Knitting is a proven wellness tool
Washington, D.C. — When the pandemic hit, Project Knitwell (PK) pivoted to teaching knitting via Zoom, and has brought this helpful wellness tool to nurses around the region. Through its innovative Knitwell in the Cloud program, Project Knitwell is currently teaching nurses at its partner sites, including MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.
“A silver lining that has emerged from the pandemic is that now — through Knitwell in the Cloud — nurses and other healthcare staff can take advantage of these lessons,” said Carol Caparosa, Project Knitwell Executive Director and Founder. “When we were in-person, nurses could never take the time to sit down and learn to knit. Well, now they can, from the comfort of their homes,” explained Caparosa.
Currently, approximately 14 volunteer instructors are teaching approximately 20 students. “Knitting has been very therapeutic. It’s satisfying watching something come together,” said Vanessa, a nurse who is a Knitwell in the Cloud alumna.
Knitting as a Wellness Tool
Therapeutic knitting? With the cooperation of Project Knitwell, two oncology nurses at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital (MGUH) conducted a study that concluded that knitting can help reduce compassion fatigue (burnout) among oncology nurses. The Impact of a Knitting Intervention on Compassion Fatigue in Oncology Nurses was published in the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing.
“Knitting is far more than just a hands-on task,” explains oncology nurse Lindsay Anderson, one of the study’s authors. “Over time, our nurses, after learning to knit, had increased rates of compassion satisfaction and decreased burnout scores. I would love to see future research continue to demonstrate the many physical, psychological and mental health benefits associated with knitting.”
A former Project Knitwell participant described knitting as a “priceless gift of talent! It has meant so much to know how to do this. Helps me with depression, anxiety and stress. Thank you so much!!! I’m forever grateful!!!!”
Knitwell in the Cloud
Leveraging its network of dedicated volunteers, Project Knitwell developed Knitwell in the Cloud, a program to teach knitting virtually, one-on-one, through the popular Zoom platform. By using smartphones (and a specific placement technique), both instructor and student can clearly see each other’s hands and the instructor can guide the student through the learning process. The lessons and the knitting kit are free to participants. At this time, Project Knitwell is only able to offer the program to participants through its partner sites (listed below).
The program has about 15 alumni; they are invited to join Project Knitwell’s K2Tog group.
Our volunteers are teaching knitting to help nurses cope with stress. Here’s Eve, a nurse at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, with her first project.
K2Tog — a social knitting opportunity
Seeking a way to replicate some of the collegial in-person knitting groups that it used to hold, Project Knitwell developed its K2Tog (“Knit Two Together”) program. K2Tog is a bimonthly social knitting group for knitters of all abilities, hosted on the Zoom platform. While not an instructional program, Project Knitwell instructors host and participate in the session and can answer questions and share tips and ideas.
A theme is selected for each session. Several guest presenters have participated to discuss a myriad of topics related to knitting and wellness. It is a great place for all knitters and serves as a great next program for students who graduate from Knitwell in the Cloud. The program is free; anyone can join and knitters from all over the country have attended. To join a K2Tog session, send an email to email@example.com.
Project Knitwell’s partner sites include many hospital and community settings where stress is a major barrier to wellness. Project Knitwell offers the Knitwell in the Cloud program to all of its partner sites.
Healthcare settings, including:
- Children’s National Medical Center (CNMC)
- Inova Schar Cancer Institute
- MedStar Georgetown University Hospital (MGUH)
- Virginia Hospital Center
Project Knitwell also conducts programs for adults and children at community and school sites, including:
- Bread for the City
- Correctional Treatment Facility, DC Dept. of Corrections
- Friends of Guest House
- John L. Gildner Regional Institute for Children and Adolescents (JLG-RICA)
- N Street Village
- Ronald McDonald House of Greater Washington D.C.
- Smith Center for Healing and the Arts
- Young Women’s Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation, a new partner in the Pittsburgh, PA area
Any Washington, D.C. area healthcare or community site is welcome to contact Project Knitwell to explore partnership opportunities, firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Project Knitwell
Project Knitwell is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization operating in the Washington, DC area, offering knitting as a wellness tool to help people cope with stressful situations at more than a dozen hospital and community settings. Founded in 2010, Project Knitwell is celebrating its 10th Anniversary. With minimal paid staff, over the last 10 years, Project Knitwell has proudly served more than 5,000 participants with more than 30 volunteers.
Carol Caparosa, Executive Director and Founder