Copper Catfish shared this article with me about the science behind the soothing qualities of knitting:
Every knitter knows of at least one [story of] individuals who learn to knit (or rediscover it) following a trauma.
A therapy named Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing treats individuals intense stress disorders, such as post traumatic stress.
How does it work? The coles notes version is you move your eyes back and forth (as though knitting) and think of a happy thought (ie. “this cashmere is yummy”). Then the therapist asks you describe the traumatic event while focusing on the image of a happy thought (”this shawl will keep me warm all winter”). All the while the patients eyes follow the therapists cute, back and forth, back and forth, knit and purl, back and forth.
The idea is this act of cognitive restructuring rebuilds your association with trauma from one cold prickly memory to a warm fuzzy.
Oy. My mother makes her living doing EMDR, and I’ve always thought of it as HOOEY. But turns out I’ve been doing it to myself for 25 years. Conclusion? Mom is right, and knitting is cheaper (and more fun) than therapy.