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Kirsty's Knit & Natter

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The Calming Effects of Knitting with Carer Kirsty

Posted: 15.12.22

The group knitting, chatting and having a cuppa
The group knitting, chatting and having a cuppa

You may have heard of meditation and mindfulness as ways of coping with stress but what about knitting?

Care worker Kirsty only took up knitting just before her husband Jim was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, little knowing that it would be a simple way of helping her cope with what was ahead.

“My husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s six and a half years ago,” reveals Kirsty. “We went to this appointment, and he was told, ‘Yes, you’ve got Parkinson’s, you’ve had it at least five years; here’s a load of leaflets take these tablets and we’ll see you in six months, Ta-ra!” That’s literally how it goes.”

“At the time he was still working but I’d cared for people with Parkinson’s in advanced stages, so I knew what was coming. I started researching and, after about 12 months, found I was going to bed thinking about Parkinson’s, waking up thinking about it; all I could think about was Parkinson’s and it just completely took over my life.

“Depression took a grip; anxiety took a grip and I reached out to Trafford Carers and said ‘Look I’m going out of my mind here’.”

After being assessed, Kirsty was given an eight-week session of counselling which eventually ended after 16 weeks when she felt she was in a good place. “And that was it until during lockdown and I had my annual health check with Rebecca over the phone and realised I wasn’t doing as well as I thought I was doing.”Kirsty with a knitting book

Kirsty had more counselling via zoom during the pandemic and it was during a conversation with nurse Rebecca that she revealed her love of knitting. “I’m not an amazing knitter, but I enjoy it,” she says. “I find it relaxing. I can sit and wind down if I am having a particularly bad day. It brings me back down to earth and it’s amazing for my mental health. I was talking about it with Rebecca and she said ‘do you fancy doing a knit and natter?’

It was actually something I’d thought about before and I said ‘yes I’d really love to’ - so very quickly we sorted some venues, I put out an appeal for donations of wool and knitting needles and I was absolutely inundated and it’s great.

“I’m more than happy to teach the basics, I’ve got the wool got the needles you don’t need to get anything. You just come along.

“It’s definitely more nattering than knitting. It should be called nattering with a bit of knit. We’ve got a little WhatsApp group going and it’s been nice meeting other people and hearing their stories."

Kirsty’s Knit & Natter takes place on 1st & 3rd Thursday of the month, 11.30am – 1.30pm at the Café in Stamford Park, Altrincham. No need to book, just drop in. Session includes a free drink from the café.

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