5 Benefits of Taking Up Knitting
By Katherine Foster

As anyone who enjoys knitting as a pastime knows well, taking up this particular hobby can be very soothing and rewarding. There are many benefits of this craft - some of them unexpected - so here are some good reasons why anyone and everyone should consider picking up some knitting needles and a ball of yarn and getting started.

The first benefit of knitting is that, as a creative hobby, it stimulates the mind and provides a creative outlet. People are drawn to many different creative pastimes, including painting, drawing, singing and learning a musical instrument, yet knitting is not necessarily an option that everyone might consider.

Differing from some other less mentally tasking creative hobbies, knitting actually requires a great deal of skill, and therefore is an excellent choice for those who enjoy mental stimulation along with a healthy dose of creativity. Working to patterns and making alterations requires a good amount of brain work to keep the little grey cells ticking over.

The second major advantage of knitting is that it a very productive hobby to enjoy, and it does not have to be very expensive either. Many friends and family love receiving gifts such as scarves and mittens in winter, and good quality scarf yarns are not necessarily expensive, especially if you find a good retailer to buy from.

Whereas other hobbies may just be for pure pleasure, knitting is actually a way to make unique gifts for loved ones as well. Many good knitting retailers offer designer and budget materials from Aran yarns to scarf yarns at a range of prices too, and it can be a real thrill to shop a sales section for a beautiful yarn and then turn it into a gift that someone will love.

The third benefit of taking up knitting as a hobby is that it is a great stress reliever. Studies have actually shown that this pastime is excellent for the health, and can even ease more severe conditions such as depression.

One of the reasons for this is that it is very meditative in nature, with knitters enjoying the soothing rhythmic movements of creating designs with simple needles and yarn. It is also the opportunity for many who are otherwise very busy to sit down and relax; this kind of sitting relaxation can lower blood pressure and help individuals find peace of mind.

Knitting does not only have benefits for mental health, however, and it is also an excellent solution for those who are suffering - or are starting to suffer - with conditions such as arthritis. Just as the brain needs to stay active to be healthy, so do the joints, which is perhaps one reason why many older people enjoy knitting so much.

Regardless of age, using some knitting needles and a ball or two of yarn can help improvisational skills, warding off future joint problems and strengthening the cartilage in the fingers. As knitting is gentle, it is sufficient to keep things working properly without putting a strain on the hands and joints for those who already have arthritis.

The fifth and final benefit of knitting is that it can be as social as you want it to be, which makes it the perfect choice for those who enjoy mixing with others or prefer to relax alone. There are many knitting clubs and groups where participants can compare patterns, show off projects and discuss the best lace weight or scarf yarns to use for a particular design they have.

On the other hand, others can enjoy knitting as an "alone" pastime that they can do without getting bored. Either way, knitting cannot only be social, but therapeutic, productive, stimulating and generally excellent for the health. If you are looking for a hobby that can bring all this to the table, knitting may very well be the right choice for you.

Little Houndales Knits is an Aladdin's Cave for knitters, with a huge range of amazing yarns, premium branded knitting needles and fabulous patterns from some of the biggest names in the hand-knitting industry. Established in 2010 in the Yorkshire Wolds, Little Houndales Knits was inspired by a passion for knitting and the desire to make 'proper wool' available to knitters around the UK. In addition to its range of exclusive Little Houndales Knits yarns and other luxury wool products, the store also stocks a popular selection of bags, accessories and knitting kits. Little Houndales Knits also has gift vouchers available for the perfect birthday or Christmas present, and offers free UK delivery on orders over 20. Visit Little Houndales Knits at: http://www.littlehoundalesknits.com/

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