therapeutic knitting
News, Patterns, Tips

Knitting and crochet books to make you think

Here at UK Hand Knitting we’re always keen to take a look at new knitting and crochet books. Recently two arrived that have made us think about our crafting in new ways.

Knit Yourself Calm – A creative path to managing stress Lynne Rowe & Betsan Corkhill, Search Press

therapeutic knitting

Mindfulness and use creative pursuits to improve our mental well-being are hot topics at the moment and this book addresses where knitting fits into this movement.

Therapeutic knitting expert Betsan Corkhill has worked with designer Lynne Rowe to put together a set of patterns to help with different aspects of stress and benefit people’s health and wellbeing. Corkhill tells us that a study she did with Cardiff University “showed that the more frequently people knit (more than three times a week) the calmer and happier they feel – 81% felt happier after knitting.” The same study found that among those who initially “felt sad” only 1% continued to do so after therapeutic knitting.

With this in mind the projects in the book are divided into different types of projects for different situations with explanations of how they may benefit you. For example, Quick and Easy projects to give you a sense of accomplishment, and Group Projects that you could collaborate with others on.

Reading this book, the UKHK team were able to point to times we have used our knitting or crochet to help us cope with difficult situations or stress. If you think you or someone else would benefit from some therapeutic knitting this book is a useful tool.


In one section of Knit Yourself Calm, Corkhill says: “Learning new skills on a regular basis is essential for nurturing a healthy bran, opening new neural pathways and even encouraging the growth of new brain cells right into old age.” And for crocheters this is where our second book comes in.


Design Your Own Crochet Projects – Magic Formulas for Creating Custom Scarves, Cowls, Hats, Socks, Mittens & Gloves, Sara Delaney, Storey Publishing

crochet books

We have been lucky enough to get an early look at this US book coming out in the UK later this year and were surprised how useful it is for people with no interest in publishing their own patterns.

Sara Delaney shows us that designing is much wider than publishing patterns. Her book is designed to help you create lovely accessories with yarn from your stash and give you the skills to turn that skein of yarn you have fallen in love with into exactly the item you imagine.

The book gives you the formulas or recipes for 18 project types including scarves, hats, socks and gloves. Each formula takes you step-by-step through measuring stitch tension, working out what stitch patterns will work and how many stitches or pattern repeats will be needed.

This is a book that will make us be braver about our own crochet – stash yarn will certainly turn into hats and cowls in the coming months and may well feature some more adventurous stitch patterns. Look out for this book and hopefully it will inspire you too.


We have a copy of Knit Yourself Calm to give away. Tell us how you have used knitting or crochet in a positive way in the comments below and we will pick a winner among the commenters.

10 thoughts on “Knitting and crochet books to make you think”

  1. I have used fibrecrafts as stress relief through severe illness and upset and have a number of knitted toys in my consulting room. As the children make a beeline for them, parents strike up conversations. The boys tend to have the Trex attack the sheep! I only wish general practice wasn’t so pressured so I could talk more with the patients. One recently asked if I’d teach her so I put her in touch with the local Knitting group. My group has banned talking work so my Thursday evening post work session is always relaxing.


  2. It’s only when I came back to knitting in recent years that I realised just how important it was for me as stress management when in my teens my mum was very ill and was resident in a mental hospital. I gave up knitting in my early 20s because of a shoulder problem but slowly came back to it in my late 30s when my fibromyalgia became worse and I could no longer work. It helped to keep me sane during the stress of moving house and in the last year and a half, after some improvement with my shoulder meant I could knit more, it has given me a sense of progress when fibromyalgia has resulted in very low energy levels. I tried crochet but there is something about the balance and symmetry of having two needles that is especially soothing. Knitting is a form of meditation for me. When I’m knitting I’m present, not thinking about anything else, and at the end of a knitting session I have something to show. And when it goes wrong, after the initial frustration I use it as an opportunity to reflect on patience and acceptance.


  3. With all the terrible things going on in the world, I have increasingly turned to knitting and crochet to give myself a positive focus. I have worked my way through lots of stashed yarn (mine and that of various friends) to create an abundance of blankets and other items that have been donated to various charities, especially (but not exclusively) Knit for Peace and Sixty Million Trebles. This way I’m not only relieving my stress, but also showing someone else that I (and others) care – it’s win-win.


  4. I learned to knit when I was about 12 and I am now 55!! So that is 43 years of making and creating. Certainly there were years when I didn’t knit a lot but it has always been a huge part of my life. I knit everywhere – in the car, while watching TV, at the beach. I never go anywhere without my most recent project!! A lot of my projects are gifts and it is such a joy to be able to share my favourite past time. Why do I love knitting (and I also crochet now)? For me it is a form of meditation. The quiet clicking of needles. The flow of colours. Seeing a garment take shape. There is a sense of calm that does come over me when I am knitting. It means that having to wait is never a problem – it just means a few more rows or rounds will get done. I have taken to incorporating knitting into my travels. Wherever I go I research yarn stores and always add to my stash. I have made wraps and projects using yarn from Fredericton NB in Canada 🇨🇦, Cape Town in South Africa 🇿🇦, Waterloo and the Cotswolds in the UK 🇬🇧 to name a few. I encourage everyone’s to take up this amazing hobby!!


  5. I have made hearts for #AHEART4MCR and now #AHEART4LDN. These hearts are hung up in the citties for people to take home and to send love to them after the recent attacks. It has helped a little with the feeling of helplessness that these attacks bring to the ordinary person. At least we can show that we are thinking of them.


  6. I have always used knitting and crochet to relax, but last year I started going to the local Knit and Natter club at my local library and have found the friendship just as relaxing as the knitting!


  7. Knitters and crocheters are some of the kindest people I know. Not only are they willing to give their their time to knit for charities, but our knitting group has begun teaching anyone with special needs who would like to knit to have a go. The rewards to me as a teacher are enormous. Knowing that the joy I get from knitting can be passed on to others, especially when the pupil flies solo. For a couple of hours a week I have put my own Knitting to a one side and learnt to be patient, calm and unhurried with some of the most appreciative young people around.


  8. I have been knitting and crocheting since my teens but I developed Rheumatoid Arthritis when I was in my 50s so find it difficult now – however two years ago my darling daughter graduated from University College London with a Masters Degree and I managed to knit her a ‘graduate owl’ in celebration. I didn’t find it easy but felt such a sense of achievement when it was finished.


  9. After a thirty year gap I returned to knitting to cope with a slightly enforced early retirement. Retirement is like starting a new job, and as an only child, I was taxed with looking after elderly parents, and the stress that brought. Retiring brings its own anxieties – loss of status, reduced income, need to make new friends. In finding a solution to these issues, knitting ticked so many boxes. I pick up those needles and I feel like I’m melting, as it relaxes me into feeling I’ve come home to the arms of someone familiar.
    I knit while waiting during hospital visits and appointments, I’ve found like minded people, stirred conversations and found time to attend local workshops and groups.
    In thirty years knitting has moved on so much, in part to technology and largely due to the internet. I’ve found new avenues which stimulate the mind, and are a fantastic replacement for all that work provides, including some of the frustrations! It’s all so I inspiring I feel fortunate to have learned this skill and it continues to give me hours of endless pleasure.


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