Stitch Away Stress! Knitter Tips for Managing Stress
Craft 2 Give Back: A woman holds a large stack of knitted and crocheted blankets in her arms

With everything going on in the world, it’s been difficult to manage stress levels. A lot of us are finding ourselves torn from our usual daily routines while worrying about the health of ourselves and loved ones, while not feeling we have an outlet for our anxiety. Since April is Stress Awareness Month, it’s a great time to check out The Craft Yarn Council’s annual campaign to help all us yarn crafters find balance in this overwhelming time – Stitch Away Stress!

An illustration of a lemon with leaves with text on it that says "Stitch Away Stress"

The campaign this year is all about making yarn and creativity part of your daily routine at home while you practice social distancing. We’ve been asking some of our friends how they are handling their stress during this time.

From Stefanie Goodwin-Ritter of Handmade by Stefanie, Instagram: @stefaniegrrr
Normally, I don’t like to have a ton of WIPs and try to limit myself to around 3. But right now, I’m letting myself start as many projects as I want, and it feels great! Each night when I sit down to knit, I pick the one that fits my current frame of mind – sometimes I want something complicated that I have to think about a lot, and it takes my mind off of things. Sometimes I want something mindless that I can work on while my mind wanders. And if it’s not giving me joy at the moment, I’m not forcing myself to work on it just for the sake of getting it done!

A top-down view of hands knitting from a ball of blue yarn. Another ball of white yarn sits on the table, next to four pairs of interchangeable knitting needles.

From Alnaar Harnish of LeeLee Knits, Instagram: @leelee_knits
Crafting is my favorite way to de-stress and recharge.  If I’m ever feeling overwhelmed or having anxious thoughts, I turn to the repetitive motion of my knitting needles or crochet hook and turn on an entertaining podcast to listen to in the background. Within half an hour, my entire being feels much more relaxed and ready to face the challenges that lay ahead.

From Toni Lipsey of TL Yarn Crafts, Instagram: @tlyarncrafts
Large projects like blankets and shawls with rhythmic stitches are great ways to get lost in the therapy of crafts. But don’t forget to take breaks for stretching and to stay hydrated.

From Sati Glenn, Rows and Roses
Crocheting something with a stitch pattern that I don’t have to count every row is so soothing. Also, I LOVE patterns where you just keep going til you run out of yarn, like a scarf or triangle shawl. Those are the best stress-busters for me.

What are some of your best tips for dealing with stress? Let us know in the comments or on social media with the hashtags #StitchAwayStress and #TogetherWeKnit. And take this year’s Stitch Away Stress survey from the Craft Yarn Council.


  1. Meg Bigler / April 23, 2020

    Salutations from SE Utah! It’s garden season. My stress relief comes from digging in the earth, killing weeds with a weed hoe, and catching a glimpse of the green tip of all the daffodils I put in last fall. I need to remind myself to put gloves on so my hands are spared. Then, in the evening when I’m playing my mom Rumicubes, I pick up my sock knitting and let mom win. For me knitting is more the process than the product. I am trying to finish up my WIPS.
    This is an interesting time indeed. It makes me very glad I have my crafty skills. Thank you KnitPicks for being there for us!

  2. Peg / April 19, 2020

    Hello from Canada. Thanks to the pandemic, all of my Christmas gifts will be made by me this year. I am plugging away finding creative ways to move my stash as well as ordering additional materials in a thoughtful way, supporting all my favourite vendors. I am taking pictures of each completed project. I suspect I am going to have a lot before we are done.

    Stay safe y’all.

  3. Hazel Blumberg-McKee / April 18, 2020

    I’ve been self-employed as a freelance editor, fact-checker, proofreader, and translator (German/English) for many years. After a long day of working on books, some of which are delightful, some of which are impossible to understand, and some of which are somewhere in the middle, knitting has been my stress reliever and comfort. That hasn’t changed. I had major hand surgery in December 2019, and I couldn’t knit at all for several months. Finally I could do the knit stitch again, and slowly my fingers were able to work the purl stitch. I’m knitting along now, but not working on anything complicated. And usually I like to knit on skinny needles, but my fingers can only manage larger needles at the moment. No matter what, relaxing, closing my knitting room door, listening to a book on my Kindle, and working on something easy has been so soothing and meditative for me. Knitting has been and continues to be my life saver.

  4. Louise D / April 18, 2020

    I have made a checklist of things to do every day that give me purpose – things like serving someone else, completing a task for my household, physical and spiritual self-care. And one of those tasks is “create”. I acknowledge that knitting is not a reward for doing the other things but is an important way i find focus and purpose. Like @stefaniegrrr, i have several projects going, one of which is a new skill for me, and I pick up the one that is going to give me joy at the moment. It is the best part of my day!

  5. Nancy Fisher / April 18, 2020

    I appreciate the comments about having many projects going at once. I too have found comfort in being able to turn to “just the right project” for my mood of the moment. Having different textures, colors, patterns feels like I am giving to me while the isolation goes on.
    My 4 daughters and I spontaneously text each other every couple of days (they set up a group chat) and that helps too.

  6. EmilyVictoria / April 10, 2020

    Being disabled I already spend a significant amount of time knitting and drinking tea. Now having my two children home who need help with work, my projects have fallen to the way side. I even forgot that next Sunday is Orthodox Easter and that I have to make them their annual bunnies! Ultimately knitting and tea are my only stress relievers.