Liat and Knitting for Health In The News

Knitting and its health benefits are in the news again.

Like me, many of you have experienced the benefits of knitting firsthand. Whether it helps you unwind after a long day, gives you something to look forward to completing, or has other positive impacts on your life, you know that knitting has a positive impact on your health.
Springtime Bandit by Kate Gagnon Osborn

The Craft Yarn Council (CYC) has just released an article with a ton of scientific research to back up what we already knew – knitting is healthy! And I’m extra excited about this article because I had the opportunity to be a part of it.

My History

I have written about my personal history before, but wanted to share a bit for those who may not know how knitting saved my life.

About eight years ago, I was in an eating disorder treatment center and I had forgotten how to pursue so many of the things that had once brought me joy in life. Instead of focusing on meaningful relationships, sports, and constructive projects, I spent all of my time focusing on losing weight as my way of feeling successful.

While I worked on getting better through counseling and learning healthy eating habits, I was also reintroduced to knitting. I improved on the skills I had all but forgotten and also started teaching other girls how to knit.

Knitting gave me a sense of purpose. I began to focus on something more meaningful and beautiful than losing weight and I found that I had a talent for helping others learn to knit, too!

A New Path

Knitting helped my life take a new turn. I got a job at my local yarn store where I got to spend my days immersed in a beautiful craft. I was helping people solve their knitting problems and finding myself along the way.

I love helping people learn how to knit faster and easier. Eventually, I established KnitFreedom and was able to reach even more students. Last summer, I went on a big national television tour where I was able to tell my story. Here’s the clip from one of my best segments, in Tucson, AZ:


Because of that tour and all of the media attention that surrounded it, the Craft Yarn Council became familiar with my work and interviewed me to be a part of their article on knitting and its health benefits.

The Knitting for Health Movement

The wealth of information in the CYC article is amazing. I was so glad to finally see scientific evidence supporting why knitting makes you calmer and can help you overcome addictions.

I was hoping that there would be more research on the impact of knitting on the brain. I was disappointed that there wasn’t much research available yet. However, I was encouraged to see that researchers are finally setting up studies! Hospitals are setting up knitting groups for nurses and patients to see if knitting can help them with stress and also to understand why it helps them.

When I was on tour, one of the things that I was so touched by was the number of people who wanted to share their personal story with me. People reached out to me about how knitting helped them recover from brain injuries, strokes, and other terrible tragedies.

I was told stories about people who had lost the ability to walk and who had lost their entire family in a tragic accident. They told me how this simple craft gave them a spot of light, a distraction, something beautiful to focus on amidst the chaos and pain.

I can’t wait to see more research on these benefits of knitting. I hope to continue to be a part of this amazing movement.

Knitting for the Future

two happy fingers "hugging"

I am so blessed to have been saved by knitting and I want to use what I have learned to help save others. There are places in our communities that can benefit from this craft who don’t always have access to it.

It is my goal to work with projects that will help to bring knitting behind bars, into therapy groups, and inside clinics like the one that helped me.

On a Personal Note

One of my many goals with KnitFreedom is to be able to give back and stay connected to the roots of what has brought me to where I am today. I don’t know where I would be without the people who cared enough to help me through the most difficult time in my life.

If you know someone who is struggling with an eating disorder, I would highly recommend the amazing staff at Avalon Hills Eating Disorder Clinic in Utah. No matter how difficult it might be, if someone in your life is struggling with an eating disorder or disordered eating, tell them you love them and that you think they have a problem, and that help is out there.

Thank you to the friend who did this for me. Thank you to all of you for supporting me and KnitFreedom. I am so excited about what the future holds.

I’d love to hear more stories about how knitting has helped you. It never stops amazing me to hear about how much of a positive impact this craft has on our world. Leave a comment below.

About Liat Gat - Founder

Liat is the founder and video knitting expert at KNITFreedom. If you liked this article, you'll love the tips you learn from her FREE video newsletter. Get it now by subscribing here.
This entry was posted in Knitting and Health, My Personal Journey. Bookmark the permalink.

91 Responses to Liat and Knitting for Health In The News

  1. Louise says:

    What a wake-up call.
    Liat I did not know about this. Thank you God for putting you exactly where you needed to be. I find when I’m stressed out…. my best calm down is knitting a granny dishcloth.
    Then there is no stopping me. Tube socks…no thinking just knitting.
    Thank you for coming in to my life…. in all our lives. I have to share this with friends and family. Hugs from my heart to your heart. Love, Louise

    • Marlene Fontana says:

      Liat, what a wonderful story, your presentations are so fun! Your enthusiasm is catching. I am a crossword puzzle person and a knitter and they kind of go together. The challenge is in both and that has brought order to chaos so many times in my life. Thank you for what you do!! Hugs, Marlene

  2. Your story is very inspiring. I am so glad that knitting helped you overcome something as invidious as an eating disorder, and your site is an inspiration. Thank you for it.

  3. Mary says:

    My husband and daughter were killed in a car accident 28 years ago. I threw myself into my work but also into doing creative things – sewing, knitting, crocheting, you name it. Although today I don’t sew or crochet as much as I did before knitting is still a passion and a need. I NEED to knit each day. I NEED to see something beautiful grow from my needles and yarn. I NEED to be able to surround myself as much as possible with my knitting friends and those who are interested in knitting. They see the value of this passion and they see the value in a community that grows out of this passion. Your emails and openness to this community is inspiring. Keep those needles flying!

    • Suzanne Bennett says:

      I was in a near fatal car accident 30 years ago and as such I now suffer from debilitating chronic pain. Spinning and knitting are my salvation. I agree…. I NEED to spin and I NEED to knit every day. Without this distraction I do not believe that I can survive and the added bonus of having an unlimited supply of wool socks does not hurt anyone.

    • margot says:

      Amo tejer, me distrae y relaja, además de la satisfacción de crear algo bello.
      Tu historia es un granito de arena más en la inmensa playa de los que hemos sido beneficiados con el amor al tejido. Margot.

