It’s safe to say I have a “knitting lifestyle”. I frequently steal moments from my day to “knit just one more row”, grab a project bag whenever I leave the house, and curl up on the sofa with knitting every night. It’s odd to see me sitting without my knitting, and it feels even more peculiar to sit with my hands free.

I’ve come to recognise the host of emotions that come with a “knitting lifestyle”:

  • elation to witness sheer magic growing on my needles;
  • frustration as I hunt in vain for dropped stitches;
  • disappointment that the vision in my head didn’t turn out how I expected; and
  • sweet relief when the time comes to sit down uninterrupted and just knit.

And I’ve also come to accept that knitting can be an excellent teacher if I’m open to it. Because not only is knitting fabulously fun and good for us (the science even says so!), but it’s also FULL of life lessons.

For a long time, I didn’t appreciate that ripping out (yet another) sleeve, slogging through a sweater body, or trusting that my colour combos worked; taught me anything. But these things (and all my knitting adventures and struggles) have taught me so much.

Knitting gives us the chance to learn and practise big life lessons:

YOU KNOW BEST

We are told that all we have to do is listen to our instincts. But it’s easier said than done, right?

The more often we knit with a colour that makes our mouth water, try a texture that “feels” great, or learn a new stitch pattern that makes our heart thump, the more often we love our projects.

And, by making seemingly inconsequential choices about yarn, patterns, and knitting projects and feeling happy with the results of those choices, we’re actually doing a great job of training ourselves, little by little, to trust our choices and our instincts.

This starts to spill over into “real life”, and we begin to trust our instincts around big decisions.

DON’T FREAK OUT

Every single knitting project adheres to the 25/75 rule.

Things often start to feel “yuck” about a quarter into a project. We may question the colour we’ve chosen, think we’re knitting the wrong size, doubt that we’ll ever finish, and wonder what we were thinking when we started.

Warning – it happens again at about three-quarters of the way through. When we’re nearly done, we might think: “Argh! Is my knitting completely tasteless and a waste of time?”.

Don’t panic! It’s all normal. Hold those thoughts about ripping, and don’t step near the “naughty basket”. Things will get better; you’ve just got the 25/75 wobbles.

How often have you finally gotten into the swing of something when you’re suddenly swept off guard by a niggle or a doubt? Do you question whether you can keep going when you’re getting close to the end? 25/75 happens in real life, too and knitting is such great practice!

When you feel shaky about a knitting project, stop and ask: “Am I a quarter of the way in? Am I about three-quarters done?” Chances are, you are.

Try taking a deep breath and refocus. If you do this often enough, you may find you’re less likely to panic and freak out about wobbly feelings in life.

STICK AT IT

There are thousands of stitches in a sweater. Even a wee hat is full of stitches.

Remember what they say? The way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. The same is true for knitting. It grows grit and perseverance – especially if you’re knitting, frogging and re-knitting! The way to knit a sweater is one stitch at a time. Hang in there.

It won’t be long before you realise that you’re a little more patient in real life and less daunted by a mountain. All those stitches teach us that if we start simply putting one foot in front of the other, we’ll move forward, even with challenges.

DON’T RUSH. SLOOOOOOWWW DOWN

Knitting has the fantastic ability to stretch our brains and soothe our souls, sometimes all simultaneously.

So what’s the hurry? Why not enjoy the ride?

Knitting teaches us that slowing down, loving every stitch, and relishing every inch of gorgeous yarn is wonderful. And, when we knit regularly, it’s easy for that mindset to flow into real life.

Suddenly, we realise that we’ve learnt to slow down a little more and enjoy the moment.

YOU’RE NOT ALONE

There’s not much that’s new about knitting. Not only has someone else had your knitting problem before, but someone else gets you and your love of knitting.

Thousands of knitters share our wonderfully vibrant tradition, and they understand your need to knit. They know the warm, fullness that a gorgeous skein of yarn can bring, and they’ve also felt the satisfied, jubilant feeling after they’ve worked out a tricky stitch or bound off a new project.

We might not live next door or speak the same language as other knitters. Still, somewhere out there, someone else knows just what it means to curl up and escape into a contended place with needles and yarn.

So you’re truly not alone. You’re a KNITTER!

Embrace your knitting lifestyle and relish in your projects even when you feel you’re un-knitting more stitches than you’re knitting. Because with every stitch, knitting gives us a chance to practice life on a tiny scale, so much so that I think life might actually feel … better as a knitter.

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