If the only thing knitting did was stop you from touching your smartphone for a few minutes a day, it would be worth it. Almost half of the world’s population uses social media for an average of two hours per day, usually on their smartphones. While compulsively checking Instagram and Twitter can keep us occupied, it has also been shown to increase anxiety, depression, and disrupt our sleep. Knitting not only keeps your hands off your phone but it has basically the opposite effects. Where smartphones hurt, knitting heals. Knitters report effects similar to meditation, including calming and increased concentration. It has been used to help quit smoking, control weight, and has even been shown to stave off cognitive decline associated with aging. Knitting, in short, is good for you. What’s better: it gives you an endless supply of one-of-a-kind gifts for your loved ones.
All of this is why knitting has been at the vanguard of the DIY craft revival in the 21st century. Grandmas still knit, but they’ve been joined increasingly by young women, men, and celebrities such as Winona Ryder, Julia Roberts, and Ryan Gosling. Here’s everything you need to know to get started yourself.