Kirkwall resident Julie O’Neill is a Knotty Knitter. Julie, like many people knitted when her children were young and then as time went on and her life became even busier she stopped. It was when she wanted to kick the smoking habit that Julie decided to take up her craft again. And she hasn’t smoked since.
The health benefits to knitting are well known. 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
Julie finds that now she has ceased smoking knitting also helps her to de-stress after work. And it doesn’t just stop at knitting.
Out on Flotta, where Julie lived with her family for 20 years, she improved her crocheting skills. She had known the basic stitches but with the help of Elizabeth Lovick she learned many new stitches and how to read a crochet pattern. She also learned how to knit in the round a skill she had never tackled before.
For Julie, knitting is a hobby and if there ever comes a time when she is no longer enjoying it then she will stop. At the moment she is still trying out lots of new ideas. She will purchase a yarn she likes and may do nothing with it for some time, eventually deciding how to use it. Julie likes to try out new stitches and finds YouTube very useful as you can see someone demonstrating the stitch. On her Facebook site Knotty Knitter she has made one or two wee videos herself.
One of Julie’s latest designs is a scarf she made by ‘planned pulling’.This techinique requires a specific variegated yarn and crocheted moss stitch. Tension during the process has to be continually tightened and loosened to get the desired effect. She has also successfully tried Tunisian crochet which uses a very large hook.
Julie is exhibiting her knitting at the annual craft show run by Orkney Arts and Crafts which this year celebrates its 50th birthday. The show in the town hall is well worth a visit (more than once) as it is packed to the gunnels with superb items. The talent of craft workers in Orkney is staggering. If you have time and you are in there call in and see it. You will not be disappointed.
Reporter: Fiona Grahame
Facebook page for Knotty Knitter
Facebook page for Orkney Arts and Crafts