Everyone builds happiness in their lives in different ways, and of course your way is probably different from mine. However, some activities, once learned, have multiple benefits for building happiness. Knitting is one of those. Crochet is another and many of the reasons below apply to it as well.
I learned to knit (badly, and only a bit), before I started kindergarten. I then dropped it for forty years and picked it up again in about 2007 or 2008. Why would a professional woman, a geek and a feminist take up a hobby so tied to traditional 'women's work'? Let me count the reasons:
13 Ways Knitting Contributes to Happiness
- When you are waiting for a doctor or some other professional, you can keep a knitting project in your bag so you always have something to do that doesn't rely on electricity and sometimes leads to interesting conversations with strangers. Which would you rather do, knit something and get absorbed in doing it, or get aggravated because your doctor or hairdresser is behind schedule AGAIN?
- When you are 'done' knitting (truth is, you're never done) you have something that you can wear or give away, usually something that is truly beautiful. Of course, those first few projects can be more amusing than beautiful, but that's part of the fun, too.
- You get to touch yarn. You get to fondle yarn. Natural yarns made from wool and silk and alpaca and mohair are incredibly sensuous to touch. Even some acrylic yarns can be. And I store my yarn in plastic bags with bits of scented soap, so they smell nice while I knit as well (I suggest you do the same).
- You can join knitting or more general crafting clubs and have a new group of friends with similar interests. You can find local knitting groups on Facebook or Meetup, or even Twitter. If you can't find one, you can form one. My knit group is awesome covered in awesome sauce, and some of the closest friendships I have come from that group.
- You have something to do at house parties where you don't know anyone that is almost guaranteed to 1) invite conversation from people you might be interested in talking to and 2) discourage conversation from people you're not particularly interested in talking to. It turns out that knitters are interesting to a certain group of people,
- You have something to do with your hands and the unoccupied part of my mind while watching television or going to the movies. I have some mild to moderate adult ADHD. Sitting still without doing something is very difficult for me. Knitting allows me to enjoy a show without pacing or making someone pause it frequently to accommodate my restlessness.
- So long as knitting needles are still allowed on planes (as of this writing, they are in the US) you have something to do for long flights that, again, doesn't require electricity. If they ever ban knitting needles you can switch to crochet.
- For long mandatory trainings (with the permission of the instructor) you have an alternative to doodling that helps you concentrate and keeps your hands busy. For the last several years while I have been sitting in on trainings, there have often been a few people (usually women) sitting in the back quietly working on handiwork while watching the instructor.
- Knitting exercises the mathematical and creative portions of your brain. This is especially true if you are designing something from scratch or altering a pattern. Your brain, like any other muscle, needs exercise. There's a reason that the little old knitting woman stereotype has her as sharp as a tack
- You can do radical public art (yarn bombing) that is unlikely to get you arrested and can sometimes make a valuable point (see the knitted uteruses here, or Mr. Roger's sweater here).
- You can create knit patterns or knitted items for sale for supplemental income. Many people, mostly women, have Etsy shops or local boothes at farmer's markets for their knitwares. Of course, its important to pick projects you can make a profit at, but it's definitely worth looking into.
- You have an excuse to learn how to scour wool and/or how to spin. You may not actually need an excuse, because both of those are fun in their own right, but you may have to justify the up front expense of a spinning wheel, and knitting would help.
- You have long pointy sticks at hand nearly all the time – especially useful in case of zombie apocalypse or a house full of teenagers. Never underestimate the value of knowing that if you had to fend off zombies, you are prepared. Teenagers, too.
Some of these reason apply more or less to your life, and some are a bit tongue in cheek, but you will find, once you pick up the string and pointy sticks, that it is a fascinating, usually relaxing hobby that gives you great joy on multiple different levels.
I used [amazon_link id="0761128182" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Stitch and Bitch[/amazon_link] with its very clear line drawings and forgiving attitude to take up knitting. You might prefer a video like the one below, or to join a crafting class. In any case, knitting is cool. And who knows. You may find yourself on a bench next to Ryan Gosling comparing projects and discussing yarn gauge. It could happen!