Knitting: science not fluff

In my previous life (not very long ago) I was the manager of a neuroscience centre -CINN, at the University of Reading, UK.  While there, I was very interested in knitting and the brain, and in the therapeutic benefits of knitting.  I connected with Betsan Corkhill, who is a trained physiotherapist and an expert on the therapeutic effects of knitting, and together we tried to thrum up an interest in funding scientific research on the topic.  (If you haven’t done so, you should read the interview I posted with Betsan here.)  While I’ve moved back into an academic post, I continue to be involved in the knitting research at the centre.

I am happy to report that we have now started a research project into knitting and wellness, run by Dr. Etienne Roesch.  Also engaged in the project are Felicity Ford and Lorna Hamilton-Brown.  Felicity (better known as Felix) is the author of the Knitsonic Stranded Colourwork Playbook which encourages knitters to find inspiration in the everyday and translate it into stranded colourwork design. She recently won a Best Practice award from the International Women’s Day for her collaboration with Kate Davies on a commemorative knitted quilt.  Lorna is an artist and film-maker, and an exuberant “knitting evangelist”.  Her Masters Dissertation from the Royal College of Arts is called Myth: Black People Don’t Knit, and she was awarded an MBE by the Queen.  I very much enjoyed meeting with them this week and look forward to our collaboration.

Lorna, Kelly, and Felix

Lorna Hamilton-Brown, Kelly Sloan, and Felicity Ford

Over 6000 knitters have already completed our questionnaire.  You can too!  Here’s how:

Do you like knitting or crocheting, regularly or even not so regularly? Would you like to be part in a study to explore the psychological effects from knitting and crocheting? If so, you can fill in our set of questionnaires at the address below. This should take only 10-15 minutes of your time. You will also be given the opportunity to play an online game and enter a raffle for a £50 Amazon voucher.

It’s a very stormy Sunday here in the UK, but I am happily holed inside with my knitting.  Hibernation is not just for bears!

6 thoughts on “Knitting: science not fluff

  1. Thanks!!! I did participate, and was not shy about talking about knitting in relation to my AA program and recovery. Never hesitate to contact me I’d you’d like me to elaborate on the importance of knitting (and spinning) to my recovery.

  2. I wish I knew how I did on the ‘game’! I’m going to have to try to hunt down one not associated with the survey to try.

  3. I completed the survey and also wonder how I did on the “game.” It was very late at night (that’s prime time for knitting and blog reading around here), and I became really irritated by the instruction to “go faster!” in the practice session, delivered only when I was detecting arrows pointing in one direction. I think I deliberately did NOT go faster (perhaps I do not take direction well, perhaps I value being accurate over doing something quickly, perhaps I was tired and extra-grumpy, or perhaps the “game” was trying to mess with my head?) Have you found a suitable control group who do not knit, or will the data be stratified by how much knitting/how many years knitting, so that subgroups are compared to one another? At any rate, I hope that the aggregate data and analysis will be available to the public at some point.

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