Every Monday morning, a lively group of residents meet in the Stovall Theater to click knitting needles, twist crochet hooks and spin a few yarns … which means a lot of laughter! The UV “Yarn Spinners” have been bonding over balls of wool and colorful skeins for about a decade, according to Millie, the Spinners’ “unofficial” leader. And their gathering is more than just “something to do” because they’re doing good for others.
“When we first started, we crocheted tiny caps and donated them to hospitals for the preemie babies,” Millie explains. They still do that, but now the Spinners have expanded their handiworks of warmth by creating lap robes for nursing homes and winter woolies for those in need. Lois has knitted 85 scarves for the Tulsa Homeless Shelter. “I’m knitting a dish-rag for my daughter,” chuckles Helen. “Because she really needs one!”
Some of the Spinners have been crafting their designs for quite a while. Lucille says her Grandmother taught her. Helene explains that “everyone” did crafts in High School, so she started knitting (even a fashionable skirt and blazer ). Lois confesses that she just needed something to do when she hit her mid 50s.
Learning how to knit might not be at the top of your “to do” list, but it should be. Knitting and needlework have a variety of benefits beyond having something comfy to wear/snuggle/give away at the end of the process. Did you know that rhythmic, repetitive motion and the relaxation of knitting has the same effect as meditation? Except you might get a cozy blankie to use in the end of the session! Because knitting stimulates almost the whole brain, it helps improve fine motor skills and can distract from other painful symptoms. It improves your mood. It may prevent arthritis and tendinitis. It also slows cognitive decline. According to the Mayo Clinic, seniors who engage in crafts, like knitting, are 30-50% less likely to have mild cognitive impairment compared to their peers.
Now that you know all about the health benefits of yarn spinning, the Yarn Spinners would love you to join them. “Everyone is invited,” Millie clarifies. “You can knit, crochet, embroider, do needlework or just sit and talk.” The ladies remember that once a gentleman resident came to their meeting, thinking is was a “tall tale” group. “That’s OK too,” they said. “We tell a lot of stories.”
So check out the Yarn Spinner meeting on Monday morning. Once you get the hang of handiwork and hear a few of their “yarns,” you won’t want to stop.
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