Therapeutic Benefits of Knitting


Knitting can help our Well Being

A few month ago I stumbled upon a craft group in our local library. I was given some wool and knitting needles since I was keen to join in.

One of the ladies in her seventies told me that she is a co-ordinator for Operation Cover Up(OCU) group in the Rodney area north of Auckland. You may be able to imagine my surprise and wondering if I heard  right. Yes, I did hear correctly.

Operation Cover Up is a charity organization under the umbrella of Mission without Borders.

The way it works is that people all over New Zealand donate their time to knit or crochet blankets and other items, which get sent to Eastern Europe to keep people in need, orphans being the main beneficiaries, warm.

Below are some of the photos of the blankets, etc. created by the Rodney OCU group.

Most of the creations, which help orphans to keep warm, are knitted with donated wool.

Follow Yorinda’s board Knitting for Orphans on Pinterest.
Since I found that knitting again has helped me to calm down when I feel anxious I did some research online about the benefits of knitting and was astounded by the wide range of therapeutic benefits knitting and other crafts can have.

Carol Caparosa  found that when she was in hospital with her young child she could not focus on anything. Fortunately she was reminded of knitting when she was given a hand knitted jumper for her child. When she started to knit she found that it had a great calming effect.

This experience inspired her to get people in hospital, patients and care takers, to start knitting and this developed Project Knitwell.

According to a research, which used the Project Knitwell, done over 13 weeks  in Georgetown  with 39 Nurses (in the oncology department) found that those who  suffered compassion fatigue benefited greatly.

Alzheimer’s and dementia can also be decreased through a regular activity which includes crafts like knitting according to a study, published by Yonas Geda, associate professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona,  involving 1332 adults ranging from age 70 to 89.

Therapeutic benefits of knitting and other crafts might be:

  • Relaxation
  • Reduction of stress
  • Meditative effect
  • Lowering of anxiety
  • Improved cognitive function
  • Better Memory
  • Feeling less depressed
  • Problem solving improves
  • Coping better with life
  • Feeling good

Find out more about the research at Stitchlinks

If you want to find out more check out The Truth About Knitting and Crochet….They are Good for You! 

Guinness Record for knitting with the largest knitting needles was held by Julia Hopson in Cornwell, who knitted ten rows of ten stitches with 3.5 metre long needles which were 6.5cm in diameter

Photo Credit: Wikipedia Knitting needle (you can find a conversion table for knitting needles at this page)

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11 thoughts on “Therapeutic Benefits of Knitting”

  1. Hi Yorinda,

    I never realized that knitting had all of those benefits. I am always learning something new and stretching my horizons. I don’t have a real plan; however, every few years we take up a new hobby. I seem to pick things I know nothing about…so I find that I always start as a raw beginner and the sense of clumsiness and wonder never goes away.

    Last year, a very good friend was diagnosed with an illness and had to practice her “fine motor skills” every day as therapy. She selected knitting and I joined her. I had a blast learning but after a while I just could not spare the time class conflicted with another commitment.


  2. Yorinda,
    what a great post you have here.. first I am happy you discovered this group (love the name
    OCU”… I do not do any knitting, but as a young guy I always wanted to do something that my mother was doing, like sewing and knitting.. and many times she would painstakingly try to teach me but I never catch up to learn a lot…

    I learned the basics and so now at my age, I still do simple mending when I need it and actually I done one this morning on a bag that I keep my meditation cushion and blanket… Plus, I have a huge blanket that my late mother made from wool I buy for her with the excuse that I need a blanked.. so for months, day after day she was knitting knowing I need the blanket and finally she finished.. I took it and used.. but I buy more wool for her to make something else.. and then something else.. I keep on asking her for things till her poor hands could not knit anymore in the old age home she was living the last 3 years of her life here with us… I still keep lots of those nice projects to be reminded by her love.

    THANKS for sharing this article and for doing the research… it is very commendable and hope this will spread in the North America as well.

    Thanks again.


  3. Knitting brings up several thoughts – the infamous women knitting while the guillotine descended in Revolutionary France – sailors doing macrame and tatting on long voyages in days gone by. And my mother knitting a sweater that was so big that my father and grandfather squeezed into it.


  4. What a truly amazing discovery Yorinda!

    First of all, I never knew or heard that such a seemingly innocent
    activity such as knitting, offered so many personal benefits!

    And the fact that on top of that, these organizations do such much good for
    so many, especially orphans.

    That is simply amazing. Who would ever suspect that so much good could
    come to so many, from such a simple activity!

    Thanks so much for sharing!


  5. I don’t personally enjoy knitting, but I can see how it would have the therapeutic benefits you list here. The other benefit is what you’re doing for the people you knit items for. I think that’s a beautiful thing.


  6. Yorinda,

    Wow, thanks for sharing this fascinating info on the therapeutic benefits of knitting. I’m so happy you found a craft group to connect and share this experience with plus your beautiful knitted projects are helping to change the lives of all the orphans who get to use your handmade creations! I used to knit when I was younger and it was really relaxing for me, I may have to take it up again.


  7. SO FUNNY to read this. I LOVE knitting. As you mention here, I do find it relaxing. Crochet on the other hand, I never really cared for. Then the other day I got the crazy idea that I was going to crochet a headband… and for the first 30 minutes to an hour I was incredibly stressed out. Crochet really taught me about just how frustrated I can become when things don’t work out as planned. Then… something interesting happened: I got the handle of crochetting and saw it’s potential as a meditative practice: The focus needed, the cellular memory that can be achieved, etc…

    Needless to say, despite my joints hurting after prolonged crochetting, I will be doing it more often. In fact, your article just gave me an idea for my next blog post 🙂 so THANK you for that.

    The Undercover group sounds like a great cause by the way.


  8. Your title says knitting, but I’m glad your post includes crochet. I can do both, but find crochet works up more quickly and is more easily put down and picked up later. I started crocheting baby afghans for friends and family when I had 6 children ages 12 and under. I couldn’t just set my knitting down without small hands wreaking havoc when my back was turned. I like the finished product with knitting better than crochet, but I like crocheting more. I even learned to crochet while nursing a baby on my lap!

    That said, I have to agree… knitting or crochet… it’s calming and therapeutic!


  9. It s funny a few months ago my wife took up loom knitting and she finds it very therapeutic. She has made scarfs and a whole range of hats including cup cake hats where you can have your choice of cake 🙂

    Great post thanks


  10. Hi Yorinda. I think that I don’t have the ‘knitting’ gene, but I have done some loom knitting. I want to get back to it, now that I have learned all the benefits of knitting! My church has a world-wide humanitarian program, and I want to do some scarves and hats to send to them. Thanks for giving me some motivation.

    All the best,


  11. I have always loved knitting since I was younger, and I can read the knitting notes. I can do crochet but prefer knitting. You shared great therapeutic benefits some of which I was not even aware of. I like the idea of knitting to help other people . Thanks for sharing Yorinda.


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