A Life Tangled in Yarns – Leisure Knitting for Well-Being
The main aim of this study is to discuss how craft, and especially yarn techniques, as knitting and crocheting, can provide a meaningful leisure activity, enhance mental well-being and help to untangle demanding situations in life. The theoretical frame for the study is built around craft as a cultural phenomenon in society and education. The starting-point is in literature and research ranging from historical craft skills and industrial manufacturing to learning craft skills, and crafts as a leisure activity for well-being. The empirical data was gathered during a local event in connection to a World Wide Knit in Public Day. The research questions deal with reasons for having knitting and crocheting as a leisure activity, contexts for learning of yarn techniques, and views on mediating yarn technique skills to others, as well as the role of social contexts for crafting as a leisure activity. Research results indicate that reasons for engaging in a crafting activity vary from social affinity to meditative solitude and from creativity and aesthetic experience to a lifeline in personal crises. As a leisure activity craft can be a counterbalance to a stressful job, hectic lifestyle or other demanding situations in life. Even though knitting as a craft is a solitary act, many knitters still enjoy each other’s company. The social events that are arranged around the activity, e.g. courses, knitting cafés, knitting camps and events like World Wide Knit in Public Day, fill an important social role in today’s society and for the individual well-being for the participants of the events.
Keywords: Leisure, Well-Being, Craft, Knitting, Learning
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