With its calmingly repetitive motions and satisfyingly tangible results, knitting has long been hailed as a healthy hobby. Its effects on mood are overwhelmingly positive: one 2013 survey found that it boosted happiness in 81.5% of the more than 3,500 knitters who participated. It can reduce stress, increase focus, and cause feelings of pride and security in people who are anxious. Knitting can have physical benefits as well, such as lowered blood pressure and a decreased heart rate. With online tutorials readily available, it’s easy to pick up the healthy hobby.
The history of knitting may surprise you. A high demand for knitting in 15th-century Europe aided the development knitting guilds, which were exclusively for men. These guilds were comparable to highly competitive labor unions, established to protect trade secrets, improve the quality of the profession, and increase business. In order for a boy in the Middle Ages to join a knitting guild as a master knitter, he would require six years of intensive training, and would need to be approved by a knitting apprentice through a rigorous exam. In the early 16th century, the Parisian guilds were considered the best.
In the modern day, however, knitting has become popular among women and men alike. In 2006, Miriam Tegels set the world record for fastest knitting by hand-knitting 118 stitches in three minutes.