  4. Gale says:

    You are an AWESOME teacher and it shows the love you have by sharing with us ‘newbies’ to knitting just how much enjoyment you get ! Keep up the wonderful job you started paying it forward – but never forget to pamper yourself with a big ball of yarn, needles and a comfy chair and just knit !!

  5. Jo Doig says:

    What an inspiring story.

    Mazel Tov!

  6. Angela McCafferty says:

    I found that concentrating on knitting helped me when my mother died and when we had to put our beloved dog to sleep when she developed cancer. I would never have coped wthout it.

  7. Janice Weselowski says:

    I so love Liat knitting tutortorials!!!!! You slow down and show us exactly how to do things and you do not talk too much. I’ve tried other sights and videos and they just talk too much.
    I started knitting at age 9 with Nana but over the years life got busy and hectic for 20 yrs.. Then at 49 I quit my graveyard job ,my 2 boys grew up left home and I decided to adopt 3 siblings ages 8 mths. ,6 yrs & 9 yrs. old. Well every day was more hectic due to me being older raising babies again!!! I needed something for just “me” that would allow me to be home with my new kids. So I went online and tried lots of websites trying to find various patterns and instructions. I found Liat. So I sat right down and started knitting afaghans for the children ,then sweaters., then toeup socks ,hats, mitts ,& scarves. What a relaxing 6 years I’ve had!! These children only had the clothes they were wearing so all the knitting I have done for them not only has helped me with stressful days but has brought great big smiles on these 3 kids faces!! Then I thought “I can do more” So 3 years ago I phoned Mental Health Association in PG , BC my hometown to see if I could knit some items for their clients for Christmas. They said they’d be thrilled to receive such things. I am so happy. Since 2010 I have knitted at least 1 item for each of their 170 clients each year. I had a heart attack in Nov. 2010 and my dr. said slow down ,relax so I focused more on knitting than I did on housework LOL .I go to Liat for ideas for each year and get to work. I’m constantly watching her videos. I cannot thank-you enough for slowing me down and giving me “me” time. Yes you saved my life because you gave me ideas and things to knit. Knitting is so relaxing I can sit for hours and just knit. Thank-you.

  8. WandaMG says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. You are a wonderful teacher and I have learned a lot from your videos.

  9. Mariemay says:

    Liat, thank you for your openness. You are an inspiration. One of my wishes for a number of years, has been to teach women in battered centers how to knit. They could knit and sell their work therefore create some income, or knit for their children or themselves. After many years of contacting various organizations, I have been unsuccessful. I don’t give up easily, one day I will succeed!
    Lots of love, Mariemay

  10. Terri Williams says:

    Thank you so much for your inspiring work to help others! Knitting is a perfect calmer. I’m not sure if it’s the knitting or the knitting group we started that is the perfect solution for decreasing stress. When we get together twice a month, sometimes there is more talking than knitting! You are doing a wonderful job!

  11. Lapsang1 says:

    Psalm 139:13
    New International Version (NIV)
    13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

    Even The Lord loves knitting. We were made by a loving creator in his image, so we in turn, love to use our hands to create things.
    Liat, you are an inspiration! Thank you for sharing the knitting good news! Xxx

    • Carole says:

      I just think you are the nicest most generous helpful person out their. Thank u for sharing and your honesty. I love the way u teach. And i love your E books. Stay with us forever. We need u.

  12. Amy says:

    Liat, thank you so much for sharing. Many of us feel (even without an official diagnosis of anything!) that our knitting or other crafting is what keeps us sane. I know that some of my most treasured possessions are things my beloved grandmother crocheted or tatted. Now that she is gone, it is all that I have of her. It is so meaningful to make things for my family that may be treasured as all that is left of me someday. Your coaching and guiding are helping so many of us create hints of beauty, uniqueness and love. Keep up the great work! Amy

  13. Mary C says:

    I’m going through a pretty big struggle right now. I’m quite overweight. I was fired yesterday (long bizarre story, but it came down to a whistleblower type scenario). You’ve inspired me to try something–try knitting for 15 minutes before I put that cookie or other sweet in my mouth.

    Hugs!

  14. Grammylou says:

    Love your videos. Saw your site on Knitter’s Paradise and with your help I am now knitting socks toe up which was one of my goals for 2014. Thanks so much. My next goal is to knit continental. I am sure I will do this with your help.

  15. katherine a smith says:

    Please dont forget that knitting and crocheting is great for pain management too. As your knitting or crocheting the brain releases the good endorphins…the feel good type…then your pain levels arent so bad. Much better than meds I would say. God bless …keep doing what your doing girl. :)

  16. Christine says:

    The summer of 2009 found me trying to come up with easy Christmas gifts for everyone on my list. You see, my husband and I were expecting to be traveling to China to adopt our 1st child ( a beautiful little girl). I knew I wouldn’t have much time to do stuff for Christmas. I asked a friend of mine to teach me how to knit. (I had watched her knit dishcloths for several wedding gifts. She was in college and funds were tight, but she could make beautiful personalized dishcloths to go with their kitchen colors.) She taught me, and the funniest thing happened. It reminded me of all the times my grandmother had tried to teach me. I could even hear her fussing at me for my stitches being to tight. (She had passed away around that time.) I remember working on one of the 100+ dishcloths I made that summer and hearing her remind me to loosen my stitches. Not only did I make dishcloths for everyone on my list, but we were expected to have gifts for the different Chinese officials that we would be dealing while we were in China for the adoption. Since red is a “lucky” color in Chinese culture, each official and guide got a set of 4 knitted red dishcloths as a thank you. What a wonderful memory that is of our first trip to China and our daughters adoption!!

  17. Jan says:

    You are one awesome lady! I very much enjoy videos and have learned a lot. You do it slow enough so that I can understand it.

  18. Helen says:

    Didn’t know your history. Thank you for sharing. I know god will bless you and your efforts! I so look forward to your emails and though I have knitted for over 50 years I have learned so much from you. Thank God you re-found knitting. You are beautiful inside and out. You go girl!

