Tina's cat wearing the first scarf that her friend Doug taught her to knit.

Third Time’s a Charm: How I Learned to Knit During Covid

Category: Musing

I went to a class years ago. I just didn’t get it. My mother-in-law sat down to teach me while she was visiting from England, and as soon as she left, I forgot everything I learned. Then, somehow, after a friend later encouraged me, I watched a video by Staci Perry and the light bulb turned on. That was May of 2020, and I haven’t missed a day of knitting since.

Knitting has been called both a great distraction from chaos and a meditative mood booster. All types of people love it, including men; some of whom have started websites and social media groups. Google “men who knit” or visit this picture of Olympian Tom Daley.

A global study of 3,000-plus knitters revealed that the hobby has significant psychological and social benefits. Knitters reported increased cognitive function along with higher levels of happiness. Sources cite additional knitting benefits, such as reduced stress and anxiety, and an effective mindfulness alternative to yoga.

My dear friend Doug bought me my first kit two months after the Covid lockdown. Doug was my fellow facilitator and partner in the Living Life on Purpose program. He was an amazing teacher of so many things and always knew the right learning style for each student. He knew which tutorial would work best for me, and he was right. My first project under Doug’s kindhearted encouragement was the most fabulous and imperfect blue scarf that I still have today (pictured above). I miss him terribly and the opportunity to knit in good company with him. We lost Doug to cancer shortly after he taught me to knit.

According to a New York Times article, there are two camps of knitters: 1) Process knitters, who love to lose themselves in the act of knitting. For these knitters, the hobby has a meditative quality and is its own reward. 2) Outcome knitters, who passionately weave their skeins into something intentional, such as a sweater, scarf, or mittens. You name it.

Although I appreciate the journey for the positive effects it has on my temperament, I’m very attached to the outcome. I cannot wait to produce a beautiful new sweater that I can wear and add to my wardrobe. I’m making about three to four sweaters a year now, and I spend an exorbitant amount of time following amazing designers from Japan and Europe. Speaking of amazing designers, I’m almost done knitting these two sweaters. I have been hoping I’d get to a level where I could knit these, and I think I’m just about there. Watch for a picture of the finished product soon. And yes, I always have at least two projects I’m knitting simultaneously – one I can carry easily on a plane, and one that I can do while I cozy up with my kitties.

If you’ve ever considered knitting—and even if you haven’t—I highly recommend giving it a try. It does wonders for your well-being. Here are some great online resources for beginners to get you started. Before long, you’ll have no fear of needles. Here’s to more fabulous blue scarves in the world and peaceful minds because of them. This post is for you, Doug.

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