Knitting creates multiple loops of yarn, called stitches, in a line or tube. Knitting has multiple active stitches on the needle at one time.
Knitted fabric consists of a number of consecutive rows of inter-meshing of loops. As each row progresses, a newly created loop is pulled through one or more loops from the prior row, placed on the gaining needle, and the loops from the prior row are then pulled off the other needle.
Knitting may be done by hand or by using a machine.
Different types of yarns (fibre type, texture, and twist), needle sizes, and stitch types may be used to achieve knitted fabrics with different properties (color, texture, weight, heat retention, look, water resistance).
Types of knitting
- Flat knitting; which is usually done on two straight needles, produces a length of cloth and is used to create things like blankets, scarves, and the backs and fronts of sweaters.
- Circular knitting; which is done on circular or double-pointed needles, produces a seamless tube and is used to create things like hats, socks, mittens, and sleeves.
- Cable knitting; patterns called cables are typically used on sweaters. Different kinds of stitches create different patterns. For example, the stretchy ends of knitted sleeves are called ribbing.
- Yarn; Yarn for knitting can be made from any number of natural or synthetic (man made) fibers such as wool, cotton, silk, or acrylic. Some yarns are made from a blend of several kinds of fibers.
- Needles; Knitting needles come in various shapes: straight, double-pointed, cable, and circular. They can be made from bamboo, aluminum, steel, or plastic.
Studies have shown that hand knitting, along with other forms of needlework, provide several significant health benefits. These studies have found the rhythmic and repetitive action of hand knitting can help prevent and manage stress, pain and depression, which in turn strengthens the body's immune system, as well as create a relaxation response in the body which can decrease blood pressure, heart rate, help prevent illness, and have a calming effect.
Pain specialists have also found that hand knitting changes brain chemistry, resulting in an increase in "feel good" hormones (i.e. serotonin and dopamine) and a decrease in stress hormones.
Hand knitting, along with other leisure activities, has been linked to reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Much like physical activity strengthens the body, mental exercise makes the human brain more resilient.
Knitting also helps in the area of social interaction; knitting provides people with opportunities to socialize with others. Many public libraries and yarn stores host knitting groups where knitters can meet locally to engage with others interested in hand crafts.
Another interesting way that knitting can positively impact your life is improving the dexterity in your hands and figures. This keeps your fingers limber and can be especially helpful for those with arthritis. Knitting can reduce the pain of arthritis if people make it a daily habit.
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Knitting Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.