Just What Makes Knitting So Special

When I first tapped into knitting, it was an immediate obsession. Within the first 6 weeks I had all the notions, every color of Brown Sheep Wool Co., a dedicated knitting chair and basket, and at least 10 hats under my belt. I took my new uber-cool craft with me everywhere and showed it off to any and all. And most of my family and friends smiled at me a bit pathetically and did a ‘that’s cute’ pat pat on the head. They didn't get it.

Even now, after creating a successful yarn company that supports my family + 10 employees, I scramble when asked by strangers what I do. ‘I’m in textiles’ turns into a conversion about rug companies. ‘I’m in the Knitwear Design Industry’ is retorted with something like, ‘My cousin designs for LL Bean!’. And when I lay it to them straight, ‘I own a yarn company that caters to knitters and other makers’, the response is almost always one of two things: ‘My Grandma used to knit!’ or ‘So how much would it be to make me a hat?’.


Until you have gotten the knitting bug it’s hard to understand. The rush of endorphins when you step into a yarn shop, the lanolin rich touch of that special local farm yarn, the rich vibrant colors from your favorite Indie Dyer, planning and plotting your next project, meditating and putting all of your energy into each stitch, and then the most satisfying feeling of proudly wearing something you made.

But wrapped up inside the entire process are some big themes that many can relate to. So just why is knitting so special?

Mental Health

Ask any avid fiber artist why they practice their craft and they will almost always say 'stress relief'. I have heard stories upon stories from people who have used knitting as a coping mechanism from anxiety, loss of a loved one, sobriety, loneliness, and depression. According to the organization Mental Health America, knitting has the benefits of lowering blood pressure, reducing depression and anxiety, slowing the onset of dementia, and providing a distraction from chronic pain.

The recent article by the New York Times 'In a Stressful Time, Knitting for Calm and Collection' talks about how knitting as a method of reducing stress has risen exponentially since the pandemic. A clear sign that people are reaching out for something tangible to relieve their stress and be ‘productive’ at the same time. Oh if the stitches of 2020 could talk.



An incredibly diverse subculture, the fiber arts community is made up of everyone and anyone you can think of. Raverly is the homebase to a large part of this community. Here you can search for patterns, share your projects, or join one of 13,000 groups. Instagram is another virtual hotspot for makers and what I believe is a social media community that is like no other. I would never have dreamed that I would have first met some of my best friends on social media before meeting them in real life. The love of yarn brings a diverse group of people together. And while n
obody in this community is perfect, it’s a place to grow and learn as makers and humans, be inspired, and connect.

And we can't talk about the knitting community without talking about your LYS AKA Local Yarn Shop. The heart and soul of fiber arts, you will find yarn shops and makers that gather in them strewn across the world. In unsuspecting places like Beaverslide Dry Goods that lives in a roadside Cache in Dupuyer, MT; in bustling city neighborhoods like Brooklyn's String Things Studio; in quintessential American towns such as The Mermaid's Purl in North Kingstown, RI. If you're a new or seasoned knitter, your local yarn shop is almost always your best place for resources and making new friends!

Creative Outlet

Anyone who is a lover of textiles can appreciate good yarn. And once you start working with it? Then the creative juices start flowing. You might struggle with some creative bits of knitting, maybe you don't know how to put colors together or maybe you need a pattern for every garment you make. But within the world of yarn there is something that will spark your untapped creative knowledge. This easily fits into all of the aspects we are talking about today too. Creativity is great for mental health, you find your community by geeking out about the same pattern you're crazy about, and of course there is an entirely new way to look at your wardrobe.

”Seventy-five percent of fashion supply chain material ends up in landfills. This amounts to ‘the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles per second.’”
— Pulse of the Fashion Industry 2018 Report


Slow Fashion

Slow Fashion is quite the buzzword these days. We know that knitters have been into sustainable clothing for centuries. And with the onset of a Pandemic many of us took a good look at our own personal footprints on the planet. Studying your closet and how different pieces make you feel is a great step in starting something like a capsule wardrobe. Finding out what is missing will help you determine what you might want to knit next.

We asked one of our colleagues, Rachel Bratcher of Ritual Dyes, to talk about her perspective on 'Slow Fashion'.

"Slow Fashion is something I aspire to and try to incorporate whenever I can. It doesn't save me time or money and I consider it a privilege to be able to participate in the Slow Fashion movement. What it does give me is a sense of intention. When I am slowly making something, like this cardigan, it gives you lots of time to appreciate the effort. I have memories of places I have been, feelings I was feeling at the time of knitting this piece and a different sort of connection to it than I do for my store-bought purchases. Also because I know how long it takes me to knit something or make something, I spend more time deciding on the materials and pattern to see what would be the most useful piece to add to my wardrobe. That being said, I still love shopping in stores! If I can buy from other makers, even better."


Last but not least, you might be surprised to know that activism is not only alive and well but thriving in the knitting world. Maybe people imagine knitting is only for 'little old ladies' and all the ageism ideals that go along with that. But this activism stems from the tight community knitting creates. While we are working on projects and meditating on our stitches we often talk about our struggles, the struggles of our neighbors, and the differences we might be able to make. Social media and the quickness of getting information out has intensified this; just the last 2 years alone I have seen hundreds of thousands of dollars raised to support social justice causes. We were even able to start a 501-c3 non-profit, Sisters United, from the sole support of the knitting community.

Our friend Diane from Lady Dye Yarns has built a large part of her company from the ideals of 'Craftivism'. We asked her to talk about it in her words.

"When I think about craftivism, I am reminded of how transformative it can be to create change by doing the thing you absolutely love. Using crafting to advocate or mobilize people to take action on social justice issues can mentally help people going through trauma or mental health because we know through research that crafting is calming to the mind and when people finish something it’s a huge accomplishment.

Craftivism also doesn’t have to be creating something. It could also be using your platform to raise money, goods, or promote services within your craft. We have seen so many businesses this year offer discounts on their products to raise money for political organizations as well as social organizations."

My own knitting journey has brought me all of the aspects I've discussed here: support for mental health; a sense of community; expansive creative outlet; reconnection to the benefits of handmade & slow fashion; and a way to channel my desire for a better world through activism. Do these themes resonate with you? Have you caught the knitting bug, or do you know someone who might benefit from learning the craft?'


  • Candice, Thankyou for important words about slow fashion, craftivism and fiber arts. The fiber arts have been part of our human story as long as food preparation. We gotta eat and we gotta stay warm. Like culinary arts, fiber arts feeds our spirits and preserves our cultures. It is at once ancient and modern. And serves our human family in ever-evolving spheres. Thank you for continuing this unbroken thread of connection between earth, creatures, humans; past, present, future.

  • Well said, Candice! It is such an essential part of my life and of who I am.

  • Well said! I’m looking forward to using my FD Christmas gift certificate. Your Squish DK is my favorite yarn. Round and wooly and not too drapey, it’s perfect! Now I just have to choose a pattern!!

  • ❤❤❤👍 You nailed it❣
    Every aspect is part of what I wrote in a research paper five years ago. And yes, everyone (who is not a maker) thinks that I am weird! 🤣

    T Craven
  • thank you for posting this and reminding me why i knit.


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