Why do people knit?

Why do I knit? Why do you knit? Or crochet or do any craft? It is such an enormous question and I'm sure that we don't really think about it most of the time, we just picked up our needles. My mum taught me to knit when I was about five or six. I guess she thought it would keep me quiet.  She cannot have realised what a passion it would become.

Knitting can be both solitary and social. The time spent with your local knitting group not only helps put the world to rights but it's a useful place to get hints and tips to improve your knitting. New to an area? Go find a knitting group and you will soon feel at home. The time you knit by yourself can have a meditative quality, having some me time to just unwind.

Some people learn to knit to mark a special occasion such as when a baby is on the way - nothing more special than knitting for a little bundle of joy to welcome them into the world. I have knitted so many shawls to mark a special Birthday, and then, of course, there is Christmas knitting.

So many of us want to bring creativity and colour in to our modern lives. The ability to actually make something when so much of our day is spent in cyberspace is incredibly rewarding. Gazing at a wall of squidgy colour is soul food for most knitters.

Knitting for good is a fantastic way to motivate knitters – after all we are such a generous bunch. Just about every charity either accepts knitted items or has a knitting pattern on their website.  Of course it is also a great way to destash. The Innocent campaign is one of our favourites with 1 million little hats knitted in the UK last year but you can find a good selection of projects on the UKHKA website. Knit for Peace has free patterns you try out and of course there is a Charity Knitting group on Ravelry.

The positive effects of knitting on our health are many and are now being actively measured. There is an amazing organisation called Stitchlinks that is funding research into knitting and the management of chronic pain. The theory goes something like this. If you feel pain it is from the brain so if you can divert the brain onto something else you can reduce pain. It's like trying to distract an unruly toddler. Knitting is used to help soldiers returning from Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress disorder in America; kids with attention deficit; to help overcome depression or anxiety. It's a wonder your doctor doesn't prescribe knitting for a couple of hours each week on the National Health Service.

There are so many reasons why we knit but for me, mainly it's the sheer joy of it.

Why do you knit?