  19. Nina Pratt says:

    Thanks for sharing your stories, everyone.

    Knitting is sometimes the only thing that keeps me going. When anxiety clouds the brain, mindless knitting comes to the rescue. I always have a pair of simple socks (I could knit them in my sleep) on the needles for days like this.

    On good days, I try something challenging, like lace or a sweater. I still can’t keep track of # of rows and stitches or even simple patterns without festooning my work with stitch markers–but if it works, who cares?

    Tip: buy little cardboard tags on strings (Staples), and you can write whatever prompts to memory you need on them as you use them for stitch/row markers. Clip them off and throw away when done.

    I’m curious about how some of the studies were/are designed. The one about the oncology nurses for instance: was there any control where non-knitting nurses were given the same personal attention and time by non-knitting mentors that the knitting nurses got? For me, knitting is both a solitary, meditative act as well as a social act. Which part gives what benefits? I don’t know, but would be interested to find out.

  20. Nadine Russell says:

    Thank you for sharing your inspiring story and all the great knitting tips.
    I have knitted for over 50 years but the the last 4 years have been much more meaningful. I am 4 years into recovery from throat cancer and have many side effects from the chemo/radiation, including the necessity of a feeding tube and a trach. Don’t always have a lot of energy and there are things I can’t do, but knitting has given me a creative and productive outlet. It it so rewarding to knit nice things for myself and gifts for others. If it didn’t save my life it at least saved my sanity!

  21. LW says:

    Knitting and crocheting helps me cope with PTSD/Anxiety/stress. Also, helps me with food addiction…

  22. Becky says:

    We lost our son on 1-13-14 to suicide. Knitting has helped me get through this difficult time. I can keep myself busy trying new projects. We are expecting our first grandchild in July and it has brought me comfort to knit hats, booties, mittens, washcloths, bibs, and afghans for the baby and showing the knitted items to other family members. I am so thankful for knitting and helping me through the grief process.

  23. Alexis Mayo says:

    Liat, you helped me find the yarn district in Buenos Aires. I am here serving a mission for my church and was having problems finding yarn. So I googled ” Yarn in Buenos Aires” and found your blogs about when you were here. I have so enjoyed your website and stories. And your videos have helped me and others. They don´t have to understand English to following your tips in your videos!

    I love the fact that all the yarn shops are together in a two block area here. I can find whatever I want in a short bus ride and walk!

    I love to knit and crochet. Down here I have been making baby hats and blankets for a Maternity Hospital that has a lot of poor new mothers. This gives them something nice and new to take their babies home. That is the greatest thing for me to give some love with my knitting. Even if I don´t know the recipients I feel like the love goes with my knitting. It helps me a lot when I am missing my kids and grandkids to be able to knit for somebody´s kids!

    Keep doing what you do so well. Your enthusiasm is contagious! ¡Hasta Luego!

  24. Joan Trautwein says:

    Knitting is my way to relax and it helps to lower my blood pressure, especially when visiting a doctor’s office. Knitting and gift giving are what keeps me happy without pills. It helps you to diet because you can’t eat chocolate when both hands are busy–it stops me every time. Besides it kind of messy. I’ve written it before, but saying it again, you are a very special woman to share so much, and you help so many. Thank you.

  25. Cheryl Shelton says:

    Liat, you are such a blessing. Thank you for sharing your personal story. I thoroughly enjoy receiving your newsletter. You have so many helpful tips and your instructions are so easy to understand. I pray that God will continue to bless you. Keep smiling that beautiful smile of yours!

  26. Christine says:

    Dear Liat
    Thank you so much for sharing with regards to how much you have benefitted health wise from knitting. I find that knitting relaxes me, so much so, that sometimes I fall asleep while knitting and that is a wonderful thing for me!

    Thank you once again Liat, for all that you do to help others.

    Hugs,
    Christine

  27. Laurie Griesman says:

    Wonderful story-so glad another has come out of the darkness (I got myself off drugs and have never looked back). I love your teaching style and your personality is so great. Thank you so much for all the wonderful videos 8D

  28. KnittingKittens says:

    How inspiring you are! I did not know that knitting saved you- all I knew was you are a very smart helpful lady! Thanks for sharing your story -I know you have helped at least one someone today!

  29. Diane Massad says:

    Lisa:
    How powerful the videos are on your webiste. As you unfolded your pathways, and the CYC video unraveled -or- knitted into a form the ways many professional utilized their talents, I clarified how my own teaching can be more fruitful by incorporating knitting as a modality: route to calm and clever and creativity!

    Thank-you for ALL your vital actions!!

  30. Zahn says:

    Shalom, I am new to this site. Thank you for your email. You sound likea very special person.
    My grandmother taught me to crochet when i was a child and I have been crocheting ever since. I taught myself to knit and although I crochet more, I still knit sweaters, blankets, hats and scarves for my grandchildren. I love doing it. Have made blankets for maternity wards a few times and loved it. It is always good to give.
    I will be sure to go on your site soon to see all your ‘lovelies’.

  31. Elizabeth P says:

    Knitting has brought healing to my life in several ways. I have a handful of neurological disorders that impact my life, leaving me with chronic pain, headaches and some cognitive disabilities. Knitting, with its rhythm and flow helps order my chaotic brain. It is my way of working out puzzles. It is a way that I can still be involved with creating fine, beautiful garments that I can no longer do at the sewing machine. (I used to design and make wedding gowns before my illnesses). The colors and marvelous fibers are uplifting to my spirit, healing the wounds of depression from the passing of my dear parents, the stress of the change of my life. Knitting is a way to give back. Prayer shawls, gifts of sweaters, shawls, mittens. Knitting design has opened and challenged my brain to a whole new world of possibilities. My creative career is far from over. That I can knit has shown me that there are still other things that I can do as well. Knitting has caused me to meet the most amazing women I will ever meet. The most generous, soulful and giving women there are in the world. Women with a cause to action, the willingness to give of themselves, share their craft and share their love with others in need. Knitting is an art and craft that saves in many ways.

