In 1970 I laid my knitting needles to rest after creating the ugliest, most deformed, most scratchy scarf ever, an abomination that my husband didn’t even pretend to like. On July 10, 2016 I bought some multicolored yarn, a few pairs of knitting needles and one of those things that keeps the yarn on the needle. For instruction and support, I decided to join the Yarnivores, a fiber a group that meets weekly at the library, and had recently been involved in a yarn bombing project that decorated many of the trees on a local trail.
I was influenced by reading an article in the Times by Jane Brody on the health benefits of knitting. According to doctors, “repetitive action of needlework can induce a relaxed state like that associated with meditation and yoga.” But that wasn’t all! Needle work could also lower the heart rate and blood pressure and reduce harmful blood levels of cortisol. Since most of the time my body is awash in cortisol, I decided that I had nothing to lose in adding knitting to my bag of healthy tricks.
But, truth be told, I just want to make nice stuff: a scarf that, as my grandson says, doesn’t suck; a baby blanket that won’t scare the prospective mother, a hat that could potentially be worn in public. I especially wanted to be able to donate some of my creations to the needy with the idea that the needy might actually want to use them. Yarn bombing my town for charitable and aesthetic ends also had appeal. At 67, it all boils down to that ancient old testament warning: “If not now, when?”