Monday, June 4, 2012

Giving back with Crochet & Knitting

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I knew that there are great health benefits to crocheting and knitting, but I never knew just how important those are until last week.

I teach knitting and crochet in 2 groups every Friday. The first group meets in the morning at the local health clinic and is made up predominantly of women who are survivors of abuse. When I first joined this group this past January, I saw a lot of women who were shy, retired, didn't communicate very much. Being a survivor myself, I saw myself in those women. But once I began sharing my skills with them, I watched a change come over all of them and eventually noticed the same changes in myself. I felt happier, more confident, less apt to say 'no' or avoiding group situations. It made me feel important as an individual!

A month ago, I started another knitting group, this one meeting at the local library on Friday afternoons. This group is made up of women and men who either want to spend time with others who knit and crochet or want to learn how to knit and/or crochet. What I love about this group is that everyone is willing to teach those who don't know how or to guide them when they are unsure of a stitch. 

I've taught many of the women in this afternoon group how to crochet and/or knit. I didn't realise how much of an impact this sharing of my skills was having on some of my students until last Friday when one of my students came and sat next to me while I was packing up after the group was done. I asked her if there was anything she needed and she said no but that she wanted to speak with me. I was curious as to what she wanted to discuss.

She then explained that she suffers from an acquired brain injury from which she will likely never recover fully. That for the past several years, coping with this and being a survivor of abuse, she has felt useless, just floating around, not having any purpose in life nor seeing any ahead for her. She then told me that teaching her how to knit, not giving up on her because it took a lot longer for her to 'get it' gave her the confidence to continue, but that it's also given her confidence for other things in her life, that she doesn't feel useless anymore and that she can contribute. I had noticed in the group that in the 4 short weeks since she'd joined, she had blossomed. She is a lot more outspoken than when she came the first day, she is more than happy to volunteer as first show n' tell each week and that she promotes the group to other people she knows. She also commented that her family and friends have noticed the change in her and are loving it.

Until I heard all these things, I never realized just how much of an impact teaching someone how to crochet and/or knit could have on a person. I had to hold back tears of joy while I listened in awe of what the simple passing on of skills had given this woman and am thankful for it.

This Friday evening, the local library to kick off the World Wide Knit in Public week is holding a knit in for all knitters and crocheters in the area. So if you live in Hamilton Ontario, come on down and join us at the central library on the main floor where we will be knitting and crocheting from 6:30 to 9 pm! If you want to bring some finished projects to display, please do, we will be having a display for people to see what we have made!

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