Be ready this Saturday to hear the gentle but persistent clacking, not of Orkney’s world famous bird population but of knitters across our islands as they take part in World Wide Knit in Public Day. WWKIP is a unique series of local events run by volunteers sharing their love for the craft of knitting.
Started in 2005 WWKIP Day celebrates the huge number and variety of people who knit across the globe. Many knitters sit and enjoy their craft on their own but this day allows those who want to come together and share in their pastime. An event is hopefully to take place this Saturday at John Rae’s statue in Stromness.
Knitting has seen a huge upsurge in popularity over the years and a recent report has explored the health benefits of knitting. The research showed the main benefits to be physical and mental :
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces depression and anxiety
- Slows the onset of dementia
- Is as relaxing as yoga
- Distracts from chronic pain
- Provides an opportunity for creativity (at a time of reducing capacity)
- Increases sense of wellbeing
- Reduces loneliness and isolation
- Increases sense of usefulness and inclusion in society
The variety of those who knit is also astounding. All ages, men and women knit, internationally although communities have different styles with some patterns being associated with particular places. The most obvious being Aran and Fair Isle – tiny islands but big names in knitting.
Yarns used can be extremely expensive but there is also a growing number of people in this age of the circular economy using recycled yarns. Something much older people would remember doing during the Second World War. You can watch it here: The Man Who Knits
Many knitters do it as a hobby or for family members but many are knitting for voluntary organisations. Knit for Peace started “as an income generation project for Hutu and Tutsi widows, victims of the Rwandan genocide and civil war” . Since then the initiative has spread to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Afghanistan. In the UK there are over 15,000 knitters in Knit for Peace who send their products to Afghanistan through the charity. They also contributed knitted items to homeless charities and others who would benefit from their knitting. People interested can find lots of ideas and patterns on their website.
Knitters in Orkney have contributed blankets to care homes, peedie hats for premature babies and hats, scarves and gloves for refugee camps.
Reporter: Fiona Grahame
If you would like to support or volunteer for Knit for Peace, please find more information at the website, www.knitforpeace.org.uk,
or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
or on 020 7794 9835.
Knit for Peace, Radius Works, Back Lane, Hampstead, London NW3 1HL