Are you having a relaxing Labor Day weekend?

I often have mixed feelings about long weekends.

Yes, many folks find them a great way to relax.  There’s another side to long weekends though.

Sometimes you’re the person who is left behind.  For example, you may be the professional or family caregiver who works through the long weekend when everyone else takes a break.  And so a long weekend can be a source of stress including caregiver stress.

Is knitting one of the ways you reduce stress?

After a long working day of a long weekend, I often found it helpful to relax.  For many years I thought it was just my way of clearing my mind, and relaxing.  It’s more though.   According to medical researchers, knitting elicits the Relaxation Response.

When you knit, after about 20 minutes you may notice yourself visibly relaxed. This is the Relaxation Response kicking in. Of course an added benefit of knitting and other crafts is your completed project.  So you get the benefit of stress reduction PLUS a completed project when you finish!

My current project is my own pattern.

How to Knit Videos: New projectIt’s inspired by Faroese-style shawls and the Danish shawl.  I’m designing this shawl for knitters who need a portable project.  In addition to one that will easily fit into a bag for portability, one that you can start and stop in the middle of a row.

So the prototype is more like a shawlette or bed jacket size than a full shawl.  Although I think it could easily be adapted to a longer shawl.

With most lace knitting patterns, making a mistake can mean pulling out your stitches back to a row without a mistake.  With a shawl, that can be a LOT of stitches. And with many lace knitting patterns very complicated.

This one is mostly garter stitch, easy to start and stop quickly.  The last row I knit is 574 stitches, and the shawl has about 5 inches more to go.  I expect to add about another 175 stitches to the rows, maybe more.

Right now each row takes about 20 minutes to knit, and I knit fairly quickly. This pattern can be stopped in the middle of a row and picked up later without a lot of thinking about where you are in the row – or what’s next!

Danish Shawl Inspired Shawl for Caregivers at Bedside in progressWith the aim of reducing your knitting stress!  After all when you’re knitting to reduce stress the last thing you want to do is to counteract it by increasing your stress at the same time!

Yes, there are ways other than knitting to reduce your stress.  You may find crocheting or spinning or another craft more your style.  It may not have been studied.

When you’re looking for a unique way to reduce stress for yourself or someone else, check out

By the way, the pictures are of the same shawl.  In the second one I figured out how to use an adjustment for low lighting.  Never mind how long I’ve had the camera! 😀

Keep knitting to your heart’s delight – or someone else’s,

Dr. Ina

Ina Gilmore M.D. (ret.)
“The Knitting Dr.”

Ambassador of Elder Care,
Founder, and

The information on this website is for educational purposes only. It does not replace information or recommendations from your own physician or other health care provider. Full Disclaimer and Disclosure.



Google+ Comments