  32. Lynn says:

    Hi Liat,

    You are so brave for sharing that story. Most folks would keep that in a closet but you are using your story to help women with more than just knitting. I am very proud of you!

    I love getting your messages and will continue to participate in activities you offer.

    With warm regards and hugs.
    Lynn

  33. Beverly Fox says:

    I wish knitting could save my life. I LOVE knitting but it seems that knitting doesn’t love me. A few years ago I rediscovered knitting but it seems that knitting has given me a sore neck/shoulders and possibly tennis elbow. I’m guessing my posture is at fault and I might be gripping my needles instead of relaxing into it. Does anyone have a solution?

    • Vanessa says:

      Hi, Beverly,

      Liat has a great post (http://knitfreedom.com/being-a-knitter/top-5-stretches-for-knitting-pain-relief) about pain relief techniques for knitters.

      I’ve done a lot of reading in the last few years about some kinds of pain that I experience and found that I can release my own trigger points (irritable spots in the muscle that knot up) and relieve tension and pain from tennis elbow and headaches.

      Also, frequent breaks to move really help prevent a lot of this.

      Best luck!

    • Elizabeth P says:

      I find that Liat’s exercises are a big help too. Also, supporting my neck with a memory foam travel pillow helps a lot too. And there are times, like this evening, I had both arms propped up to so that my shoulders were more relaxed. I have found that Kollage and Knitters Pride square needles have helped my knitting with smaller needles immensely! They actually knit a tighter stitch, so if your hands are having problems with getting gauge with a small needle without gripping the life out of it, the square needles are a life saver! I thought I would never be able to knit socks because my knitting on “normal” size 2’s was just awful. I switched to square needles and now my stitches are perfect. I am able to bless my hubs with a pair of socks every now and then, which he really loves. (And he takes excellent care of them too.) It is important to stretch your fingers as well as do gentle neck stretching exercises too. Knitting will love you back if you remember to love yourself too!

  34. Susah Chern says:

    My mother taught me to knit when I was very young. She and my maternal grandmother were very experienced knitters and were always making something. Over the years I knit off and on but took it up more seriously about ten years ago.

    I like challenges so I tend toward techniques like modular knitting that, I feel, keep me concentrating not to mention the advantages of keeping my hands moving.

    I am also a migraine sufferervand have found that sitting down to knit after taking my medication during an event has helped decrease, if not, expunge my pain.

    In September of 2013 I retired and was able to revive my creative side (knitting, pastel painting and mosaics) in earnest. I hope to continue this journey for many years to come.

    You mentioned working in a volunteer capacity. This interests me. I already volunteer in a program called Art Goes To School in the Philadelphia area where I reside. I have researched knitting volunteerism with no luck. Do you have any suggestions or plans regarding this endeavor? I would say that my skill level is intermediate plus.

    I commend you on on your recovery and commitment to helping others embrace knitting. Your videos have helped me, in particular, with the development of a more relaxed, less “type A” knitting personality.

  35. Karen says:

    Wow! I’ve been following you but didn’t know about the other stuff until I saw your email and videos today. I’m 46 and have struggled with an eating disorder since I was 12. It’s been a long time. Recently my nephew Leo, who is a body builder, taught me how to knit. He’s struggled with alcohol over the years and has told me that it is knitting that has kept him sober. He’s big, strong, has a lot of muscles but knits the most beautiful detailed intricate pieces of work I haver ever seen. He’s my hero! I live in slc, Utah and go to Blazing Needles. Cynthia, the owner, is beautiful and amazing! Check it out if you get a chance. Thank you so very much!-Karen

  36. Terry says:

    Knitting helped me thru breaking a 50 year smoking habit. It kept my hands and my mind occupied and brought me peace.

  37. Linda M. says:

    Your story is inspiring and I am sure telling it has given many hope. I can’t tell you how glad I am that I had knitting to help me focus when I lost my 25 year old son. It gave my mind a rest from the grief and turmoil. That was 16 years ago. I am 64, and have been knitting almost all of my life. I recently self-published two children’s books and have written some patterns. It is true what ‘they’ say, ‘What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger’. Knitting had a big hand in that.

  38. Sheila says:

    You are an inspiration and a wonderful teacher. Thank you for sharing your story and your knowledge with us. I’ve had an auto-immune disease since the 1990’s and in March of 2013, I spent 5 days in the hospital after collapsing and being diagnosed with DVT’s–the largest one goes from mid-abdomen to my ankle. Knitting takes my mind off all the “what ifs” and “could have beens”. I am blessed and so grateful to still be here with my family doing the things I love. Thank you for helping me become a better knitter!! Your videos have been a great help to me especially when I can’t get out of the house. Thanks again and take care!!

  39. Louise Harrington says:

    Thanks for sharing. I’m always touting the benefits of handwork to my own-married- children and grandchildren. I’ve taught most of my granddaughters how to knit and crochet. I know that even though they don’t actively participate now, someday they might take it up again. You never know when you will need to be redirected to producing something comforting and fulfill a need at the same time.

    Thank you for reminding me, once again, how satisfying handwork is and how awesome you are for sharing your incredible talents and experiences with all of us:)

  40. Emma says:

    Liat, you continue to inspire me and helped me learn to knit. I knit a pair of lovely socks with you guiding me the entire way. I have made scarves, caps and afghans, but have yet to make a sweater that fits the way it should, which can be discouraging but I refuse to give up. I may unravel and try again when I can bear to look at them. :) I see a book in all these storiess you’re collecting. I might add that the meditative aspect of knitting is so calming for me when I get anxious. Thank you and hugs!

  41. Lee Ann says:

    Thank you for your story and for the references.

    I started knitting just over a year ago…..January 21, 2013…..I didn’t realize until I looked back a few months later, that I’d gravitated to knitting to cope with my brother’s suicide in December 2012.

    I have found a skillful passion I didn’t know I had. I call my work Knit-to-heal. It has helped me from head-to-heart.

