Our mission at Project Knitwell is to provide opportunities for those facing stressful situations to learn to knit and build resilience at the same time. Resilience is typically defined as the capacity to recover from difficult life events. In the last decade, Project Knitwell volunteer instructors have repeatedly witnessed how the process of learning to knit helped build resilience for patients, caregivers, and community members facing challenges.

According to a researcher involved with Colorado Resiliency Arts Lab (CORAL), in a research workshop PK staff attended, resilience can be described as a spider web that bends and bounces back into shape. As our new knitters develop a new skill, we see them find comfort and joy in even the toughest circumstances. We see resilience grow along with the fabric they create.

β€œIt’s your ability to withstand adversity and bounce back and grow despite life’s downturns,” says Amit Sood, MD, the executive director of the Global Center for Resiliency and Well-Being, creator of the Resilient Option program, and former professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic.

At Project Knitwell, we provide knitting as a wellness tool to create more ways to build resilience by:

Connecting with others
The knitting community helps connect people through a common practice and appreciation of fiber and creativity.

Building on your strengths
Key to success in knitting is having the confidence to try something new and understanding that you can build on existing strengths and competencies.

Setting realistic goals
Many find that knitting provides an opportunity to focus on learning and practicing the basic skills, while also seeking out new challenges and techniques.

Finding purpose beyond yourself
When you knit you can create gifts to express gratitude or consider how you might contribute to your community by knitting for charity projects.

Learning from mistakes
Treating mistakes as learning opportunities and encouraging problem solving while working with yarn is easy, since you can always restart and reuse the materials.

The 7 Cs resilience model, developed by pediatrician Ken Ginsberg, MD., focuses on building resilience by learning: competence, confidence, connection, character, contribution, coping, and control. Ginsberg says we can build inner strength by focusing on developing these 7 Cs especially by learning new skills. Knitting is a simple skill that can build a strong sense of self efficacy and help strengthen each of these 7 Cs.