by Fresh Fiction Senior Reviewer Debbie Wiley
My Great-Aunt Katherine shared her love for cooking, crafting, and reading with me in the form of gifts highlighting each of these hobbies of hers. I still treasure the first cookbook I ever used (with an inscription from her inside) and I have a lifelong love of reading fostered by her (as well as my mom and grandmother!). The crafting part, however, sat mainly dormant for years. She gifted me with a macramé kit I never figured out and then a knitting loom that I easily learned to make double knitted figure 8 stitch scarves. I lost interest in the scarves over the years, only finishing a handful, until several years ago when my interest was reignited… and a love of loom knitting sprang to life!
Loom knitting is my form of self-care, and in these tumultuous times, self-care is a priority to cope with all the negativity and fear that surround us. Whether it’s concerns over long-ignored social justice issues, fears about Covid-19, or the violence erupting after an election, self-care has become a buzzword many are looking into. Some are using mindfulness techniques (GROWING UP MINDFUL by Christopher Willard, PsyD has some great information if you want to explore mindfulness further) as the grounding techniques can help quell some of the anxiety and worry that we are all experiencing nowadays. What a great surprise to me to find out that my hobby of loom knitting and the practice of mindfulness tie in together! THE NEUROSCIENCE OF MINDFULNESS: THE ASTONISHING SCIENCE BEHIND HOW EVERYDAY HOBBIES HELP YOU RELAX by Stan Rodski has more information on this if you’re interested. But enough with the science, and let’s talk loom knitting!
Loom knitting is simply knitting with a loom rather than needles. It dates back as far as the 16th century when William Lee of Calverton invented a knitting machine allegedly because the woman he loved was more interested in knitting than she was in him. Ahhh… unrequited love! I love that story and how it shows the ingenuity and creativity that can exist even in the midst of heartache or chaos. THREADS OF LIFE: A HISTORY OF THE WORLD THROUGH THE EYE OF A NEEDLE by Clare Hunter gives a great accounting of the history of knitting and its surprisingly weighty impact on history.
As for me, loom knitting is both relaxing and enjoyable as I gift most of my creations. Some of my loom knitted items are donated to charity, and Warm Up America and Hat Not Hate are two great ones if you don’t have anywhere local to donate. I love selecting the yarn, matching the yarn to the pattern, and then watching the beautiful creations emerge. My love of loom knitting is also evident in many of the books I read, as I often read and review crafty cozy mysteries. This year, I used my Christmas money and have splurged on a Cricut Maker so stay tuned to see what fun I have with that!
What hobbies do you have and how do they help you with self-care? And do you read books with themes around your hobbies? Also, if you are interested in exploring loom knitting further, I highly recommend YouTube for videos on how to do the stitches. Some of my favorites are:
For more blog posts and book reviews by Debbie, please visit her page on FreshFiction.com!