  42. Ellie Wilkinson says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. Mazel tov on your recovery from such a serious illness. I am well aware of the benefits of knitting as it has helped me recover from several devastating attacks of MS, including paralysis and subsequent weakening of my left side (and of course I am left-handed and knit southpaw style.) It has strengthened my left side and still helps with MS caused tremors in both hands. And that is in addition to to relaxing meditative effects of knitting on even a healthy brain. It is my therapy of choice and I knew it had all these calming and restorative uses long before scientists verified my anecdotal experiences.

  43. Brian M says:

    Thank you, Liat, for your passion, and for sharing your story. I, too, have been blessed by knitting. Nothing compared to what many others have posted here, but knitting did help me break out of my very small cocoon and develop relationships with some of the most amazing people. I was at a point in life where I had no idea where I was going or what I was doing, and I had become very reclusive. My life changed when a LYS opened just blocks from the house. I now count among my closest friends many of the people I met there.

  44. I used to wait tables. I loved it. After doing all kinds of jobs – professional actor, printing press operator, security officer… I found waiting tables in a restaurant that shared my values for great product and great service to give me everything I wanted in a job; Interaction with lots of people, quick paced work, and seeing the effect that giving great service has on my customers was very rewarding. I developed RSI when I was about to have my first child, and when I took up crochet while I was a stay-at-home mom, I sometimes overdid it and made it worse. The short story is that now, 13 years later, my RSI prevents me from going back to waiting tables. But when I turned my hand to knitting, I found the different kind of movement to be not only soothing, but I could craft for longer with fewer breaks. When I decided to return to the work force, my yarn crafting skills and knowledge led me to a job in a fibre arts store where I now work part time in a bright, friendly and creative environment, around other passionate crafters. I teach knitting and crochet and am loving my whole life every bit as much as I did as a stay-at-home mom. :D And… I always recommend Liat’s videos and books to my students who want more self-directed study at home.

  45. Sue says:

    I was in a great big dark world with clinical depression. I want to classes in a mental health division of a hospital. One of the suggestions was to pick up a hobby. Knitting was my choice as I’d done it when I was a young adult. So I got back into it.

    It has helped me immensely. I know that when I don’t want to knit, that depression has me. I suffer from fibromyalgia and it also helps me to focus on something other than the pain.

    Reminds me :) I need to get back to my knitting!

    Thank you for all that you do, Liat.

  46. Nasty Habit says:

    Oh, I watched the video and I am amazed. I didn’t know about your history, I only knew that you are a wonderful knitter, teacher and writer. Your instructions (I look you up when I get in a snit and need help with my knitting) are so well done and well explained that I have no problem getting back on track.

    I am 72 years old. I learned to knit as a young teenager and worked this craft for about 15 years, when I got sidetracked for many years by counted cross stitch. Then, at age 60, my eyesight began to fail (I’m not blind, but I can no longer do counted cross stitch). As you said on your video, I needed to do something creative. I dug out my sticks and yarn and it was as if I had come home again. In the last 12 years (I know, you’ve not been around that long, but close), with your help, I’ve gone so far beyond making scarves, using simple stitches, to making what my friends refer to as “stunning” finished pieces using much more complicated techniques.

    Thank you for all your help. Your enthusiasm and energy are contagious and I need that. Don’t stop what you’re doing, ’cause for the next 28 years I know I’m going to need a lot more of your help.

  47. c says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I have a happy knitting story too. Before retiring I had what I thought was a controlled depression/anxiety problem. After retiring a had a reoccurance of this old foe. I found recovery by forcing myself to join a just forming knit group that met once a month; which quickly grew into once a week; and then I added teaching at the local library. Not only has knitting helped me with my depression and anxiety but it has enabled me to lower my blood pressure medication by half. It is truly my zen! Not only does knitting help stabilize my moods, but the friends I met almost 8 years ago are still going strong and are a strong stabilizing factor in my life….and will be for the rest of my life.

  48. Kathy Riley says:

    We lost our 16 year old son to suicide on 4/20/2013. For the longest time I wrote things down to keep myself from going to deep into the grief. Early on I picked up the knitting needles again, which I had not picked up for many, many years. Once again I remembered why I once had loved it so much! Knitting helped me, it was a God send to me. IT WAS MY THERAPY! I made it that way. I concentrated on that and I did not dwell so much in the pain. I have honestly knitted so many scarves and dish cloths and wash rags that I cannot begin to count. But it got me through the first year, so I imagine it will get me through a few more. Thank you for passing along what you know about knitting! Bravo! It has saved my life, truly!

  49. Janet Faught says:

    Hi Liat! I am pretty sure I took a class from you at Blazing Needles in Salt Lake City, which I LOVED. I think it was learning continental style. I just wanted to say that I really love your tutorials and your wonderful way of teaching. You make everything so clear. Thank you so much for being there!
    Janet

  50. Eliza says:

    Five years ago I lost the use of my right arm due to an infection. Physical therapy included teaching myself to knit left-handed. (I had never had any desire to knit before this.) To date I have knit over 90 prayer shawls for people in 10 states and 5 foreign countries. Needless to say, I have found a new addiction: knitting. It has given me purpose and something to focus on away from personal problems. I identified with much of what was said in your post. Thank you for sharing

  51. Nicole says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! Knitting has taken me through a lot of difficult times as well. I’ve dealt with severe clinical depression for over twenty years, and four years ago, I lost all hope. I couldn’t find pleasure in anything, and was filled with pain. I had completely given up on life. My family took me to the hospital, where I spent nine days in the psych ward. It was an intensely difficult time as I tried to find my way out of the darkness. But each day, we had arts and crafts therapy. The first few days, it was all I could do to even join the rest of the group, but eventually I was willing to try. I had been knitting and crocheting for about five years, but had given it up along with everything else, since I had lost all enjoyment and sense of accomplishment from it. They had a few crochet hooks and some cheap red acrylic yarn, so I started to make simple hats. I gave them to other patients who were struggling. That little thing gave me something to work toward. It gave me comfort. It made me feel good to see others appreciate what I was doing. When I went home, I kept at it, and held on to my yarn like a lifeline. It went everywhere with me, and gave me something to focus on while I recovered. I still struggle sometimes even with on-going medication and therapy, but I find that when I am feeling down, if I pick up my project and work on it even a little, I can sort through the stuff my head more easily.

