Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Knitting for Your Health---your BRAIN health

Interestingly, knitting has been shown in studies to produce similar results for our health as how SSRI's or Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors, function in our bodies. SSRI's are medications such as Prozac, Zoloft, etc. I'm sure this would apply to any form of needlework as well.

 Serotonin is our "feel good" hormone in the brain.

In 2009, there is an article specifically explaining how the connection between the repetition in knitting helps to prevent and manage stress. As stress is a big root cause of many health conditions, I have an interest in exactly how this effects us as knitters.

As an adjunct therapy, or non-pharmacologic intervention, for anxiety or stress, I do believe learning to knit or any kind of needlework is worthy of mentioning in health plans of care. However, most conventional providers will not offer this information for various reasons. If you are thinking of learning to knit or do any needlework, be assured that studies are ongoing in the relation of how knitting/needlework creates changes in brain chemistry that increase serotonin. Some studies have already shown great positive results.

The effect is very similar to yoga or meditation. In this day and time of increased stress in the environment, this is very positive to know and incorporate a fun, learning repetition that our brains then use to lower cortisol, the stress hormone. When cortisol is lowered, our risks for heart disease, high blood pressure, and many other major health issues are less. Long term pain management and depression also improves.

So next time you pick up your needles or whatever kind or size, know that you are adding some goodness to your health and changing your brain chemistry to decrease your response to stress and illness.

I think we all have laughed and said that cross stitching and/or knitting is cheaper than therapy at some point, but now we know there really are some physical changes that it creates in crafting to provide stress relief. We all have felt that joy in knitting almost like a runner's high.

Linda's blog Under the Gables, has a great little snippet here about how knitting actually was implemented at Walter Reed army hospital in 1918 with soldiers. It's an interesting read.

Hilliary's blog, Make It and Mend It,  also has a great short article on knitting's therapeutic benefits.

Stephanie, at  The Yarn Harlot,  has a more in depth article of her study of the research of other brain chemistry effects of knitting. VERY interesting to take a look-see. She mentions the chemical dopamine, which is another hormone in the pleasure center in our brain being increased. In fact, for example, part of the smoking cessation medications involve dopamine. I just find this really interesting, especially for women's health, although many men find knitting pleasurable as well.

Could one day possibly a script for knitting be given  to try for smoking cessation? hmmmmmmmm.

And if it keeps our brain clicking and reduces anxiety, could there be benefits in Alzheimer's in the future????

These are a few of the things that I like to delve deeper into with my background in nursing. If you have time to read only one posting, I think Stephanie's is the most intriguing.

My oldest pair of acquired, vintage knitting needles. Tortoise shell and silver with engraved "F".

 I wonder how many hearts and souls were mended while making beautiful projects with them? 
If needles could talk! 

In summary knitting can:

  •  steep your mind into creative thinking and forget the stress of the times. The immersion of ourselves in knitting allows hormones like serotonin and dopamine in our brains to naturally increase and subsequently reduce stress, feelings of depression, anxiety and increased immune functioning.

  •   The rhythmic nature of knitting lowers cortisol which is similar to effects of yoga and meditation. Cortisol in higher quantities can cause detrimental aging effects.

  •  the process of learning new patterns and challenging ourselves to expand our comfort zones in knitting, builds our self-esteem and helps us in life to do the same.

  •  knitting can increase social life, whether online or in person, through groupings with others who love to connect about this passion, developing our social skills.

All comments are welcome on this topic!!!! I love to learn more.

Till later,

Disclaimer: please go by the advice of your healthcare provider in medical management of stress- related illnesses which may include medication. I in no part am recommending to substitute the advice of your healthcare provider with this information. The information is intended to increase awareness in part of good general health.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Laws of Knitting and a finish!

Hello all lovers of knitting,
I'm sure you most experienced knitters probably have knitted up this pattern many times. I don't know why by now I've not knitted one up as it's a basic learning pattern. I wouldn't say I'm experienced though and enjoy learning on any patterns.
I found a website (where the pattern is taken from) that I thought I would pass on to those newbies or experienced, as it's a real good site for knitting patterns and even beginner lessons.
Called Laws of Knitting, Joan, the author of the website, really explains things well.
Here is my finish:

