Skip to main content

Enjoy San Joaquin Valley Living

The Benefits of Knitting

Feb 27, 2019 11:00AM ● By Enjoy Magazine

Get Your Fiber

March 2019
Story by Jasmyne Robles
Photos courtesy of AR Workshop

IN A WORLD full of fascinating hobbies intended for personal enjoyment and growth lies the art of needlework. The exercise of knitting allows the participant to move at their own pace through each project while discovering a new type of relaxation. Knitting is an excellent opportunity for every individual to channel their inner creativity through the endless possibilities of the art.  

Many techniques have evolved in the art itself, allowing the craft to never grow old for the community of knitters.  

The practice calls for patience, but also provides the privilege to create and a chance to unwind from life’s pressures. Research suggests that knitting originated in Egypt between 500 and 1200 AD when an independent researcher discovered knitted fragments that are believed to be a pair of children’s socks. As time passed, techniques began to spread throughout Europe, and the world of knitting soon evolved as a form of trade and labor. Fast forward to present day where knitting has gained a worldwide appreciation, and it presents opportunities to give back into the world by gifting through art. 

The craft is even said to benefit our health. Because it requires focus, it allows participants to channel patience, which is known to result in relaxation. It’s a great stress reliever and can calm anxiety. Knitting is a social activity for many, but can also be enjoyed in the peace and quiet of the user’s own world.  

Interested in trying something fun and crafty this year? It is never too late to try new things and get involved in knitting with the help of craft lovers all throughout the valley. Business owner Ron Warren takes pride in his shop, The Twisted Skein in Bakersfield. He encourages anyone picking up a ball of yarn and a needle for the first time or even participants who have plenty of experience to find a knitting class. “Don’t be afraid to start by making garbage – being able to create an ugly scarf is better than not being able to make a scarf at all,” Warren says. While beginning a new craft such as knitting can be a messy process, many benefits begin to sprout as a result of joining knitting classes. “In the digital world we live in, having something to hold that’s soft to the touch is really fulfilling for the individual,” he says. 

Fresno DIY boutique, AR Workshop, offers a unique type of knitting using raw materials that can be enjoyed through instructor-led workshops. Hand knitting is the practice of using your hands rather than needles to interlock the material. AR Workshop owners Leigh Champlin and Michelle Bentzen say participants in their classes are not required to bring any materials and they are provided with the yarn skein.  “In a three-hour class, they are able to learn the techniques we teach, and leave with a completed chunky knit blanket in that time frame,” Champlin says. No prior knitting experience is required.  

For those interested in joining a knitting class that requires no financial obligations, Tulare Public Library Manager Heidi Clark oversees free knitting classes. The courses are open to beginners through advanced knitters, because in the world of knitting, everyone has something to offer. Beginners should expect “a welcoming environment, the opportunity to learn a new skill and make new friends, the chance to explore your creative side, fellowship and fun,” Clark says. Classes have been offered at the library for nine years now. “Be prepared to end up hooked,” she says.  •