  52. Mary Cunningham says:

    Apart from losing loved parents, I have had a happy life BUT I was born with a defect in my legs, which meant that I couldn’t straighten them, and my knees used to dislocate at the slightest provocation. This resulted in swollen knees and lots of pain. My father used to do the hot and cold packs because it used to upset my mother to see me in so much pain. My parents were taking me to the hospital for three years without any of the Australian doctors knowing how to fix the problem. I was an active happy child, but the episodes of dislocation were frequent. Long story short, my parents were invited to bring me along to an international doctors conference in Sydney (where we lived) in 1967. It was a British surgeon who knew how to fix it, as he had performed the surgery on one other child. I was in hospital for six months, and had to learn how to walk all over again. I still remember the face of the nurse who took me in to the operating room, AND TAUGHT ME HOW TO KNIT to pass the time between healing and physio.
    The surgery was only successful on one knee because the British surgeon performed the first surgery, then had to return to England. An Australian surgeon did the other knee. I had the dislocation problem all my life. Carried three babies in constant fear that my knee would go on me. At age 53 I had a total knee replacement on that knee, (had to give up nursing) and it has changed my life. Again as part of my healing I knitted to help pass the time, and take my mind off worrying about if this surgery would fix my problem. It did, and I no longer come out in a cold sweat if I happen to step in to a hole. I have spent my life looking down at my feet just to avoid them. Glad you got sorted out too. I went through adolescence with two huge scars on my knees, with people constantly staring and pointing. My friend used to tell them I was bitten by a shark, which would make them stare harder trying to work out how the teeth marks got to be where they were. The suture lines was shaped like this )( which is the opposite of a bite
    mark. I wish teenagers weren’t so hard on each other, it would save a lot of heartache.

  53. Tina says:

    Stephanie Pearl-McPhee has done some
    research on what knitting does to the brain.

  54. Jill Beach says:

    Thanks for sharing your inspirational story.
    I learned to knit a little late in life(60 yrs) and knitting is a calming activity for me.
    You are also a great teacher, I love your videos, and your are credited with my successes.

  55. Cheryl R says:

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    I am recovering from a serious traumatic brain injury as a result of being hit by a large van while a pedestrian in a cross walk. I have permanent brain damage. I have difficulty reading and even more problems writing. Knitting provides more than just comfort, a relief from stress, it increases my feeling of still being a useful member of society. It was the catalyst to tranquillity when I was declared permanently disabled, a concept that was far too negative. I am retired with loads of hours to sit and knit.

    The manner in which you present your lessons, the quality of your videos has enabled me to learn, to improve my skill as a knitter…something I thought would never happen again.

    Thank you again for what you do so well.

  56. Toni says:

    Kudos to you! I didn’t know about the clinic – just about your tutorials and your fun facts via email as well as your TV appearances. I find them to be a great help. Keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing more from you. I purchased the cast ons and cast offs and am constantly referring to them.

  57. Leslie says:

    Thank you so much Liat, for sharing your inspiring story. We’re all grateful that someone cared enough to help you and look what you’ve accomplished! We ‘re all recovering from something – so many tragic, stressful and unfortunate events, and knitting seems to be the catalyst that pulls us through the dark times to a meaningful life. I was injured in an accident a few years ago that resulted in crippled, disfigured hands (from so many broken bones) and some memory loss. As I healed, arthritis started in all the broken joints resulting in chronic pain in my back, hips and hands. I couldn’t write let alone knit, but I just kept trying. I knew how to knit but couldn’t hold a knitting needle (thank heaven for circs!) and after several hundred dishcloths….. Today I knit intricate lace shawls and fair isle color work (both with LOTS of stitch markers or I forget where I am). I have to knit or my hand freezes up so it’s both therapeutic and relaxing. I also find that I don’t need pain medication very often anymore. Somehow just handling yarn calms me. Is it the colors, texture, smell?
    BTW, you might be interested in ‘cognitiveanchoring.com’. It’s all about this very topic of knitting and it’s wonderful “side effects”.
    Thank you again for your wonderful videos and delightfully infectious happy attitude!

  58. Betsy Mickey says:

    Liat,
    It is hard to believe that you have gone through such troubles. You are so self-assured and organized in your presentations and so clear in your thinking! I am grieved that you had to go through your problem, but very thankful that it brought you to a place of great benefit to others. May you continue to find your strength and your center. And let me in on your discoveries
    Betsy

  59. Val Swisher says:

    Thank you for sharing your story, Liat. Years ago one if my children suffered in the same way. I am so glad you rediscovered knitting and yourself. Hugs.

  60. karen says:

    When my daughter was 15, she was admitted (by me) to a Private, For-Profit, Mental Health Facility. Even though she was furious with me putting her in the hospital, I knew she needed help.

    Although she refused to see me frequently, she did allow me to teach her how to crochet. And that helped her start to find her way to crafting her stress, rather than focusing on not eating and trying to control the uncontrollable. In crocheting, she could control the outcome of her designs. I think it may have helped her.

    I know it helped me. And still does. Whenever I am overstressed, overwhelmed, or facing a significant loss in my life, I have always picked up a new craft to release some of the strain. I have gone through oil painting, crocheting, knitting, jewelry making, writing short stories and whatever I will seek the next time I need help.

    Thank you for sharing. It brings up some painful but important memories.

    karen

  61. Linda Lind says:

    I have severe bi-polar disorder and although I have tried and been on many medications it is very seldom under control. During a rough time my knitting is my saving grace. It helps me to feel better about myself because I can see I have accomplished something(even if it is only a few rows.) I have been knitting since I was eight, I learned to knit in order to earn a badge in Brownies. As an accomplished knitter I can lose myself in this pastime and am very surprised sometimes at how quickly time passes. I can feel a sense of peace come over me after just a few minutes of knitting.I always have knitting with me and always take it into hospital when I need to be there. Sometimes it is something as simple as a mitt but it is my go to project in bad times as well as good.

