There are some articles floating around the internet again about the benefits of knitting. On the one hand, it's nice when the media has something nice to say about your hobby. On the other hand, do we really need to defend what we do?
Knitting has gone in and out of favor over the years, including a solid block of time as a Men Only Club (think Medieval craft guilds--no girls allowed). In my lifetime (which does NOT include the aforementioned Medieval era, no matter how old my kids think I am) there has been a resurgence, as young crafters have discovered how much fun it is to knit, and yarn and needle producers have discovered that the more yarn and needles they produce, the more money they make and the happier we knitters are to have choices.
Along with the resurgence has come more than a few dismissive observations:
- Scorn: "My grandmother used to knit"--this implies that not even decrepit old ladies still do such a dumb thing.
- Ridicule: "You do know you can BUY a pair of socks for $2 from Wal-Mart, right? You don't HAVE to make them yourself."--this implies that I shop at Wal-Mart, but am also so stupid that I am totally ignorant of mass production.
- Profiling: "All you need now is a rocking chair!" -this implies that either I am prematurely gray under my Clairol or worse still, old at heart.
Negative comments have made us a bit defensive, and so we tout studies about the therapeutic benefits to arthritic hands and aging brains as excellent reasons why we knit.
All hobbies that involve working with one's hands have physically beneficial side effects--wood working, fly fishing, sewing, painting, and ceramics are only a few examples, because there are so many. Any hobby that engages your mind will have mental benefits. Any hobby that can be social in nature will improve your happiness through relationships with fellow enthusiasts. Why must knitting be singled out to be defended for its helpful merits?
I read somewhere (Yarn Harlot, I think) that worldwide, there are more knitters than golfers. When was the last time you heard someone brag on the benefits of golf to justify greens fees? (I am not dissing golf in any way, I promise.)
The next time another "helpful" article about the benefits of knitting comes across your path, think about it from this perspective. Is knitting something that needs to be justified? Or can we all just agree it is something we enjoy and leave it at that? One day, non-knitters will be the ones who feel as though they must explain why they don't knit. Until that newsworthy day, I plan to keep knitting, happily secure in the thought that I needn't defend it to anyone.