Over the years, my sister has produced beautiful handicrafts: an intricate crocheted baby afghan, perfectly knitted mittens, and lovely crocheted lace.

I, on the other hand, have a handful of quilt squares, a crochet hook stuck in a barely used spool of thread, and a partially finished embroidered pillowcase to show for my efforts.

As it turns out, my sister may have more to show for her diligence than a bunch of lovely crafts. According to The New York Times, those who work with their hands in crafts also experience many health benefits, including:

  • Increased cognitive function, particularly later in life
  • Relief from chronic pain
  • Decrease in disorders such as anorexia
  • Stress relief
  • Longer life span

For a small percentage, perhaps, such health benefits might be the driving force behind the increase in those who are taking up various handicrafts. As the New York Times notes, “a third of women ages 25 to 35 now knit or crochet.” But the revival of handicrafts might be driven by something more.

It’s easy for us to justify our need for relaxation and spend a majority of our evenings glued to screens. But is it possible that Americans are sensing a lack of fulfillment as a result? Is the revival in handicraft skills such as knitting driven by a desire to create, quietly reflect, and recover the skills previous generations possessed? And in the process of recovering these lost skills, will more Americans also recover the face-to-face interpersonal relationships that our screens seem to have cut us off from?  

Image Credit: Mr. Lucky