I have just returned from a weekend knitting festival feeling completely rejuvenated and raring to go. Why do I feel so refreshed? I believe it is because I have been using and witnessing many Positive Psychology principles in action.
The benefits of mindful activities where you slow down and focus on a specific task, such as knitting, are well documented. It quietens the mind’s chatter, allowing mental space to let the mind wander, to let thoughts come and go without the urge to do anything about them as you are concentrating on the knitting in hand. Additionally, because your attention is focused on the knitting, it also reduces the volume of thoughts in your head, a double benefit.
The festival certainly engaged the strength of curiosity in many ways. The location of the festival had labyrinth type qualities with large halls containing a rich range of stalls comprised of wool producers, pattern designers and artists who create jewellery and wall hangings through the medium of yarn. Moving from stall to stall you became immersed in a world so different from the everyday. Then, sprouting off from the large halls were smaller rooms full of stalls, workshops and fascinating people. What is round the corner? How did they develop that technique? What sheep does this wool come from? How clever of the designer to put those colours together. Such thoughts stimulated my curiosity.
Connection To Nature
Many of the stallholders sold wool from their own herds of sheep or alpacas. There was even yarn from angora rabbits. This means that there was a wide range of textures and colours, and the stallholders painted a rich picture of their life connected to nature. Each variety of animal produces different yarn qualities, some soft and delicate, others tough and strong enough for garments to keep people warm when out in all weathers tending the land and their flock. The interconnectedness of yarn, animal, land and person was blatantly apparent and gave a strong sense of the cycle of nature.
A Meaningful Life
It was also life-affirming and energising to hear producers speak with such passion about their yarn and products. You could hear the care and attention that they put into all aspects of the supply chain. From the soil and crop that the animal is farmed on, to the ethical way that the fleece is shorn and the choice of dyeing methods. You could tell the care with which they had made their decisions in line with their purpose as a producer.
I witnessed examples of growth mindset in action when producers talked about the different blends of yarn they attempted before arriving at their current one. There are many materials that can be blended together including silk, wool, mohair, angora, alpaca and bamboo. Trial, error and learning from others is a natural part of the development of a natural yarn and the enjoyment that the producers got from this process was uplifting.
What’s Your k1, p1, to Decrease Stress?
Now whether you share in my appreciation of knitting and yarn-based crafts or not, you can still receive the benefits that I did. If you can find a festival, show or workshop based on a topic that interests you, give yourself a present and carve time out for it.
I’d love to know your interests and where you went. Drop me a line.
About the author: Bryony Shaw
‘We Are The Positive Psychology People’
Find out more about positive psychology courses and training at