Is Knitting a Fidget?


Do you ever hear about something, then you see it everywhere. This is one of those times for me. This story, or variations of it, seems to be everywhere right now. A couple of weeks ago, there was a spot on the local news about fidget toys being used in schools. The story talked about the success of the toys in helping some students concentrate on their school work. The story went on to say that now, almost all of the kids were using some type of fidget toy, and rather than helping kids concentrate, they were becoming a distraction in many cases.


I had no idea what they were talking about at first, but once I saw the variety of fidgets, some that were visual, others that were more tactile, some that had to be manipulated, etc. I got the picture that different children (or adults) might benefit from a different type of fidget, and other people might do best being totally still or quiet.

That got me thinking about knitting. The repetitive motions are calming, and I feel like I have to knit if I am sitting. It is hard to watch a television show without knitting. Without the needles and yarn in my hands, I feel like I need to get up and do something. I can't pay attention to what I am watching without knitting and purling. For me, I think it is a learned reaction. I used to be a pretty good couch potato without knitting at the same time, but now I just function better when my hands are moving.

Years ago, I went to a meeting and one of the attendees was knitting. At the time, I thought it was a bit rude, but now I know that she was perfectly able to pay attention and contribute to the meeting while also working on a beautiful knitted hat. When I was working at a local yarn store a few years later, a professor at a local university came in to the store. She told a story about 2 students knitting during one of her lectures. The students/knitters did this repeatedly, and the professor was starting to get pretty annoyed with them.....until she realized that they were both doing great in the class. They were very obviously able to pay attention and absorb the coursework. Because of that experience, the professor decided to try knitting herself, partially to see if she would experience the same ability to pay attention and learn. She "got" that there just might be a relationship between the knitting and the learning.

So, is knitting a fidget? In my opinion, yes, knitting is a fidget.


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Cheryl Beckerich Knits
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