At Glencroft we’re passionate about all things wool, but hand knitting isn’t our speciality.

Knitting is an incredibly popular craft practiced by almost 6 million people in the UK, according to the UK hand knitting association, including many famous actors and sports people.

So for Wool Week, we spoke to our friend and local expert Sandra Oakeshott about the benefits of knitting and crochet.

beckside outside

Sandra runs Beckside Yarns, a shop 20 yards up the road from us in Clapham, Yorkshire Dales, and it’s bursting at the seams with all types of hand knitting wool and yarn.

At the end of this blog post you’ll also find two FREE knitting patterns from Sandra so that you can knit a pair of fingerless gloves yourself, as well as information on how you can get started with this wonderful ancient craft.

Relax with knitting

As well as being creative crafts, knitting and crochet are both very relaxing activities. Simple knitting projects usually involve making the same few stitches over and over, so you can zone out and use your muscle memory to get the job done. Your mind can be focused on what you are doing.

As your skills progress, you never stop learning new techniques. The repetitive movements required to create a pattern release calming serotonin, which can lift moods and dull pain. Heart rates and blood pressure can be reduced and it can create a sense of wellbeing.

Knitting is a sociable activity that can help overcome isolation and loneliness, with many knitting and crochet groups springing up all over the country. Social media such as Facebook have a great many groups dedicated to the craft, so it’s easier than ever to find your nearest group.

The ancient art of knitting and crochet can continue when sight and strength are diminished. According to Knit for Peace (a network of over 15,000 knitters in the UK who knit for people in need), there is substantial evidence that suggests knitting is beneficial to a healthy mind and body.

The rhythmic motions and sense of focus can help distract from symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress. Indeed, there have been many reports from knitters and crocheters about their crafts helping them to overcome depression, anxiety and tragedies in their lives.

Sandra Oakeshott
Beckside Yarns, Church Avenue, Clapham, North Yorkshire LA2 8EQ

Free knitting patterns

Knitted fingerless gloves
Easy garter stitch fingerless gloves

If you’re a regular knitter than you can head on over to the following pages on community site Ravelry (no sign in required) and download the free patterns created by Sandra.

If you’ve never knitted before then just visit Beckside Yarns Facebook page where you can message Sandra directly for more information and buy fingerless gloves starter kits that have all you need to get going.

Alternatively, visit Sandra’s shop in Clapham, Yorkshire Dales and see for yourself the wide range of colours, textures and patterns.

Many thanks to Sandra for this guest blog.