The colorway is numbered but I would say this is a variation of Robin's Egg blue.
As most people would knit this as the title says, Kitchen Dishcloth Garter Pattern, I, instead, have a goal to make face cloths for the bathroom. I have a basket I want to fill up with different colors.
This pattern teaches:
knit 2 tog
many of the basics to learning to knit
In this pattern you can increase until you have as many stitches as you want, but suggested is 50 on the needle before decreasing. It honestly makes the perfect size for a facecloth.
The yarn is Berroco, Nostalgia.
I had this yarn in my stash from way while back, but my next ones will be knitted with 100% cotton that I have on hand. I find for the lowest cost and best softness and colorway selection, is Hobby Lobby's I love this Cotton.
Bernat cotton also makes a good quality, cotton washcloth.
So what other good websites have you found to be great references for learning?
I hope you are having a great day!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Knitting Grandma's Basic Dishcloth/Washcloth

Here is a VERY basic dishcloth/washcloth pattern. I've seen this on many freebie sites, major knitting sites like, and many others. I've made some basic garter stitch washcloths, basket weave patterned ones, moss stitch ones, and others. I even made one with a mix of purls and knit stitches for make I <3 Jane Austen on it. This one is hanging in the kitchen. The others I gave as simple gifts in triple or to add to a gift for others.
This Summer I set a goal to make enough of the washcloths in a smaller size for facial cleansing. I take skin care seriously and vigilant about cleansing at night with a clean cotton cloth. I wanted to make at least 10-12 for the guest bathroom as well. I really love the simple basic "Grandma's Dishcloth" pattern with the eyelet edge but have not made one yet. The facial cloths I will put in a basket by the sink in several colors or rolled in the basket in the guest bathroom. My facial cloths are smaller. Washcloths I aim to make approximately 9x 9 inches.  
Inspired by a freebie pattern I got which is of course the same, not original but showed beautiful cotton cloths in many colors. So, I picked up my knitting needles in a size 7, interchangeable ones and started this one. Of course, this starts and works by increasing rows and then at about 50-60 stitches on the needle decreasing down to 4 stitches before binding off.
Here's my morning progress.

A hilarious note is that while I started this and showed it to my DH with the string down, he said, is that a thong?????   I couldn't quit laughing. LOL
No honey, it's going to be a facial cloth. He just laughed.
The colorway is a number only, no name and the yarn is from my stash and is branded Berroco, Nostalgia.
The mix is 46% cotton with acrylic and nylon in it as well.
Ideally, one would use a 100% cotton but my local yarn store owner told me that really as long as the yarn fiber has close to 50% cotton, it can be used as well for cloths.
The texture is actually very soft and the color here is muted with my camera (God help me with this new camera color function!).
For the basic pattern, go to and look up basic washcloth or Grandma's Washcloth.
So in one chair, I have some cloths going and the other chair with my Mighty Brite light I have a cross stitch sampler going.
Paired with some small, special soaps, these cloths are great gifts from the heart.
For the cost, I wouldn't probably use this yarn for facial cloths because I am on a squeaky tight budget, but as far as quality and softness, it's a good pick from my stash.
My very favorite cotton is 100% is Hobby Lobby cotton brand. Great savings with this brand and better quality than Cream and Sugar brand.
Here are a few of my other colors in the stash.
As far as cross stitching samplers, take a look-see at my sister blog, Feathers in the Nest and you'll find progress on this beauty from The Scarlett House designer. Gorgeous colors. Currently frogging out the head though........
I hope you are having a great "knit" day!!!!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Welcome to my Knitting Blog!

So glad you found me here for my new knitting blog!  Here you will find anything knitting, a blog that is set up specifically for knitters. Feathers in the Nest is my main blog but mostly will continue with cross stitching, antiquing and sampler. If you have interests only in knitting, this separate blog is formed especially for you.
Slowly, I will transfer over some of my knitting topics and finishes. I just want to welcome you here.
Summer is a time when I do more cross stitching; therefore, end of Summer, this blog will be buzzing more for all things yarn and cozy.
I learned to knit about 1.5 years ago, mainly through taking a class online and many you tube tutorials. I enjoy knitting quite a bit and I'm glad you do too!!
Become a follower here on the knitting blog so that you can check out current topics as well, separately or concurrently with Feathers in the Nest, sister blog.
I will occasionally do product reviews.
So, click the button to the right to follow and I hope my humble knitting postings will be of interest to you. I'm still learning and I think it's so much fun in the process.  I love to network and learn new things from knitters all over the world! I have some WIPs that need finishing real soon and hope to do those in between catching up on sampler-making as well. If you prefer cross stitching and sampler making only, Feathers in the Nest is the best place to be.

You can follow in other ways. One is by entering your email in the right side bar section and you will receive notification when a post has been written. Google Plus is the other way to follow or simply favorite the page to the computer.

Please congratulate with me Abigail Rennee Fox for being promoted to Project Manager for the social networking sites of Feathers in the Nest and Knitting in My Nest.
She is excited with tail wagging to be of assistance to you!
Clicking my needles,