With needles and yarn, we are gods and goddesses in our own living rooms. We can create anything our hearts desire. Knitting has vastly improved the self esteem of countless people all over the world, and it’s a sadly underrepresented topic of discussion. There are numerous people who know first hand how the act and art of knitting has taught them to trust themselves; to be braver; to love themselves.
1. Knit to love yourself.
Regardless of our personal pasts, we can love who we are. We know that we would not be the people we are today if we’d not gone through the trials we’ve had in our lives. It is, after all, not only our successes but also our failures that shape us as individuals, and knitting can be an enormous part of this. Of all of the tricks knitting teaches us in the quiet hours of our hearts, none is nearly as powerful and glorious a lesson, it is the confidence of the self.
2. Knit to trust yourself.
As we knit more and more, our skills as knitters grow sharper. We find ourselves taking chances in new ways to wrap sock heels. We boldly go forth and knit with tiny, tiny needles and strings often thinner than dental floss. We create beauty, truth and trust in our own abilities with our own two hands. The tangible proof of trust can be best explored in the process of steeking. Steeking- an act of arson upon a hand knit item that, if done properly, leaves a flawless finish, involves actually cutting with scissors the works of sweaters and mittens we’ve spent countless hours creating. To many knitters, the thought of steeking as a joining method is too frightening to comprehend. For those brave of heart, we can learn to cut hours and hours of our patience into pieces to be repaired- transformed into something better than before. It’s the same within the self. We’ve spent months, years- even lifetimes being to afraid to cut away things from the self. Imagine how much braver you would be in your own life if trusted yourself to steek out the unhealthy aspects surrounding you? Knitting can help us gain the confidence of self we need to trust our own judgment.
3. Knit in validation of your own existence
The act of transformation from yarn to item is one of magic and soul. You can pour everything into your knitting and it gives you results you can actually see. This piece in your hands can represent tangible, visible progress in your own mental health. You can sit and knit, and have something to show for your time. For those who are mentally ill or mentally disabled, this is a very valuable thing. Imagine what it would be like to be totally financially dependent on another- a spouse, a family member, even the government in the form of a disability check- and imagine knowing that your condition would never change. It is often this way for those with mental illness. The depression is palpable, but the lack of validation in the world is worse. Everyone wants something to show for their time on this earth. Knitting is a mark on the world, and you can be very proud of that. You’re not just knitting a sweater. Not just a pair of socks, or a toy for a baby. Not just another knit. You are weaving special moments in life within those stitches, and your knitting can tell the story of your life, one stitch at a time.
4. Knit to forgive yourself.
Nobody is perfect. Sometimes in the thick of things, we fail. It’s normal, natural and perfectly acceptable to fail. Yet, many mentally ill people are so flat out terrified of failure that they rarely venture out to accomplish anything, simply out of the fear of failure. You can remember that failure leads to success and that if you don’t give yourself the opportunity to fail, then you don’t give yourself an opportunity to learn. Knitting can make this easier. While failure is a part of life, the reality with your knitting is that it will never judge you for your mistakes. You can have committed some of the largest failures of your life, and your knitting will be waiting for you, right where you left it. It is ok to fail, and no knitting project will ever scream at you for “making the same poor choices yet again”. Your knitting can give you a respite, allowing you to mess up, fix what you did wrong, and move forward from it unscathed. Knitting allows the grace people often need to forgive themselves of failures. It, if only by it’s giving you something to move progressively forward on, can show you that no matter how bad you may have messed up, you can still learn from your mistakes and correct them. Just like fixing a dropped stitch.