarn!) I got into a creative flow state and just went with it. It brought so much joy and opened up a whole new world of knitting to me! It helped me wake up that creative person I was as a kid.  Finding a road back to myself, feels like coming home, like just being me. It feels so darn good. I love expressing who I am and what I like through what I made and wear. The fear I feel is still there but knitting with reckless creative abandon is helping, A LOT!


Knitting is also a form of relaxation and meditation.  After a long day, chilling out with my yarn and making something beautiful is so peaceful and restorative. Knitting has also been shown to have significant health benefits. For a deeper dive into the mental and emotional health benefits of knitting, check out these articles:

o   https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/01/25/the-health-benefits-of-knitting/

o   https://www.mhanational.org/blog/mental-health-benefits-knitting


So today, I invite you to meditate on all the benefits you get from knitting. And if you aren’t sure, that's okay -- next time you pick up those knitting needles try to pay attention to what you're thinking, feeling and sensing while you complete one stitch, then another. And please report back! 


You could also grab a piece of paper and jot down how you are feeling today, at the start of the KAL, then review your notes once you’ve completed the project. https://www.futureme.org/ is a fun tool for this exercise as well. 


The most important thing is that you give yourself credit and acknowledgement for all the incredible mental and physical health benefits you get from knitting. 


AND!!!!! Here are our celeb knitter pep talkers here to cheer you on this week - the AMAZING Jackie and Caitlin of CadyJax Knits.


Thank you so much,