It’s official: knitting is hot again. Forget the grannified image. After years of being considered a seriously unsexy sign of sedentary dotage, it has turned into a hipster pass time. Knitting adepts Sharon Stone, Julia Roberts, Scarlett Johansson, Uma Thurman and Cameron Diaz, reportedly click their needles to de-stress on the sets of their movies. Male aficionados Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling and a few others are smitten by what is deemed to be the new yoga.
It has been a well-known fact for age that knitting is a constructive way to chill out with yarn and needles. And, as Ryan Gosling remarked, at the end of the day, you have a nice creation. Which is not the case if you take out your frustrations on a punching-ball.
When the Hollywood sex symbol swears that it’s very relaxing, he is right. He could also add that it is soothing too. May be that’s why, in Demolition Man, Sylvester Stallone, way over charged with testosterone, is reprogrammed to knit.
Recent studies prove the calming and meditative effects of this craft as well as many others, equally heath-enhancing. As in yoga, knitting uses physical moves to trigger a state of full consciousness. On top of the rewarding pleasure of making something, it also is a therapy that stimulates the memory, decreases the risks of dementia, contributes to fight anorexia and keeps you fit. This list of the amazing benefits of is not exhaustive.
As a result, knitting is hyper trendy. Some couture creations are impossible to copy, but many others are within reach of a level two knitter. The secret is to start with something simple.
Forget the Arran sweater for Raymond. It might end up looking like a distressed dish cloth. Tutorials on the internet are a blessing for beginners as well as seasoned knitters, from casting the stiches to Eifel tower stiches, it’s all online. If you need support or if solo knitting gets lonely, don’t despair. Knitting clubs, groups, cafés, knit –ins, stitch ’n bitch, knit nights and knit & purl tea rooms, all of which are the proud descendants of the original 1940’s Stitch and bitch clubs, are the answer. You might even meet Prince Charming while knitting yourself a lovely woolly for the winter.
You can start with a smart manly scarf for Raymond with a couple of left-over alpaca skeins. If your stiches are not perfect, explain that your work is neo-punk – in other words: avant-garde. And quote Ryan who said he does not mind a scarf knitted with size 17 needles because chunky knitwear becomes him.
To practice, use recycled wool: unravel some old wool knitwear you no longer want. Wrap the yarn into hanks as you unravel it. Put the hanks into a pillow case or a mesh bag and set your washing machine to the wool or the cold setting. Place in the pillow case in the machine. Flat dry your hanks on a towel and rewrap them into very tight balls. After this rejuvenating treatment, your wool is ready for another round. If you have different types of wool, dare to live dangerously and mix them the way Giovanna does. She knitted a lovely cardigan with 3 different black wools and various stiches. With a few jewel buttons to finish it off, the result is stunning enough to send fashionistas wild.
If you feel like unleashing the artist in you and fancy trying a new form of urban graffiti, join Yarnbombing – an underground global movement by “guerrilla knitters.” They cover items such as parking meters, poles, trees, doors, benches, buses with colourful recycled and collected yarn only. And celebrate Yarnbombing Day, on June 11th.