  62. Lynn Herrmann says:

    Dear Liat – diagnosed with lung cancer 3 yrs ago.knitting has been a godsend. This week I was diagnosed wiyh Lukemia – hopefully knitting and prayer will get me along,7

  63. Dorothy Pompey says:

    HI, everything is so helpful, but I would like to know how to get the pattern to the shawl that is showing.

  64. Sally Bode says:

    Menopause had hit me like a ton of bricks, ferocious ringing in the ears, arthritis in my fingers and back and my memory was slipping. I had always had a very sharp mind, interested in everything. Somehow I thought knitting would help me. I was an English knitter and had done some Continental in Fair Isle knitting but never had mastered the purl stitch. So I started practicing and would knit in one method for as long as I could without pain and then switch. This worked, started making scarves and hats for everyone. Then I graduated up to Entrelac. By now I had learned to knit backwards in both knitting styles and also had learned Combined.

    When I started this, I was having problems with reading patterns, figuring out even how to add up a column of figures. By the end of the Entrelac phase, I could do all of that easily again.

    I also got more interested in my diet and went vegan then slipped back, now I am back to it as along with the knitting, it makes my other joints feel better and I think my mind likes the change of eating habits too. I am sleeping better and can concentrate longer at a time and find life more joyful and less frustrating.

    When my son asked his girl friend to get married, I thought it was lovely thing to knit her a lace shawl for her wedding. Only to find out that she doesn’t like knitted things, but so many other people do. Well it hurt for a while. but decided to tackle it in another type of yarn, altering the pattern once again. If she doesn’t like it, I will give the shawl to my other daughter-in-law or someone in my church. They all love what I do.

    In the meanwhile, I am under a cancer watch as before I started all the knitting and going vegan, I was also getting many lumps under my left arm. Since my mother and sister died of breast cancer starting from lumps under the arm, my doctor and I had to take it seriously. But with going vegan, it alkalizes the body and cancer can’t live in an alkaline environment. So the lumps are gone.

    When I went to see my doctor the last time to get a flu shot, he remembered about my arthritis, particularly the trouble with my fingers as I was getting enlarged knuckles like my mother had had. He was amazed, there was no sign anymore of arthritis. So then he went on to ask about my other joints, they are all better. I had stopped drinking milk and this alone was the start of going vegan as I felt so much better.

    When you have cancer like a death sentence over your head, the changes I was making, even though they were small to me, made me feel that I could still live and fight back against this illness.

    My father had died of Alzheimer’s disease and had watched the same thing happen to my grandmother. Yes I am very depleted on estrogen, more than many women, however, eating soy which has photo estrogens helped my mind and along with the therapy of knitting for my hands, has made a terrific improvement in my mind. I am still a little forgetful, but I am remembering many things very quickly again whereas I was always making a loop back home to be sure I closed the garage door.

    I am feeling so much better.

    I’ve chatted with another knitting teacher who says that knitting in schools is common in Europe. The European children’s test scores are higher than American children until they become knitters so there is scientific proof that knitting isn’t wasted time.

    And the social aspect of knitting cannot be overlooked. Sharing with others how to knit or talking about patterns is just heartwarming. We cannot give up that one on one that we as human beings have had and which nourished our souls.

    Thank you so much for your videos. God bless you, Liat.

    Sally Bode

  65. Kay says:

    I am looking forward to reading all the comments and learning other experiences. I am not sure if anyone mentioned “Stitchlinks” in Britain. They are doing all kinds of work on therapeutic knitting and may have some of the research on the brain you mentioned. The website is Stitchlinks.com. I do know they did a survey of patients in pain clinics that they published. I am pursuing a degree in health advocacy and would love to incorporate knitting into my work.

    You are an amazing teacher, Liat. I truly appreciate your sharing your full story.

  66. Nida Messick says:

    Liat, I absolutely agree with you. Knitting kept me away from a psychiatrist when my husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2004. I needed something in my hands for those long trips to Omaha and the hours that stretched out in treatment rooms and waiting rooms. So I learned to knit. Cancer turned my life and living upside down and created uncertainty. Knitting, however, provided stability: When I put 10 stitches on my needle, they were there waiting for me when I turned to knit back. (I was such a beginner that I didn’t know about dropped stitches!!!) Knitting was my therapy!! Cheaper than a psychiatrist and you end up with a scarf!

  67. Sharon says:

    Knitting a rather complicated lace-design christening bonnet saved my sanity when my husband’s worsening dementia separated us and sent him to hospital with a fall that led to a stroke that paralyzed his left side. He is in a nursing home now and when I visit him I usually take a small knitting project to work on while we listen to music.

  68. Pingback: “Knitting is cheaper than therapy!”

  69. Natalie Ford says:

    I have also blogged this on my knitting blog: http://www.natalieford.com/?p=1085

  70. Kathleen Hill says:

    Foolishly, our cultures believe that health equates to pharmaceuticals and value equates to $s. Am sending this vid to my daughter and granddaughter who I have been unsuccessful at getting them to take up knitting. Also sending the vid to my sister-in-law who doesn’t understand the creative freedom in crafting – because you superbly explain the holistic value better than any psychologist. Shine ON* Katie

  71. Aine says:

    I took up knitting when I had post natal depression, and everyone laughs when I say how much it helped me, but it really did, a LOT.

  72. Jane Kelly says:

    This is such an inspiring story, Liat. You really transformed your life with knitting! My story isn’t as dramatic, but knitting has been a huge help to me. Two years ago, we suddenly lost our youngest son (age 40) to an undiscovered heart problem. After it happened, I couldn’t think clearly at all, and my grief was overwhelming. My memory was (and still is) affected by the shock, but I found I could at least knit simple dish cloths. Knitting was soothing, and helped keep my mind occupied when I really needed to think about something other than our loss. My memory still suffers, but now I’m knitting (slightly!) more complicated things than Grandma’s dish cloths. I think knitting was a gift to me from the Universe, and I’m so grateful to have it!

