Nobody knows exactly how long humans have been practicing the craft of knitting. Archaeological records suggest that it goes back to around the 5th Century CE, but it could be even older than that. For centuries, we have used knitting to create clothing of exceptional quality and comfort, but there is more to knitting than just the products. The act of knitting has a variety of benefits as well. The International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO) look at the reasons why knitting with wool has endured for so long.
Why is Knitting So Beneficial?
“Knitting is very popular in Norway indeed. In the past year, with the coronavirus, people have knitted even more. The spinners making knitting yarn have had a very good year.” This is according to Marion Tviland, Wool Director for Norilia. However, it is not only Norway that has seen this boom in knitting and knitted products. With so many people stuck at home for long periods during the COVID-19 lockdowns, knitting has provided a pleasant, productive and therapeutic pastime to occupy hands and minds. This is a clear demonstration of the dual benefit of knitting: it produces tangible products, and it offers psychological benefits. Let’s consider both benefits in more detail.
For more interesting information on wool as a sustainable material, read through the IWTO fact sheets.
The Psychological Benefits of Knitting
As people found themselves confined to their homes for extended periods, they naturally sought out things to keep themselves occupied. Those who had dabbled in knitting before but had set the hobby aside due to lack of free time, were able to take it up again. Others, who perhaps had not considered knitting before, decided to give it a try and found a pastime that offered real benefits.
In a world where much of what we do is virtual and digital, there is a part of our human nature that longs to make something physical and tangible, to see and touch the fruits of our labour. Knitting, a centuries-old craft that produces real, usable products, is one of the ways in which we can satisfy this need.
The beauty of knitting is not only that it is physical, tangible and productive, but it is also very relaxing. Other productive pastimes – woodwork or metalwork, for example – might require some physical exertion, but knitting is quieter, more still and meditative. The rhythmic repetitive movements bring us into the present moment and calm our minds. Due to these effects, knitting helps people suffering from depression, stress and other mental health issues.
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The Benefits of Creation Through Knitting
Aside from the psychological benefits of the mere action of knitting, it produces real products that we can use or gift to others and that offer real benefits. When you knit with high-quality wool, you know you are creating something with a beautiful, natural product. Your creations offer comfort and warmth and stand as a lasting testament to your efforts, as well as the quality of your chosen materials.
All wool possesses the same natural inherent qualities such as biodegradability, elasticity, breathability and odour-resistance, but there are some particularly fine yarns that will heighten the benefits you get from knitting.
If you are looking to create quality woollen items, it is required that you invest in quality yarn. The West Yorkshire Spinner’s latest yarn range, The Re:treat, offers knitters a roving quality and a soft twist that glides off the needles. Knitters that are looking to create smooth, light fabrics with a luxurious silky feel would want to invest in a yarn such as the Re:treat range.
Some of the finest wool yarn producers include Norway’s Sandnes Garn and Rauma Ullvarefabrik, and the UK’s West Yorkshire Spinners and John Arbon Textiles.
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Knitting with Wool Supports Sustainability
Many producers of woollen yarn strive to encourage the use of wool as a sustainable material. Norwegian wool is one of the world’s most environmentally friendly textile fibres. Rauma Garn of Norway minimizes environmental impact throughout the product’s life cycle. Their 100% Norwegian wool yarns are spun in their own factory where the quality at each stage of the process is controlled.
John Arbon Textiles is a family run mill based in the UK. John uses fibre from local sheep whenever possible and, with the help of his team, transforms it into unique and sumptuous blends in the form of yarn and tops. John Arbon Textiles is driven by a very simple concept: a return to old-style textile manufacture by sustainably sourcing raw fibre locally, when possible, and converting into high quality yarns locally, rather than racking up air miles by chasing the cheapest available labour. After experimenting with different local breeds, John has found favourites in Exmoor Blueface, a crossbreed of the Exmoor Horn and Blueface Leicester.
Mills, such as UK-based John Arbon Textiles and Norwegian Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk seek to emphasize transparency at all stages of the production of wool. Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk create exclusive products that are made from Norwegian wool and handcrafted with love to bring further joy to knitters and wool enthusiasts around the world. By solely purchasing woollen yarn as your knitting material of choice, consumers are making the conscious decision to support the sustainability provided by this material.
Learn More About the Benefits of High-Quality Wool
The IWTO is the global authority for standards in the wool textile industry. Learn more about the fascinating material that is wool by browsing our fact sheets. Not only is this material great to knit with, but it is also sustainable. Make the switch to wool yarn today and reap the benefits.