  73. Claudia Cioni says:

    Your story is very inspiring. I got burned out with by job (mental health counseling) and knitting is what is bringing me to balance again. Interesting enough, I am developing arthritis and kniting also helps with my stiffness. Besides there the joy of giving a handmade present! Thanks for sharing.

  74. Joy Dancey says:

    I have followed your website for a number of years. Even as I came out of abuse,
    mutable Heath Issues, I knit. My Doctors are using my knitting in my recovery
    therapy. My knitting always brings other people to me especially when I rip out a
    fairly large chunk because I’ve thought of a better idea. It hurts me to hear other
    women say they can’t knit because their hands hurt or they never learned to
    knit and now it’s too late because of the
    Knitting, crochet, & sewing should have never been taken out of the school. It helps
    with everything including Learning Disabilities .
    Keep up the good work! You have helped many,many people,

    Joy

  75. Dianne says:

    We adopted a child from overseas with lots of emotional baggage. I homeschooled him along with my other two children. Many days were extremely exhausting. I took up knitting again as a way to keep my mind interested in something besides children’s behavior, to keep my hands busy (and not smacking a kid), and to be occupied so that the kids all learned to work through their problems and not get mommy to do their work for them. I knit now to send clothing to kids still existing in orphanages in his home country through Mittens for Akkol on Ravelry.

  76. VJ says:

    You are beautiful, helpful, winsome, and an utter delight! Thanks for your teaching. Knitting is helping me heal from PTSD.

  77. Susan says:

    Thank you for sharing, Liat. I have been blessed with a healthy life but went through some emotional ups and downs in the past. Knitting always reduces my stress at the end of a long, day. But what I am most thankful for are the friends I have found through knitting. They are the kindest, most caring and giving people. I am teaching my grand daughters to knit and hope they will be able to reap the benefits of knitting.

  78. I’m an owner of a yarn store in Columbus, Ohio. I wanted to own a yarn store before I even knew how to knit, but once I took up knitting I haven’t been able to put it down. My favorite part of needle art is the community building that goes on during classes and sit & stitch opportunities offered every day of the week. We try to provide a peaceful environment where people of all ages and stages can gather and get “open coaching and encouragement” in order to finish their projects and gain the satisfaction from completing a project. Thank you for sharing your story with so many people in order for them to see the value in fiber art. I would love to be able to sell your book at KnitKnacks Entwined and would be open to hosting a book signing in the shopping center where the store is located. You have an amazing story that inspires people to try something knew and maintain a positive attitude that they can apply to every aspect of their life. I will definitely be sharing your information with my customers.
    Thanks for sharing your life with us, Karen Dendiu

  79. Candy Schroeder says:

    This is a great story. Back in 1980 knitting helped me quit smoking. I decided to do quit cold-turkey while my husband was still smoking around me. I would pick up my knitting, especially while talking on the telephone, when I wanted a cigarette. I knit anytime I can.

  80. Patty Clark says:

    Wow. I read all the comments. You have brought us all together much like going to a knit group and sharing. I now go to a crafty ladies group once a week and it has really helped me to slowly get my life in order. They see I need help and gently coach and encourage me. We share a simple lunch and ideas. My dear Mom passed and I am in a new home, new car, new city and overwhelming things to complete. My small community has been there for me too. My church group has been the best and it is no longer about me, it is about helping others and sharing what works or how to start. I realized how far I have come and how much help has been there for me by reading all the comments above. My goal is to meet with others and start them knitting or crafting or just be there for them towards a better life. You are an inspiration and teaching us to pay it forward. I am so grateful. Patty

  81. Kim From Canada's Capital says:

    I just wanted to say how knitting is currently helping me in my recovery. I am now 6 months clean and sober. In the first couple weeks of treatment I picked up a couple knitting needles and a giant ball of yarn and knit garter stitches row after row. I couldn’t knit for long periods and kept messing up but I still enjoyed it.

    Now, I am so grateful and happy to be knitting once again. My brain is starting to function better every single day after so many years poison.

    I first learned from my Nana when I was a child. It has been way too long not having a hobby like knitting. I gain such happiness and pleasure and I am learning so many new tips, tricks, stitches etc. from wonderful people like you out there. Thank you!

  82. Reba says:

    Due to multiple medical issues, I’m unable to work and am for the last 18 months I’ve been in hospital more than home. A dear fried of mine showed me how to knot a fun fur scarf, but true to my form I jumped in with both feet and with the aid of pictures I started making Cable Scarves. Now video tutorials I have (not dare to say “mastered”) made several baby blankets, afghans, snuggle sacks, and hats. I love the challenge of a different style blanket ;) This car seat blanket for my friend’s grandson I used your Chinese Waitress Cast On, however, now I am unable to find the Cast Off to match;(. I want to thank you for helping me feel like I am doing something with my life. God bless you and the doors you have opened for the countless people like me.
    In His love,
    Reba

  83. Lelah Hodgson says:

    I knit my way through breast cancer while a patient in hospital for 8 weeks . I don’t know where I would have been without it

    Lelah H

  84. DR says:

    Thank you Liat for helping me breakthrough regular knitting to becoming a more diverse knitter. I am working through the sock pattern now.
    My personal aspect is I had a gambling addiction that was taking over my life. For lent I gave it up, and realized, after some setbacks, that I needed something to do that would bring me joy. I had learned to knit a year ago, but I was struck with fear at trying something more with this knitting. I was only a very basic knitter. Liat, you have brought me to a higher ground, and I will always be thankful.
    I am still fighting the addiction, so far 4 months of no gambling, and yes knitting.
    I see success in my future.

    • Liat Gat says:

      Hi there,

      Thank you so much for your comment! I am so touched that I was able to help you find something to bring you joy while you were struggling with giving up your gambling addiction. That is amazing. Thank you for letting me know that what I do has been meaningful and helpful to you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title="" rel=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>